Ee. Ma. Yau Review
Ee. Ma. Yau. (Eesho Mariam Yausep). Words which are written in the beginning of the funeral card of certain Christian community.
After Jana Gana Mana and Dravid’s warning, the theatre becomes silent. From somewhere is heard a nice sound of a church band, which reminded me about death, funeral and yes, the last sent off. From slow volume to high it seeped straight into my heart. And in the visual we can see people who are moving towards the church with a dead body for the funeral. In front are the cross followed by band orchestra and many people. It is evident through the visual that it is an elegant funeral ceremony of some known person in the place. Meanwhile title scroll is moving through the visual and at the end of it the movie name appears - Ee. Ma. Yau by Lijo Jose Pallissery.
The director welcomes us to Chellanam, a coastal area near Kochi. The story begins from there the moment we meet Vaavachan Mesthiri. His voice is very rough but his legs are not stable as he is drunk. He reaches home and meets his son Eeshi(chemban vinod) and while they were drinking together Vavachan Mesthiri narrated the story of his father’s grand funeral function to his son. And Eeshi promises that he will make it even bigger for his father. The events that happen from there to the next day is what the movie is all about. The movie takes us with each character and their emotions. How an affected person behaves and others behave in certain situation - such kind of scenes sometimes made the viewers laugh and sometimes made them think. In this cinematic journey which chronicles death, there is humour, love and much more emotions. We can easily empathize with their feelings.
National award winner Poovankery Francis Mathew alias P. F Mathews is the screen writer of this movie. Through his pen I guess this film gets so many meaningful images and symbolic elements. Two unknown card players, Vinayakan’s moment in police station and the broken coffin - all these images carry multiple meanings. The moment Eeshi starts to murmer like Vaavachan proves the amount of research put in by the writer as well as the director for their movie. In the beginning Vaavchan speaks alone and at that time Eeshi and his sister asks him why he speaks alone. And in the middle we are getting the answer for it.
Death itself becomes a character in the movie and I was reminded repeatedly about man's futile attempts to lend it dignity. In the end, a man who gets a grand burial in the church premises, the man who gets a shabby but emotional home burial or the stray dog who dies all are welcomed equally into the other world. Lijo Jose has added so many nuanced characters to get across his idea. Be it the church priest who would rather play detective or the level beaded ward member played by Vinayakan, all add layers to the narrative. The way the events are orcehsted to bring out people's prejudices, vices, virtues and beliefs are outstanding. The father's response to his daughter's affair, the nurse sequence, the choice of the coffin, people's response when the coffin breaks and Eeshi's dumstuck reaction, Eeshi going berserk when the priest makes remarks about the nature of death, random people's speculations and assumptions and so many other events chart the minds of the people.
Chemab Vinod sizzles as Eeshi. He owns the character with his mannerisms and dialogue delivery. Some of the reactions are classic. Vinayakan packs a punch as the ward member. His emotional outburst at the police station and his few words at the send off et al proves he has a wide range as an actor. All the others who dot the movie too gives a neat performance. The technical team is again flawless. The long shots lend a classic touch to the frames and adds depth to the frames. Not much movie in Malayalam have experimented night shots this brilliantly and that too with maximum natural lights. Shaiju Khalid made a remarkable job in it. The director and writer has don their parts well in having clear vision about what the movie should be. Edits are good. Music is haunting and those band music and coastal, Christian aura is maintained through the music. Prasant Pillai and Renganaath Ravee made it divine.
Ee Ma Yau is a great attempt from Lijo Jose's stable. He has taken up the theme of death and given it a very symbolic representation through irony and dark humour. This is a movie not to be missed.