Men Of The Year 2019: The Offbeat Powerhouse Lijo Jose Pellissery
Malayalam cinema is currently busy basking in the success of its slew of modern-contemporary films and Lijo Jose Pellissery happens to play a huge role to bring that about. Pellissery has come a long way since his first film Nayakan in 2010. He introduced the Malayalam film industry to a new style of filmmaking, and it’s something they haven’t witnessed before.
Pellissery started off his career by being the assistant to an ad filmmaker and then eventually making his own short films. His debut as a feature film director came in 2010 with Nayakan, followed by City of God. While both these films didn’t really make their mark on the box office, his third film Amen (2013) got his talent the recognition. But his biggest breakthrough came with Angamaly Diaries (2017), a gangster dramedy set in the town of Kerala’s Angamaly. The film garnered critical as well as commercial acclaim and cemented Pellissery’s name in the Malayalam film circuit. 2018 saw him churning out his next big hit Ee.Ma.Yau., which won him the Kerala State Film award for Best Director and an award at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in the same category. But Pellissery found his biggest success with 2019’s Jallikattu. The film premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and managed to blow everyone at the festival. The commercial release became a raging hit, pleasing both critics and the masses. While the plot seems as simple as a bull escaping its slaughter and a village hunting for it, it is far from that. A chase for a bull turns to a depiction of some of the ugliest yet most native of human emotions — greed, rage and jealousy. He’s a promoter of one-take shots, which was apparent from the 11-minute single shot climax in Angamaly Diaries, as well as multiple inclusions of similar intense onetake shots in Jallikattu. Pellissery also loves to play with chaos, but he makes sure that the chaos never overtakes his shot.
His intricate attention to detail, exceptional camerawork and strong storylines make him a shining example for where Malayalam cinema is headed. Pellissery takes his inspiration from filmmaking legends like Quentin Tarantino and Francis Ford Coppola, and he looks to do what they did — revolutionise an industry.