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‘Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey’ Cast And Character Guide; Everything You Need To Know About The Characters

In today’s time and age, when good content is just a click away, the South Indian cinematic ecosystem has understood that content is the only king. From the big-budget magnum opus “RRR” to films like “The Great Indian Kitchen,” the film industries in the South are experimenting with their subjects and repackaging the narratives in more appealing ways. While we stereotypically associate most South Indian films with hyper-masculine sagas, films with strong female leads are not a rare sight. Director Joe Baby’s “The Great Indian Kitchen” (2021) has been appreciated for its strong stance against patriarchy. “Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey,” directed by Vipin Das, can be treated as a wackier, more mainstream edition of the aforementioned film. Honestly, the one-inch barrier of subtitles ceases to be an issue when we start watching the film. With the entertainment value of a comedy, as seen perhaps in a Rohit Shetty film, and a message that is quite close to Anubhav Sinha’s “Thappad,” it is hard to ignore a film like “Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey.”

The Malayalam blockbuster follows a young woman named Jaya, who, like all other Indian women, irrespective of their region, religion, and cast, is brought up to dream about only one thing in her life—marriage. The film is definitely about marriage but can also be treated as an instruction manual for young husbands- exactly how not to treat your wives. In spite of being similar to “Thappad” as far as the basic plot is concerned, the lack of polish in the characters and their treatment of the entire subject makes “Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey” a more powerful and impressionable film. Director Vipin Das, who has only two other credits under his belt, has done a commendable job in presenting a messy, wacky, dark comedy that speaks volumes while showcasing a woman counter-attacking domestic violence.

Spoilers Ahead

Darshana Rajendran As Jayabharathi, AKA Jaya

Jayabharathi is an ambitious young woman from a small village in Kerala. As per common knowledge, Kerala is among the Indian states with the highest literacy rate. So Jaya is allowed by her family to have the bare minimum education. Since childhood, she has received the treatment typically reserved for the second child, with the added disadvantages of a girl child. She realizes quite early on in the film that her existence is of secondary importance to her family. In fact, she recognizes the fact that her name, Jaya, is a hand-me-down from her brother’s name, Jayan. Jayabharathi is a good student, far more deserving than her brother, yet she has to settle for a Malayalam literature degree when all she wants to do is study biotechnology. This just points out the fact that higher education for women is still a matter of privilege; if she has to travel for her college, it is a better option for her and her family if she drops out.

Although Jaya enrolls for a humanities degree, she has to abandon the program as she falls in love with her professor, and being in love with someone is often a matter of public disgrace, especially for a middle-class Indian family. Therefore, her family arranges her marriage to the local poultry businessman Rajesh who turns out to be an out-and-out chauvinist. The only way Rajesh initially communicates with Jaya is through his rude and curt words and bouts of physical violence. Jaya had already given up her professional dreams to become a good wife. She soon realizes that she needs to be her own savior. She learns Taekwondo on YouTube and gives Rajesh a taste of his own medicine. It is Jaya’s method of fighting back that gives the film a backbone. Jaya’s retaliation against patriarchy by playing the power games, becoming the massy hero who single handedly destroyed ten goons, standing up against her husband, and ultimately emerging with an identity of her own makes her a woman of substance.

Darshana Rajendran, who plays the role of Jaya, made her acting debut with the 2014 Malayalam film “John Paul Vaathil Thurakkunnu.” She became a bankable actor only after her appearance in films like “C.U. Soon.” and “Irul.”

Basil Joseph As Rajesh

Rajesh is a very innocent-looking poultry farmer whom Jaya sees as a decent partner and marries. Insistently called an innocent boy by his mother, Rajesh is an egoistic, chauvinistic man-child who forces his old mother to make him string hoppers every day for lunch. He doesn’t keep his promise to allow his wife to study for the public service exams. He is a sheer failure when it comes to communicating with his wife. It is soon established that this man is boring, demanding, and, to top it all, a wife-beater. His method of making up for his wife is to force-feed her string hoppers, but only at an expensive restaurant. When advised to sing a song for his wife, he only manages to sing the national anthem for her. Jaya, frustrated with her limits for tolerating physical abuse, fights back. In a counter attack, he hatches a plan with his cousin and gets his wife pregnant. After Jaya undergoes a miscarriage and the entire family, including Rajesh, blames her for it, she leaves Rajesh. Rajesh is eventually found musing on the fact that women can survive independently, but men cannot because they are too dependent on their women. Rajesh is one of those characters we love to hate.

