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Maqbool and Joji: Two must watch adaptations of Shakespere’s Macbeth on OTTs

Joji and Maqbool are movie which are inspired from the great play Macbeth by William Shakespeare revolving around the theme of patricide

Alfred Francis
Sep 04, 2021
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Vishal Bhardwaj and Malayalam director Jayaraj are often credited for the ‘Indianization’ of Shakespearen epics like Macbeth, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. Adapting an epic novel into a movie is often challenging, especially when it comes to its script. The script has to be developed into something acceptable and relatable to the audience. Thus, Hamlet became Haider focussing on the Kashmir insurgency while Othello became Kaliyattam in Malayalam, focusing prominently on Kathakali.

But Maqbool and Joji are different in that matter. They are just a pale shadow of the original work. They can be called an adaptation, but at the same time, they are independent artworks showcasing varied concepts, settings and performances that claim originality.

Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool is a perfect adaptation of Macbeth, but in a desi way. Maqbool is played by Irrfan Khan who is instigated against his father Abba Ji by the latter’s mistress Nimmi, played by Tabu in the most demonical manner. Nimmi moves behind the shadow and injects the venom of hatred through her sharp yet poetic words. And the way she changes into a different personality, once the deed is done, is worth a watch. Tabu’s terrific performance added with the dark mood of Bhardwaj movies let you sink into this masterpiece.

Joji on the other hand is the regional version of the Shakespearean play. Dileesh Pothen’s Joji takes place in Idukki, a hill station in Kerala which is known for its farmers’ community. Most of the residents of the area are farmers who migrated from North Kerala looking for cheap places for cultivation. The protagonist’s father Kuttappan is such a character who uses his youth and raw muscles to conquer the mountains of Idukki and becomes successful. Kuttappan keeps everyone under his thumb, with his overbearing presence and resilience that even helped him to come back from vegetative state.

Joji, played by Fahad Faassil is fed up with his father’s attitude and poisons him. He is instigated to commit the crime by his sister-in-law Bincy who pretends to ignore him while replacing his father’s medicines.

Both movies are different with only one common factor - the murder of a father figure. The Shakespearean work is far removed from even the core element of these movies. While Maqbool kills for love and lust, Joji commits patricide for money and freedom. Both movies have succeeded in being different from the original work and transforming into another piece of art while keeping the essence of the source text. And that’s what makes Maqbool and Joji a must-watch. Maqbool is streaming on Disney+Hotstar while Joji can be enjoyed on Amazon Prime.

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