Review: Joji (Amazon Prime)

A gripping and powerful adaptation of the Shakespeare classic Macbeth on the big screen, writes VINAYAK CHAKRAVORTY.

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Just when you’d think another fresh take on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth couldn’t possibly be done, comes Joji. Fahadh Faasil’s new collaboration with director Dileesh Pothan retains the basic outline of human avarice and slant at violence, but sheds Shakespearean grandeur of the story in favour of restraint as it builds up the crime drama.


  • Starring: Fahadh Faasil, Baburaj, Unnimaya Prasad, Joji Mundakayam, Sunny PN, Alister Alex
  • Directed by: Dileesh Pothan
  • Rating: * * * and 1/2 (three and a half stars)

Macbeth and its innumerable retellings (including Vishal Bhardwaj’s magnificent Maqbool) have traditionally banked on a singular tragic flaw while spelling doom for the towering Shakespearean antihero — his ambition. Pothan’s film underplays that bit, and gives the titular protagonist (played by Faasil) the persona of a weakling, ridden by inferiority complex.

Faasil’s Joji is clearly the weakest in every way among the three sons of a rich plantation owner, Kuttappan (Sunny PN). Screenwriter Syam Pushkaran draws up Joji, youngest of the brothers, as a loser. He is an engineering dropout and while he dreams of being a wealthy NRI he has no clue how to go about it. Twist in the story comes when Kuttappan, on returning home after a stroke, clearly refuses to give Joji any inheritance whatsoever. Angered, Joji quietly changes his father’s medication, which leads to the latter’s death. As the narrative moves ahead, a paranoid Joji sets on a frantic bid to cover his tracks, only complicating his situation further.

Pothan and Pushkaran have tried interesting departures from what defines the Macbeth storyline. Among the most pertinent re-jigs is Lady Macbeth, imagined here as Bincy, played with cold precision by Unnimaya Prasad. Bincy, wife of the second son Jaison (Joji Mundakayam), is an accomplice of brother-in-law Joji more by chance than design. Her role is restricted to playing along, because she sees possible subsequent advantage that she could draw out of Joji’s nefarious plan of action.

Unlike Macbeth and almost all of its interpretations, the Lady Macbeth track here is restricted to greed. There is no sexual or marital subtext of any consequence in Bincy’s equation with Joji. The idea lets Pothan craft a narrative that stays singleminded in its focus on Joji’s mind games.

READ ALSO: REVIEW: The Illegal (Amazon Prime)

joji amazon prime
Fahadh Faasil as Joji. Source: IANS

That sort of an approach is also the reason this film has done away with the symbolism that renders Macbeth much of its textual richness. Parallels to blood on the hands, supernatural apparitions, the Three Witches, or the Birnham Wood coming to Dunsinane are either negligibly touched upon or done away with, in sync with the frills-free cinematic treatment of Joji.

The biggest departure, of course, has to be Fahadh Faasil’s reorganised Macbeth. As the low-key Joji, he strikes an antithesis of the heartless killer the protagonist will eventually turn out to be, executing the role with impeccable restraint.

Faasil gets ample support from the prop cast. Baburaj as the eldest of the brothers, Jomon, an alcoholic divorcee and single father, is aptly cast, as is Joji Mundakayam as Jaison, the mild-mannered second brother.

Joji strikes subtly as it delivers impact, through Shyju Khalid’s impersonal cinematography that almost functions as a discreet onlooker in a household of disquiet, and through Justin Varghese’s soft background score that leaves a note of menace.

The film was shot in the Covid era, and Pothan has crafted an exquisite Macbeth in the time of wearing masks. The characters of Joji wear their masks not just literally but metaphorically, too.

Vinayak Chakravorty, IANS

READ ALSO: Review: Drishyam 2 (Amazon Prime)

Link up with us!

Indian Link News website: Save our website as a bookmark

Indian Link E-NewsletterSubscribe to our weekly e-newsletter

Indian Link Newspaper: Click here to read our e-paper

Indian Link app: Download our app from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and subscribe to the alerts


Twitter: @indian_link

Instagram: @indianlink

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/IndianLinkMediaGroup

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Let’s Talk Boosters: Indian Link podcast

  In LET'S TALK BOOSTERS, a new podcast series by Indian Link, host Ekta Sharma quizzes Dr Kritman Dhamoon of Blacktown Hospital Sydney about booster...
Frontline worker Parita Patel (inset). Image supplied

‘Serving the community’: COVID testing in remote NSW

  The past two years have been a rollercoaster of COVID-19 related turmoil; from isolating lockdowns, closed borders, to trying to help Indians in the...

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

new normal still isha and appu

REVIEW: New Normal

  A pivotal conversation that surrounds LGBTQIA+ discourse is the need to normalise queer relationships, as that is what they are — normal. In late April,...

India, Australia review cooperation under Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese on Tuesday reviewed the multi-dimensional cooperation under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Cooperation under the partnership...
HIYAAN kapil

Hiyaan Kapil, 5, dies hours after being discharged from QLD hospital

  A review will be launched by the local health department of Logan, Queensland after a young boy died hours after being discharged from the...
ahaan dani

Labor’s better: Year 5 student’s view

  As the 2022 Australian election looms, Australia has a choice: Liberals and Scott Morrison OR Labor and Anthony Albanese. I argue that Labor deserves...
khurram pervez and gautam adani

Adani, Khurram Parvez among TIME’s most influential people of 2022

  Industrialist Gautam Adani, Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nundy and Kashmiri rights activist Khurram Parvez are amongst the TIME Magazine's list of 100 Most Influential...