CAST & CREW
Ee May Yau is a Malayalam film directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery that revolves around the theme of death and has been praised for its symbolic portrayal through irony and dark humour. The film received mixed reviews. Some praised his unique take on death, while others criticized his story and character development.
Set against the backdrop of Chellanam, a coastal village with a significant fishing community in Ernakulam, the narrative unfolds around the demise of Vavachan Mestri. Returning from an extended journey, Vavachan engages in a heated altercation with Chowro, who discloses and condemns a premarital relationship between Vavachan’s daughter Nissa and Sivanapan.
Back at home, Vavachan’s wife, Pennamma, implores him to settle down. In a candid moment with his son Eeshi, Vavachan reminisces about his father’s grand funeral and expresses the desire for a similar farewell. Later that evening, Vavachan collapses and passes away. Eeshi’s wife, Sabeth, notifies the neighbours of the tragedy, and Ayappan, a Panchayath ward member and Eeshi’s friend, takes charge.
The situation intensifies when a second wife of Vavachan arrives, laying claim to the body. Accusations of murder ensue, with the second wife’s family demanding justice. Father Zacharia, an assertive parish vicar with a penchant for crime novels, informs the police upon hearing about a head injury.
The conflict escalates when the vicar insists on an investigation and autopsy before allowing the burial. Eeshi, angered by the unreasonable demand, slaps Father Zacharia, prompting the vicar to forbid burial in the church cemetery. The gravedigger, who had been preparing Vavachan’s grave, unexpectedly passes away, leading to his burial in the same plot.
Chemban Vinod Jose plays Eeshi, the son of Vavachan (Kainakiri Sankaraji), an elderly alcoholic who has a habit of disappearing from home for long periods. Later, Eeshi takes matters into his own hands amidst the morning rain, determined to navigate the challenges surrounding Vavachan’s final rites.
The movie is a Malayalam masterpiece that transcends the language barrier with its visual poetry and emotional resonance. Rima Kallingal delivers a luminous performance as Shanthi, a woman grappling with grief after the sudden disappearance of her husband.
The film unfolds slowly, mirroring Shanthi’s introspective journey. Lush Kerala landscapes become canvases for her sorrow, while hauntingly beautiful music underscores the emotional depth. Fahadh Faasil and Asif Ali lend stellar support, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.
With PF Mathews’ screenplay, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s direction and Shyju Khalid’s cinematography, this movie is a classical Malayalam masterpiece, with these three being its true heroes enabling great storytelling. In the tradition of other great funeral films, finding laughs in morbid situations and social commentary in the most unlikely, Pellissery crafts a careful and surprisingly entertaining insight into the politics, economics, and theatre surrounding death.