Basil Joseph surely needed a lot of courage and acting prowess to play Rajesh. He is an actor and director best known for directing the superhero flick “Minnal Murali” in 2021. The other titles directed by him include films like “Godha” and “Kunjiramayanam.”

Aju Varghese As Karthikeyan

Karthikeyan is Jaya’s literature professor in college, with whom Jaya falls in love. On the surface, he is the typical woke left-wing liberal who proclaims himself to be a feminist. Once Jaya starts dating him, all the progressive liberal attitude is flushed down from their relationship, and he restricts her freedom of hanging out with friends, talking to men, etc. He even slaps Jaya, and it is this affair with him that forces Jaya to drop out.

Aju Varghese is said to have appeared in more than a hundred Malayalam films. He is best known for his performances in “Minnal “Hridayam,” and “Adi Kapyare. 

Azees Nedumangad As Ani

Ani is Rajesh’s cousin. He is divorced. He is the last person on earth to advise Rajesh on the mystery of a happy wife and a happy life. Rajesh takes his advice and gulps down his smug, chauvinistic ideas, which eventually spoil his relationship with Jaya.

Azees Nedumangad is a Malayalam actor known for his roles in films like “Kanchi,” “Minnal Murali,” “Monayi Angane Aanayi,” and “Action Hero Biju.”

Anand Manmadhan As Jayan

Jayan is Jaya’s elder brother. He is initially opposed to Jaya getting a higher education. One peculiar feature about all the men in this film is that they are all problematic—everyone is a misogynist—but Jayan is the least of them all. He is the only one among the family members who helps Jaya find lodging at the working women’s hostel and later also tries to help her get a loan so that she can begin her own business.

Anand Manmadhan has popped up in films like “Himalayathile Kashmalan,” “Aravam,” “Route Map,” and “Attention, Please.”

Sudheer Paravoor As Mani

Mani is Jaya’s maternal uncle. He plays a busybody and marries her off to the first man who comes to see her. He is a brooding presence over Jaya’s family. They are highly influenced by his words. One of the funniest scenes in the film is perhaps when Mani Anna says goodbye to Jaya after her wedding. The fake tears surely make the audience laugh.

Sudheer Paravoor is known for his performances in films like “O.P. 160/18 Kakshi: Amminippilla,”, “Oru Yamandan Prema Katha,” “Pathaam Valavu,” and “Mahaveeryar.”

Kudassanad Kanakam As Rajesh’s mother

Rajesh’s mother is a perfect example of a woman who has internalized patriarchy. The moment Jaya stands up against Rajesh, she is delighted but cannot support her publicly. She keeps on insisting on how naive her son is in order to hide his shortcomings. We are exposed to her real mentality only in the hospital room scene, where she accuses Jaya’s parents of not giving them dowry. According to her, it is a duty on the part of the bride’s parents to give dowry or gifts even if the groom doesn’t demand them.

Kudassanad Kanakam has not appeared in anything better known than “Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey.”

Manju Pillai As The Court Judge

Playing to the stereotype of women being associated with their gender roles, we see the court judge enter the courtroom and tackle some household issues. But once she dons her black robe, she comes into her real element. Rajesh, who believed that he had given his wife enough freedom, is shown his real place by the court judge. She reminds us that every Indian woman by birth is free, and as Indian citizens, we need to be handed liberty, justice, and equality.

Manju Pillai is best known for playing comic roles. She is known for her work in film like “Naalu Pennungal.”  

“Jaya Jaya Jaya Jaya Hey” is streaming now on Disney+Hotstar.

See more: ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ Cast And Character Guide


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