Curry & Cyanide: The Jolly Joseph Case, directed by Chisto Tomy, made us privy to what infamously came to be known as the Koodathayi killings. Jolly Joseph, a homemaker, was the prime suspect in a case where six people of the same family were killed over a period of time. From her husband, Roy Joseph, to her mother-in-law, Annamma, Jolly allegedly poisoned six members of her immediate family, and the incident took the entire nation by storm. Killing had become a habit for Jolly, and she grew confident after each and every murder. She killed people so that her fraudulent nature never came to light, but it was the intuition of Renji and Rojo, siblings of Roy Joseph, that exposed her and brought her illicit activities to light. So let’s find out why Jolly killed those people, if she was struggling with some mental disorder, and what the possible outcome of the case could be.
Was Jolly suffering from a mental disorder?
Well, the way Jolly went about her business, I am pretty sure that she might have been suffering from some kind of personality disorder due to which she harbored certain delusions which made her go to such extreme lengths to get what she wanted. Two things that were a priority for Jolly were that, firstly, she wanted to be really affluent, which was why she married Roy, and secondly, she went for Shaju, too. Secondly, she didn’t want to work to elevate her standard of living; rather, she was very happy staying at home and not doing anything. It can be said that she wasn’t affectionate towards anything, not even her kids, and she was only concerned about her needs and wants. Killing a toddler said a lot about the kind of person Jolly was and how demented her mindset was. Also, it was shocking how she took such extreme steps in order to hide her petty lies. Jolly was a pathological liar, and she could create an entire fake narrative without flinching an eye. I personally feel that Jolly didn’t even love her own parents, and she was with them because they provided for her, but at the back of her mind, she always wanted to live with a kind of family where she wouldn’t have to work for a living. I even feel that, though she showed that she loved her sons, in reality, she was not very attached to them. As depicted in Curry & Cyanide, Renji had a more motherly instinct towards Remo and his brother as compared to Jolly. The worst fact was that Remo somewhere knew that his mother didn’t care about him because, had he not known the kind of person she was, he would have tried to take a stand and fight for her cause.
How did Renji find out about Jolly?
For the longest time, Renji and Rojo Roy’s siblings had no clue that there was some foul play involved in the deaths of their family members. They believed that they either died of natural causes or committed suicide. But after a point in time in Curry & Cyanide, when they saw that the pattern was repeating itself, they got a little suspicious about everything that had been happening. Had Renji not seen the autopsy report of her brother, she would have never come to the conclusion that he didn’t die by suicide. Renji and Rojo were told by Jolly that Roy had incurred a lot of losses and that he knew that he wouldn’t be able to pay off his debts. Rojo got suspicious when, after Roy’s death, no lender contacted them. He trusted Jolly, and he was stressed out about the fact that he and Renji would have to pay off their brother’s debt. But it was quite unlikely that no one contacted him, and that’s where he got suspicious. Renji went through the autopsy report, and she noticed that the last meal that her brother had was still not digested by his system.
Now Jolly had told him that he had lunch, and then in the night, he got a seizure of sorts and then met his fateful end. But Renji knew that she was lying about that fact, and she fed him something in the night that contained cyanide. This revelation made her very suspicious, and taking into consideration the mysterious ways that her other family members had died, she knew that Jolly was hiding something. She filed a complaint based on her intuition, and her suspicions turned out to be true. The bodies of the deceased family members were exhumed, and cyanide was found in two bodies. Jolly was taken into custody by the law enforcement authorities, and she confessed in front of the police officers that she had killed all six people that died in her family. Rojo and Renji were both criticized by a lot of people, as the general consensus was that they were doing it because of property issues. But Renji held her ground, and she knew that she was truthful to herself. She fought till the very end, and she made sure that the truth came to light.
What will the verdict be?
As of now, the case against Jolly Joseph is still going on in a special court in Kozhikode, Kerala. In my personal opinion, it would be very difficult for the prosecution to prove in court that Jolly was responsible for all six murders. The problem was that at the time when the autopsy should have been conducted, we don’t know why, but neither Renji, Rojo, nor the doctors pressed for it, and now, even if the corpse were exhumed, it would be very difficult to ascertain what would have happened back then. We understand that that confession in front of police officers is not admissible as evidence in court, but still, the prosecution would rely on it to make a point. Jolly’s lawyer would obviously claim that she was coerced to make a confession, and I believe that the chances of her breaking down during the cross-examination are quite high.
After watching Curry & Cyanide, we can say one thing: Jolly wasn’t somebody who could handle pressure very easily, and we had multiple instances where she just spilled all her beans and told the truth to the person confronting her. In my personal opinion, the prosecution would be able to prove that Jolly was responsible for a couple of murders where evidence was present, but it would be an impossible task to prove all six of them. It would be interesting to see if the court holds any other person as a co-conspirator in the matter since M.S. Mathew and Praji Kumar, the two men who provided Jolly the cyanide, are also held accountable or if they get a free pass.