Wednesday 27 September 2023

Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey [2022]

 Vipin Das’ darkly humorous film – its playful title, by ironically referencing to a line from the national anthem, highlighted how women are often limited as individuals by placing them on pedestals in terms of their social roles – covered a despicable and pervading societal evil through hilarious fantasy fulfilment, deadpan satire and gleeful hyperboles. On most occasions this was a firecracker work laced with rousing feminist stance and lashing depictions of normalized patriarchy, toxic behaviour and hypocrisy. However, its tricky narrative choices risked trivializing such a serious topic by diminishing a grim reality – marital abuse, denial of agency and voice to women, lack of economic independence that leaves housewives trapped and helpless – into amusing escapism. Consequently, it felt lacking in the kind of nuance, depth and scorching brilliance that The Great Indian Kitchen had manifested; and, by counting the number of slaps instead of articulating that even one slap is one too many – which Thappad categorically did – it also missed a beat. Nevertheless, it had sufficient chutzpah, wackiness and satiric ingenuity to make this a crackling watch despite its simplistic constituents and convenient sidestepping of certain inconvenient topics like abortion through deux ex machina. The eponymous Jaya (Darshana Rajendran) has always been at the mercy of the men surrounding her – her irascible father intent on making all decisions for her; her unctuous uncle (Sudheer Paravoor) who doles out intrusive advices under the guise of caring for her wellbeing; her college teacher (Aju Varghese) whose progressive homilies are a sham; and finally her patriarchal, misogynistic, heavily abusive and manipulative husband (Basil Joseph). The well-enacted film comprised of a number of standout set-pieces, including arguably the funniest karate kick in recent memory.

Director: Vipin Das

Genre: Black Comedy/Social Satire/Family Drama

Language: Malayalam

Country: India

No comments: