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Jana Gana Mana Movie Review ; An interesting and engaging flick of hidden truths

Review for JANA GANA MANA: 

•Language: MALAYALAM.  

•Duration: 02 Hours 43 Minutes. 

•Genre: POLITICAL DRAMA THRILLER. 

•REVIEW BY ARUNJYOTHI.R 

POSITIVES:

1: DIRECTION 

2:  STORY, SCREENPLAY AND DIALOGUES 

3: PERFORMANCE OF ACTORS

4: CINEMATOGRAPHY 

5: BACKGROUND SCORE

6: EDITING

NEGATIVES

1:  First half felt a little slow. 

2: Excessive use of Kannada language. 

3: Bad Malayalam subtitles. 

ONE WORD: An interesting and engaging flick of hidden truths. 

STORY IDEA

A college lecturer named Sabha will get raped and killed and her body will be ruthlessly burnt. After her death, students will conduct many protests for justice and this will lead to fights between police and students. In the protest, many students will be beaten severely by the police officials and soon the death of Sabha will turn into a national issue. So ACP Sajan Kumar will be given the duty to investigate to find the culprits so will he be able to find the killers, will Sabha and his family get justice and how the case is unfolding in the court is the rest of the story. 

ANALYSIS OF THE DIRECTION, STORY, SCREENPLAY AND DIALOGUES: 

Jana Gana Mana is directed by Dijo Jose Antony who had previously made the hit Malayalam film Queen. The story, screenplay and dialogues are written by Sharis Mohammed and the film is planned in two cinematic parts. The film is produced by Listin Stephen and Supriya Menon under the Prithviraj Productions and Magic Frames. With a running time of 02 hours and 43 minutes, the film is currently running in theatres with a hundred percent of occupancy. 

Judiciary is meant to serve justice and it’s a hope for every single citizen in this county and that’s what the film Jana Gana Mana is trying to say, justice must be served and equality must be delivered. I would say that Jana Gana Mana is one of the best recent films I have watched, it’s a detailed film with a well-written script and a smart execution. Both the script and the direction were implemented cleverly and it carries the movie steadily with the brilliant performance from the actors. The theme that the movie discusses was a relevant subject, and what are all the components that are added to the script make it unique. The strong basic foundation of this film is its story and screenplay, every single scene in the film has the proper way of detailing, and the writings by Sharis Mohammed don’t give us any sort of confusion. In the script, he explained the events with the right amount of clarification so that it doesn’t give us any difficulty to understand. 

There are various happenings in the film and the main plot is associated with many subplots and flashbacks so how all these events connect to the present scenario was written beautifully by the scriptwriter Sharis Mohammed. He had carefully written the script step by step with the right momentum, all the numerous events which connect the story to the climax were convincingly brought. The basic story begins with a murder backdrop and how it leads to a political conflict and further how it turns into a court drama was interesting to watch. From the beginning itself, the movie was accurately having enough components to immerse my viewing experience, none of the scenes in the film felt unwanted. The director Dijo Jose Antony’s intelligent way of making had made this film engaging and thrilling, his ideas and plans had perfectly worked out without any errors. The effective plot and the screenplay had helped him to direct this film easily, he had executed the entire film according to the story and screenplay without getting any diversion from the actual plot. 

The director had successfully taken the desired time to establish the story, the introduction was promising for something big and the starting itself had generated the curiosity to know what’s next. After the introduction the film is tracked into an investigative style, the police investigation by Suraj Venjaramoodu to find the culprit was intriguing with fine scenes and in between the movie indicates some strong political statements, and those statements were written and presented well. So these are the events which are crammed in the first half but the first half had ended with a surprising event and it was unexpected. The second half is all about the courtroom scenario, the arguments by the public prosecutor and by the defence lawyer will entertain us for a long time. Not just the courtroom scenes, the second half is also drilled with many shocking flashbacks and twists. What makes the second half more special is the director was successful in maintaining the suspense, from the beginning of the second half he had properly maintained the atmosphere of a proper courtroom with many unexpected twists. So the entire second half will keep on engaging us without any kind of lag, I was eagerly excited by the cunning sharp arguments. The climax twist was unexpected, from that moment the tone of the movie was changed to another sphere and it will be hard for every viewer to predict that suspense because both the script and direction won’t leave us to think deeply because it’s completely engaging and entertaining. 

What I liked most in the direction of Dijo Jose Antony is how he had used the acting talents of Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu. I think it’s for the first time I am seeing Prithviraj Sukumaran doing an advocate role throughout, he was amazing. Dijo Jose Antony as a director can be proud that his instruction on how to perform came out flawlessly. Prithviraj Sukumaran’s entire performance felt different from normal and he had rocked throughout the second half. So like I said there are many tones and shifts in the film and how the director Dijo Jose Antony had executed these shifts and modulations proves his skill. The sentimental mother-daughter angle, the political scenarios, the police investigation, betrayal, actual truths, the hidden community discrimination, the courtroom arguments and the serving of actual justice is showcased in this entire film. So how the director had shown these factors according to the script and how the director had communicated these elements to the audience using the screenplay exhibit the brilliance of a good filmmaker. He was not having any kind of confusion while directing the different angles of this film, the different tones in the script were presented authentically by the director. The inspiring of real-life incidents like the Hyderabad gang rape case, the killing of Madhu who is from the Adivasi community and beef-related issues and atrocities of the ruling party in India are pointed out in the film at the precise point without any fear. 

The dialogues written by Sharis Mohammed were also extraordinary because there were many important dialogues which were having the power to make an influence. The English dialogue said by Prithviraj in the courtroom was having the power to awaken the truth, and all the dialogues were stabilized to give the correct impact of the scenes. Not just that, some of the dialogues will also make us think from the right perspective. The dialogues about casteism, poverty, equality, demerits of college politics and civilian rights were like a reminder, all those words were written lustrously to show the actual condition of our present India. The braveness of the director and the writer to showcase the actual truth of the present society deserves a big thumbs up. Another interesting part was the director and writer had left the trail for the second part, the history of the main characters is still to be revealed. Their life, the unexpected tragedy and their history show the potential components for a promising sequel. During the climax and at the tail end many hints are shown, and all those scenes were strong enough to wait for the sequel. I hope the director Dijo Jose Antony and the writer Sharis Mohammed will be back with a bang and like everyone I will be also waiting. 

PERFORMANCE OF ACTORS

The film has the casting of Prithviraj Sukumaran, Suraj Venjaramoodu, Mamta Mohandas, Sri Divya, Dhruvan, Shari, Shammi Thilakan, Pasupathy, Vinod Sagar, Raja Krishnamoorthy, GM Sundar, Illavarasu, Vincy Aloshious and many more. Prithviraj Sukumaran who played the character ‘Aravind Swaminathan’ did brilliant performance. Suraj Venjaramoodu as Sajan Kumar on the other side was also outstanding and both were equally delivering an extraordinary performance. How both of the actors undertook the character according to the instruction from the director makes their performances special. Prithviraj and Suraj Venjaramoodu after the hit film Driving Licence are back face to face to perform so we know what they are capable of and they both were fighting to give their best performance. I was very much impressed with their chemistry and their face to face scenes were completely thrilling. We will be able to see some tough challenging acting skills on their faces when they come direct, an intense way of handling the character was vividly seen in both of their performances. In the character of Suraj Venjaramoodu, we can see the qualities of a police officer, for example, the sincerity, and honest way of conducting the investigation and a fearless personality in performing their duties can be seen in the personality of Suraj Venjaramoodu. He had seriously apprehended these attitudes according to the character and never missed the hold of it till the end. The dialogue delivery of Suraj Venjaramoodu was flawless, the way of talking and the serious method he used while speaking was matching for the satire of an IPS Ranked police officer. Whereas in Prithviraj Sukumaran’s performance it’s all about the intensity, his tough looks, his sharp dialogue and his various facial expressions were flowing to show the brilliance of a true actor. As an advocate, he was shining throughout, his way of handling the case, his presentation at the court and the arguments he made were fantastic, for his fans he had given enough scenes to blow the whistles. While he speaks we will be able to see different kinds of variations on his face, the change of expression and its modulation while speaking was exhibiting the versatility of a committed actor. The anger that we can see on his face was fabulous, the emotions of frustration and the eagerness to reveal the truth were predominantly seen throughout. He is a man who knows the actual truth and he is the only man who can reveal it so how he portrayed and handled the character genuinely deserves a huge applause. Without making the acting dramatic or exaggerated he performed with the right balance and till the end he maintains it drastically. Vincy Aloshious is the other one who had  also delivered a natural performance, her acting was brilliant. The way she naturally speaks and the way she expresses her emotions were good to watch and the dialogue delivery was also fine. Mamta Mohandas as Sabha also appears to have a crucial role and she did her best. The personality of a supportive professor was actively seen in the throughput performance and the timings in passing the dialogue were also nice. Shammi Thilakan as Raghuram Iyer did a significant performance as the public prosecutor and Ilavarasu, as Anbumani came to do a cameo appearance as the father and his performance, was sentimental with the emotional angle of a loving father. Shari as Shabana appears as the mother of Mamta Mohandas, many good moments were filled in her character and she did it nicely with the emotional scenes. Azhagam Perumal as Kamaraj plays the negative role, his appearance was limited but he did it genuinely and I am sure he will score a lot in the upcoming sequel. Vinod Sagar as Victor and Dhruvan as Shaheen also did justice to their respective roles. 

MUSIC AND BACKGROUND SCORE

The musical work for the film is tuned by the hitmaker Jakes Bejoy which includes the background score. The track Jana Gana Mana Movie Anthem released on YouTube on 23rd April 2022 had given the feel of a revolutionary protest. The voice of Shankar Mahadevan, Shatadru Kabir and Jakes Bejoy was dominating to give a powerful vibe, also the right energy of a true protest can be felt through the song. The lyrics also make the song more influential, the Bengali lyrics were awesome to hear, I didn’t understand the meaning but still, the Bengali words were extremely effective to uphold the spirit. The Malayalam words were also good, the vocals of Shankar Mahadevan had given an extra prominence and his high pitch notes were excellent to hear. The second song called “Aalum Thee” showcased the effects and aftereffects of a protest. The fights led by the students and the police investigation of Suraj Venjaramoodu were matching for the song, the situations shown in the song were fine for the tune. The vocals of Akhil J Chand were fitting for the song, his singing style felt different and the lyrics of Sharfu were ok. 

Jakes Bejoy never forgot to make the appropriate background score, more than his songs his background score was interesting. As a thriller movie, the film gives the right background tunes and the BGM gives the feel of thrill and excitement. Depending on the type of scene Jakes Bejoy gives the right background scores. There are many emotional scenes in the film and all those scenes were backed up by the sentimental tunes to give the feel and emotions. There are scenes which show the love of a mother and father towards their daughter and that relationship plays a crucial role with an emotional angle. So how Jakes Bejoy was good at giving the right tunes to give the feel of their love and pain makes the background score intriguing. The courtroom scenes in the second half were filled with the appropriate tunes, after many crucial arguments, the scenes were ended with proper BGM to create an extra interest to know what is next. In the thriller backdrop scenes also we can hear the fine tunes which can create generosity and the tail end which indicates the second part was also restored with the gripping tunes. The background score at the protest scenes will give us goosebumps, the revolutionary words and dialogue with the mix of the background score offer nothing more than goosebumps. 

