Ee.Ma.Yau movie review

Even before the theatrical release of Ee.Ma.Yau., director Lijo Jose Pellissery bagged the Kerala State Award for Best Director for this satire drama. Isn’t that enough for raising the expectations of the audience from it?

Blossoming love. A father’s fight over that. Beautiful father-son relationship. Unexpected death. And a series of incidents that follow form the interesting story line of Ee.Ma.Yau, set in the fishing village Chellanam in Ernakulam.

Just minutes before Vavachan mesthiri’s (played by Kainakary Thangaraj) death, his son Eeshi (played by Chemban Vinod Jose), promises on arranging a grand funeral ceremony with first-class band set, music, fireworks, bishop’s service and a lot more to his father. However, in an effort to keep his promise, Eeshi spends a lot of money for his father’s expensive coffin. But things won’t work the way he thought it would be. He loses his control due to the lack of money, family issues, uncertainty on the funeral, mystery behind the death and a lot more.

Performances in Ee.Ma.Yau

Lijo has picked the right people for all the notable characters in Ee.Ma.Yau. Be it Kainakary Thangaraj, Chemban Vinod Jose, Pauly Valsan, Vinayakan, Dileesh Pothan, Bitto Davis and Krishna Padmakumar to name a few. Each one of them have delivered remarkable performances in the movie, which has several humourous moments despite having a theme around death.

The way Pauly as Pennamma reacts to her husband’s sudden demise with those poetic statements are so funny. No wonder why she won the Best Supporting Actress award for this remarkable performance. The actress, who portrayed the character Sabeth, wife of Eeshi has also done a decent job. Dileesh Pothan as parish Fr. Zacharia Parapurath and a detective novel enthusiast keeps the story lively.

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The character Ayyappan, who is Eeshi’s close friend, is very safe in the hands of brilliant performer Vinayakan. From making arrangements for the funeral, informing family members about the death, requesting vicar for offering funeral service, dealing with the police officers to consoling Eeshi, he plays the role of that selfless friend with ease.

What stands out?

The theme of Ee.Ma.Yau is so simple with it having a small thread set in the backdrop of a death. However, P F Mathews has made it an engaging dark humour drama along with Lijo’s brilliant film-making.

We see real humans in this movie. A wife, who mourns the death of her husband in the most funny way. She is well prepared to “perform” her emotions and complaints about people who have come to pay tribute to the dead man. A son, who struggles to handle the unexpected death of his father and trying to keep his promises inspite of all the financial hardship. A daughter-in-law, who is eager to show-off even during the funeral ceremony. A daughter, who even seeks the care of her lover while all are mourning. Natives, who are keen to find some foul play in every death and spreading rumours about it just for fun. A patriarchal society’s aversion towards women doing the so called manly things and the way they try to malign such women. It all gets portrayed on screen beautifully.

There are some interesting single shot scenes and looks like they have become an integral part of Lijo’s movies. The entire movie has a dark appearance, but cinematographer Shyju Khalid has beautifully captured the characters and the location even with such dim lighting.

In the single shot climax scene, each one of us can feel for the mental stress and pain faced by Eeshi. The Eeshi-Ayyappan combo manages to keep viewers glued to the seats for the entire duration.

Drawbacks

I’ll be nitpicking here.

The story line becomes active only from the moment Vinayakan appears on-screen after around half an hour from the start. Till that point, Ee.Ma.Yau has a dragging narrative that tries to establish the character of Vavachan as a carefree man.

The movie in general has a very slow narration and that aspect might not work well for some audience.

The end credits of the film is so dragging with the names of each character and crew getting mentioned for like 4 seconds minimum. Most people won’t even care as they never sit through the end-credits. But as a reviewer who does, I found it way too slow.

Final verdict

Lijo Jose’s brilliant film-making techniques get noticed with all his experimental movies in Malayalam with him picking different genre each time. Despite set in a dark backdrop, Ee.Ma.Yau keeps us engaged for all those simple and interesting moments that happen following a death. It makes us laugh, think and understand human emotions. It is not a regular movie, but an experience worth spending your time and money.

Rating: 4/5

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