Readers Write In #350: The World of Joji

Posted on April 8, 2021

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(by Adi R)

The story of Joji is a lot about strength and how the men in the family, society and the world wield it to alter its dynamics.

This is strength of the conventional understanding – the brute force with which these men toy around with the world around them.

When such brute force is wielded mindlessly, there is collateral damage – The damage is higher depending on how weaker you are physically – Joji, Bincy et al are mere props tossed around in this power swirl.

The father Kuttappan is the central force of this brute kingdom and runs the family with an iron fist. He is all muscle all through. Even his own demise begins with a display of brute while exhibiting the ‘weak’ how to pull out a stuck pipe.

Strength fuels ego and you can see Kuttappan, while physically pretty much dead, still wields the iron fist with his ego – in fact he becomes angrier as his much feted brawn deserts him.

Despite him becoming semi vegetative, the sons are still scared of him, still intimidated by him – this is shown when Jaison says ‘his father will kill him if the cheque does not go’ despite knowing he is vegetative! 

The respect in this family as defined by Kuttappan is decided by the strength hierarchy – So Jomon is the 2nd most feared person in the family, followed by Jaison who gains importance by running the family affairs and the least strong of them all – Joji. He is also the least preferred by his dad who treats him like a worm.

But the weak do not fade away! The weak may not be able to get into this fisticuff faceoff but they fight back. They find myriad ways of getting back at their perpetrator.

Joji is lonely. He literally spends all his time in a pit, fishing in a fishless pond – which pretty much sums up his life. No one respects or seeks his opinion. He is called a loser whatnot. But even he, the weakest of them all bosses around Popy. So he is no saint, he just does not have the tools to display it. Joji may not be as strong as his father but he has the same ego. He is less submissive than Jaison who gets angry and acts purely due to Bincy’s relentless insistence. This ego is again reflected in Joji when Bincy reprimands him and in a second, his male ego smacks her down. This is also the moment Bincy realises even this fellow needs to be ridden off! The trigger for her to change her stand at the end! 

When you keep abusing the physically weak but mentally strong people, they can and they will respond in the most violent of ways. It’s an additional thrill for them that no one expects them to do that. And Joji proves that. Joji craves this strength and bravery – even his death note says ‘Dying Declaration’ not suicide note. Almost like martyring! 

Popy is the least explored of all characters but even he shows hints of violence – with his interest in air guns despite knowing its fatality. He also resembles his uncle more than his father. And just like his uncle, he is more about smarts than brute. Maybe the next Joji in the making who knows!

Which brings me to Bincy, easily the most fascinating character of this movie for me. She is technically the weakest of them of all in terms of brute. So how does she respond? Smarts yet again! She slowly feeds Joji’s anger with her own anger and angst. Jaison is too much of a straight jacket to execute what she wants. She needs an unstable one and Joji it is.

At the end, in a story full of brute strength wielding men, it is the so called ‘weak’ woman, Bincy, who gets what she wants while getting rid of all her perpetrators – without a single stain – an aspect which took me back to Subbu of TKR’s Aaranya Kaandam.