•TECHNICAL DIVISION

The technically of the film Jana Gana Mana was denoting the efforts of big teamwork because every person who had worked behind the camera had done a combined job with proper momentum so that many perfections were seen behind the camera. The cinematography for the film is by Sudeep Elamon who had previously done the Malayalam film Sleeplessly Yours. I saw the film Sleeplessly Yours during the IFFK festival and the visual of Sleeplessly Yours was fantastic, as a debutant cameraman he had given the best shots for that film, a couple not deciding to sleep for four days and its aftereffects was beautifully brought by Sudeep Elamon. I was able to connect with that movie very much, the visuals gave me the energy to understand the depth of the plot, so the name of the cameraman Sudeep Elamon was noted from the movie Sleeplessly Yours. The first teaser of Jana Gana Mana was released on the republic day of 2021, the visuals through the teaser were impressive, the interrogation scene and its lighting methods really came out well. After one year on March 30th 2022, the trailer was released and it was unique and powerful. The teaser had given a reasonable expectation but after watching the trailer my expectations had raised and the main reason behind it is due to the various superbly composed shots. The trailer was simple and it moved with the conversation between Prithviraj and a minister, the ending was unexpected and it was shocking. In an interview, the director mentioned that the blast scene at the end of the trailer was composed originally. This is what I mentioned above, the technicality of the film was made authentically without compromise. The ending shots which we can see in the trailer and at the end of the film were surprising, from that moment onwards the totality of the premise was changing and here the visionary of a good cinematographer was able to see. The close-up shot of Prithviraj Sukumaran and the slow-motion walk was expressing the acting skills of Prithviraj, here the cinematographer Sudeep Elamon has a clear idea of how and where to place the camera. His idea was working and how he had managed the camera to sync with the blast scene symbolised a good realistic shot. In the film, we can see various shots of closeup, to perform every actor were having a crucial role and their acting skills were nicely exhibited with closeup shots. The change of behaviour, the various expressions and the change of tone in the face were nicely apprehended by the close-up shots. It’s a film with many protests and political fights, so the struggles for getting justice were shot nicely by the cinematographer. The fight against the ruling body, the seeking for justice and the quarrels for equality was properly captured and those strong visuals had given the accurate depth of the plot. The wide-angle frames used in the protest scenes were interesting to see, those large frames filled the protest of the students for justice. The face to face questioning scene between Prithviraj and Suraj Venjaramoodu was excellent because of the camera placement and by the wonderful way of focusing on the characters. From a normal wide-angle shot, the scene captures both the actors facing each other and how the shot is focused on their faces was beautiful to see. While Prithviraj speaks the camera is placed behind Suraj Venjaramoodu and while Suraj speaks the camera was positioned behind Prithviraj, so the sudden shift with the crisp edit made those scenes vibrant. So as a movie with a political backdrop the visuals and the various composed shots by the cinematographer Sudeep Elamon had helped the entire film to make an impact. The theme and the political statement that the film disclosed stood accurately and it was delivered convincingly to the audience. The cinematography played a crucial role in that and without any doubt I will say that Sudeep Elamon’s visuals were overwhelming with precise shots. The editing for the film was done by Sreejith Sarang which was nice work. The film was maintaining a smooth viewing experience because of the fine cuts at the precise time. I haven’t felt any sort of mismatches in the viewing experience and the colour grading was also looking good, those grading matched the situations pleasantly especially the grading at the interrogation scene. 

CONCLUSION:

So overall to conclude the film Jana Gana Mana had given me a satisfying cinematic experience because of the wonderful direction and script. Due to the effective performance of Prithviraj Sukumaran and Suraj Venjaramoodu, the film was engaging throughout and the well-executed screenplay was making the viewing experience thrilling. It’s a compelling courtroom thriller, with a brilliant second half and everyone will surely love it. Therefore I will recommend to watch this film in the theatres itself and I am sure that the movie won’t disappoint anyone. 

VERDICT: A Worth Watch Thriller. 

RATING: 3.5/5 

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