Saturday, September 17, 2016

Jyo Achyutananda - Movie Review

Srinivasa Avasarala is one of the wittiest people I've met - he can't help being any other way. So for him to come up with witty one liners or creative twists to situations and make them funny is but natural. It's a special gift and the product of an intelligent, restless mind I'd think. So, expecting fun, is a part of the bargain when you're watching his films. Jyo Achyutananda does not disappoint on that count, and comes wrapped up in Srini's inimitable brand of humor - in every other line, in the use of language, in word play and even characters and the way they reveal themselves in their quirky ways.

But that was not what impressed me most. What really got me about Jyo Achyutananda was the way Srini brought out the drama between two brothers from a middle class family, both dealing with ideas of values, success, love and relationships. It is a complex relationship that the two brothers share (or perhaps most brothers do) - at one hand competing and at another sharing a deep bond of love and hate. It settles into a space that brothers cannot escape - finally as a brother one always feel if one has done what's required as a brother, or if one has failed in that duty. And somehow Srini conveys that without saying it.

One remembers a line from Moby Dick when Herman Melville's Ahab (I think) ponders over the relationship between brothers - that you can share a bed with another man as a grown up but not your brother. Such is the nature of this beast! With his fine handling of that subtle but most powerful of emotions, Srini offers a glimpse into his reading of human nature and his sensitive side. He weaves the strained-on-the-surface relationship between the brothers well and that's one huge highlight for me. I loved the way it ended and there were not many who were left with a dry eye in the theatre after that.

Jyo (Regina Cassandra), comes as a catalyst into the story. Two brothers, living a middle class life, find themselves dealing with the pressures of choices between success and happiness, remaining true and growing up, play and winning. Achyut (Rohith) and Anand (Naga Shourya) fall for the girl and do their best to win her. In retrospect it does appear that it was not really Jyo that mattered to them but that sibling competition within them - because after all she does not care two hoots about either anyway. Achyut as the older brother has a few more tricks up his sleeve, not all of them ethical, while Anand has a natural ability, a great smile and a gullible heart. One is an artist and the other a sportsman. One thing leads to another and Jyothsna, who leaves the two bachelors in the midst of a horrible misunderstanding and flees to America, returns to spark off an unfinished competition between the two brothers (now married) and the story pans out to an interesting end.

I loved the middle class set-up and its struggle with its values. So many things have been addressed by Srini - where he gets so much maturity from I wonder. He slips in deep philosophies once in a while casually. I loved one line in particular - when Naga Shourya says that only people who are weak need strong walls to protect them. The one liners keep poking at you throughout the film making the experience enjoyable - its like having an intelligent and witty friend sitting next to you. The performances by the brothers are intense. The technique of watching the same scene from two different perspectives is interesting and well woven. And Srini, if you can build such subtle messages into your stories and pull off drama like that , you have it made. Nice to see Sagar's name in the credits on the directorial team. He so richly deserves it.

If the Marathi film 'Sairat' brought estranged families together thanks to inter-caste marriages against the family wishes, 'Jyo Achyutananda' could well bring brothers together. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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