Freedom Fight Review: 4.25/5
After the grand success of The Great Indian Kitchen, Jeo Baby is back with yet another path-breaking and thought-provoking set of stories. These stories explore the different injustices faced by individuals from different sections of society. Freedom Fight has five short films, each directed by Akhil Anilkumar, Kunjila Mascillamani, Francies Louis, Jithin Issac Thomas and Jeo Baby himself. The intensity of the theme in the stories just gradually increases one after the other.
Here’s me dissecting and discussing each of these shorts.
Geethu Unchained (Written and Directed by Akhil Anilkumar)
Geethu Unchained tells us the story of Geethu and her choice with regard to her marriage. Her colleague asks her hand for marriage but she is in a dilemma. She visualises what her life would be like after saying yes or no. With her parents constantly pushing her for marriage, Geethu has to make a decision. This segment is the most light-hearted and less intense compared to the rest.
With breezy writing and great making, Geethu Unchained becomes a light watch. It poses a very strong and relevant question to society at large. Rajisha Vijayan’s superb acting performance is supported by a brilliantly handpicked cast. They themselves are highly natural in their acting and add to the grace of the segment.
The cinematography as well as the editing for the segment go hand in hand and give the viewers a great viewing experience. This one is not the best of the lot but is still quite impactful with its strong politics.
Asanghadithar/ The Unorganised Sector (Written and Directed by Kunjila Mascillamani)
Asanghadithar tells the story of a few women employees in the bazaars of Kozhikode who do not have access to washrooms in their workplace. Their fight for clean and accessible washrooms and their struggles for the same is the basic idea of the segment.
This segment has a sense of satire in it, which many would conclude as a mockumentary. The way in which humour is used to talk about socially relevant topics just shows the brilliance of the writer. The cinematography, editing and sound design for the segment stand out the most. Srinda, along with several other fresh faces, helps in depicting the plight of several working-class women smoothly.
Another brilliant and praiseworthy step by the makers of this short was casting transgender individuals and helping them raise their voices against the issues they face as well. The irony and symbolisms showcased through the segment are brilliant to watch, which makes Asanghadithar one of the finest segments in the entire anthology.
Kliptha Vihitham/ Ration (Story and Directed by Francies Louis, Written by Francies Louis and Vishnu K Udayan)
This segment tells us the story of a housewife, belonging to the lower-middle-class section of society. She lives right next to a family, belonging to the upper class. Both the women from these two sections are really close to each other, but under certain circumstances, the relationship is put to test. How the issues are sorted form the remaining part of the segment.
The series is quite slick and quick-paced, with a commentary on the social divide. The writing doesn’t really do a lot of spoon-feeding. In fact, Ration becomes a segment that the viewers decode themselves. Kabini as the housewife and Jeo Baby as the husband put forward some great performances.
The cinematography and editing lend a sense of naturality to the visuals. It makes it look like a slice of life tale. This one probably doesn’t reach the wow factor, when compared to the other segments, but is surely a strong and compelling watch.
Old Age Home (Written and Directed by Jeo Baby)
Old Age Home introduces us to Geroge Baby, who is an aged man having early symptoms of Dementia. He lives with his wife Lali, who has a snack business of her own. Lali gets busy with her business endeavours so doesn’t spend much time with George. Their new household help becomes a connecting bond between George and Lali. The remaining part of the segment showcases the tumultuous turns the bondings have.
This segment is a slow burner that could be written off as a dragged out piece. However, it is this slow-burner narrative that creates a big impact when it reaches its climax. The ideology of freedom from the perspective of the three different leads in this segment is brilliantly fleshed out by Jeo Baby.
Joju George as an actor delivers yet another stellar performance as George Baby. The way he portrays the vulnerable nature of the character is absolutely marvellous to watch. Rohini as the household help also puts forward a subtle yet impactful performance.
The cinematography is great, though most of the visuals in the film is from a steady camera set-up. It is undoubtedly the climax and ending portions, supported by a melancholic BGM by Rahul Raj, that elevates the quality of this segment.
Pra Thoo Mu (Written and Directed by Jithin Issac Thomas)
This segment showcases the physical assault a septic tank cleaner faces from a minister after he enters his house. Pra Thoo Mu is a brilliant picturisation of the conflicts between the elite class and the working class. The segment gives importance to a sector that we all tend to neglect. It is undoubtedly the most intense and disturbing watch amongst all the segments, and also becomes the finest in the anthology.
The writing is absolutely fantastic, along with some outstanding filmmaking tropes. The conscious use of black and white tone for the visuals and usage of visual imagery and ironies is simply brilliant to watch. The cast also puts forward such commendable performances. Sidhartha Siva as the minister is absolutely ruthless in his portrayal and lives the role. Unni Lalu as the septic tank cleaner puts forth a performance we all would sympathize with.
Jithin Issac Thomas as a writer and director has showcased his brilliance and makes it such a strong, relevant and disturbing watch. This segment would not leave your mind easily as it has such a lasting impact due to its efficient storytelling and superb picturisation.
Should You Watch Freedom Fight?
As a whole, Freedom Fight is a brilliantly compiled anthology of stories that showcases the fight for freedom by different characters in different scenarios. The strong writing, excellent making and outstanding acting performances of the cast makes Freedom Fight one of the finest Malayalam films of the year.
Starting off with a light-hearted story, Freedom Fight concludes with a story that is extremely intense. Jeo Baby’s anthology series sets a benchmark for progressive content.
Do not miss this anthology series at any cost because Malayalam cinema is growing in the right way, with this film being yet another example of our realistic, rooted and absolutely path-breaking content creation.