‘Porinju Mariam Jose’ review: Lack of a solid script proves to be the undoing of Joshiy’s latest

Even those filmmakers who manage to stay ahead of the game, encounter a phase when the game catches up with them, at times leaving them far behind. New filmmakers arrive, styles evolve, leaving the old masters gasping for breath. For about two decades till the late 1990s, Joshiy was one name which stood out among the mass entertainers in Malayalam cinema.

Over the past two decades, he has been struggling to stay relevant, yet managing to spring a surprise or two once in a while. In Porinju Mariam Jose, one gets to see a filmmaker who has been closely watching the changing rules of the game, and trying to adapt, like how there is an attempt to bring out the distinct flavour of rural Thrissur, the place where the film is set. The time period though is the 1980s, perhaps a doffing of the hat to his own heydays. Yet, there are places where the setting does not look or feel organic.

Porinju Mariam Jose
  • Starring: Joju George, Chemban Vinod, Nyla Usha
  • Director: Joshiy

The film tells the story of the rare bond between Mariam (Nyla Usha), a feisty money-lender from an elite background, and Porinju (Joju George) and Jose (Chemban Vinod). Porinju had fallen in love with Mariam back in his school days, yet an unfortunate event prevents their coming together, though they still share the same intense love. Porinju, who runs a slaughterhouse, is the local toughie, who is almost a personal bodyguard for the rich businessman Iype (Vijayaraghavan). During the local church Perunnal, Jose and Porinju lock horns with Prince (Rahul Madhav), Ipe’s grandson, leading to a cycle of revenge.

As far as revenge stories go, Porinju... is fairly predictable, and at times tame. This has more to do with the not-so-serious reason for revenge and the main antagonist, who is a lazily-written one-note character. In this village, everything seems to be built around the annual Perunnal. So, the film is everything that happens between one Perunnal and the next, with even the villains waiting for an entire year to take revenge!

But what makes it watchable are the array of characters, and the performances, especially of Chemban and Joju. They are all colourfully written, and there is a lot of life to them. The character of Iype is rarely seen in cinema; that of a rich family’s patriarch, who is torn between the love for a friend (the goon) who has been by his side, and the care for his wayward children, who are after the goon’s life.

The main story though lacks any such conflicts or thrilling elements that pulls one in. There is perhaps more mystery in the ongoing real world controversy to whether the script is original or not. Joshiy has attempted to fine-tune his craft, in sync with the changing times, but the lack of a solid script — that is a mark of his best films — proves to be a dampener.

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Printable version | Nov 16, 2020 5:23:43 PM |

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