“Mr. Invincible” as he calls himself on twitter, Lijo Jose Pellissery is living up to that name, at least in terms of his feisty filmography. This man has picked up material written by others and coloured it with his own kind of absolutely realistic staging. He uses all avenues given to him by the medium to convey a message through the story he has. More on that later, but for now here’s what the truth, or “thesis” of Jallikattu is this – Humans are no different from the beasts we tame. The makers illustrate this with an example set in today’s day that is suggested to be nothing but an echo of our kind’s primitive barbarian days in caves. A butcher’s wild buffalo goes loose in a town, and all the men in the area are out to contain it.

So the event and everything that happens around it is a clear metaphor. Men are savage animals. If you are wondering if this is a man versus wild situation, no, it is not. The film seems to be showing us how much we are part of the wild, and how much the wild is a part of us. This metaphor isn’t a stretch and is also too thin to be held for so long. But here’s where Lijo and his technical team take center stage. The sound design does half the job of immersing you into the chaos. Disruptive sounds of share autos, a clock ticking sound that travels from one end of the theater to the other, the wheezing of a bed ridden oldie, and Prashant Pillai’s haunting background score to blend it all together – this is a soundscape that shows off, and is one that deserves to do so. Girish Gangadharan’s camera runs parallel to the herds of men, leading to beautiful material for editor Deepu Joseph to stitch together. Even with all the hell-like frenzy, the film radiates a certain kind of flow, thanks to the sharp editing. They have created some brilliant imagery, stuff that’s going down in history books for the scale and meaning of it all.

The film has a dialogue that literally says that men are beasts on two legs, so it doesn’t leave much for us to ruminate on with respect to its theme. So I would want to celebrate this film for the technical marvel that it is more than for what it is trying to say. The filmmaking on display here soars far high above its good content. This film on the whole, is a wild feat.


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