Neither Changed nor Tried to Impress: Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Saga Continues

In the Malayalam film industry, Lijo Jose Pellissery is an unexceptional chap. He always chose unconventional and unexplored filmmaking paths to create remarkable movies that went beyond the boundaries of regional cinema. As his latest film Jallikkattu became India’s entry for the 93rd academy awards, Lijo’s world’s horizon has been widened further. Released in 2019, the film gained much appreciation on various international platforms, including the Toronto International Film Festival. 

Lijo has begun his journey as a director in 2010, with his debut movie Nayakan. Including his yet to be released movie Churuli, seven outstandingly crafted movies have come out of this mastermind. However, Lijo didn’t become a star overnight. Even though his first few films received critical acclamation, their performance at the box office was very poor. After Nayakan, Lijo tried a very different narrative style in his second movie, City of God, which was not appreciated much by the audience. Lijo took two years for his next movie Amen, which was a big hit, unlike his first attempts. Set in a church village in Kerala, it showcased the love between Solaman and Shoshanna and the priest’s magical intervention in their love story. Lijo was never ready to settle in his comfort zones and he always has an unending urge to think out of the box and do films in his style. 

What followed an aesthetically beautiful and musical romance like Amen was Double Barrel (2015), a top to bottom gangster movie. Despite having an unusual making and colourful presentation, the film got backlashes from various corners. But Lijo being Lijo, reacted to the responses in this way; “Sorry guys…no plans to change, no plans to impress”. Lijo was true to his words. He did not change, he did not try to impress, but after two years, the Indian film industry witnessed the Lijo magic again through Angamaly Diaries. Featuring 86 debutant actors and set in Angamaly, a small town in Kerala the movie was black comedy at its best. 

In Ee Ma Yau, released in 2018, Lijo depicts the dark humour of death by carving out the chaos in each character. The film is a perfect blend of evocative frames and contemplative music. Through Jallikattu, Lijo, as he always does, explored the wildest imaginations and possibilities of film making. It challenged the existing film, making trends in cinema and gained worldwide attention.  Lijo is the captain of himself who has his own rules of film making. He never settles for anything that doesn’t satisfy him. With his unparalleled craftsmanship, Lijo directs movies and they become history.


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