Joshiy directed his first film in 1978 and has given several hits mostly with big heroes!! His last film was Laila O Laila which released in 2015 and was a flop. With consecutive flops, everyone almost write him off along with several other veteran directors too, who were unable to live up to the expectations of the new-age cinema wave in Mollywood. After a break, Joshiy is now back with Porinju Mariam Jose, a film with relatively small time but promising actors. The trailer of the film was interesting and something really refreshing in the overall theme unlike his previous films.
The story of Porinju Mariam Jose is set in 1980’s (Thrissur) and revolves around the three lead characters – Joju George as Porinju, Nyla Usha as Mariam and Chemban Vinod as Jose. The three of them are closely bonded from their childhood days. Porinju and Nyla fall in love but then the death of her father keeps them apart. During the church feast, Jose picks up a quarrel with the grandson of a rich and influential person in the area (Vijayaraghavan as Iype). But Porinju has been the pillar behind the growth of Iype and was his right hand throughout. How this conflict is resolved is told amidst a very familiar setup in Malayalam films these days – Thrissur Perunal and related rituals.
Joju George is the pillar of the film. The character of Porinju is something which is normally written for actors like Mammotty or Mohanlal, it has so much of mass elements in it. Joju pulls it off effortlessly….what an actor he is turning out to be! Nyla Usha has a strong and ferocious character - one who does not fear about anything or anyone and she does the role gracefully. Chemban Vinod is in his comfort zone and has a role which he has played in several films.
The hero of the film is the script and the way the emotions are handled throughout the film. Be it the romance between Porinju and Mariam, the rapport between Iype and Porinju, the bonding between Porinju and Jose, the father-son relationship of both Porinju and Jose, Jose’s brother and his role – there is something to cherish in all these relationships.
On the negatives, the narration becomes little predictive towards the end and the forced climax twist does not go well with the mood of the film. Since the story unfolds in 1980’s, you are taken into world of old cars, disco dances (Mithun kind of dances) and Kamal Hassan’s hit films as the prop’s to justify the period. However, there is no much detailing in the costumes and settings around. Technically, the film is brilliant. Excellent cinematography by Ajay David (lovely helicam shots) and music by Jakes Bijoy add lot of layers and hues to the film.
Story-wise, you might feel there is nothing new here. But it’s very evident that Joshiy has tried to give it a “new-age” feel with a strong script and detailing of the characters. You can’t take away the resemblances of this film with those directed by Lijo Jose or even those directed by Vetrimaran in Tamil, especially the second half.
Despite these shortfalls, “Porinju Mariam Jose” is a good watch for its screenplay and superb performances. And yes, Joshiy is back !!
Rating – 3/5