Star Cast: Ranveer Singh, Shalini Pandey, Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah, Jia Vaidya, Samay Raj Thakkar
Director: Divyang ThakkarWhat’s Good: It makes you laugh & think at the same time without being too preachy
What’s Bad: If only this had one good song!
Loo Break: It’s just 2 hours long, keep em zips closed
Watch or Not?: Only if you can keep the debate of ‘Bollywood is going down to s*ithole’ aside & watch it without presumptions
Available On: Theatrical release
Runtime: 124 MinutesTaking you almost back to the world Priyadarshan, Neeraj Vora created with their 2004 film Hulchul, we are introduced to a village named Pravingarh in Gujarat led by its patriarchal Sarpanch Ramlal (Boman Irani). He’s like one of those politicians who feel women donning short clothes invites rape, and hence ban the soap to ‘protect the beauty’ of the ladies in his village.
Sarpanch’s son Jayeshbhai (Ranveer Singh) somehow has kept himself away from such orthodox thinking, so he plans to sneak away from his wife Mruda (Shalini Pandey) & daughter Siddhi (Jia Vaidya) on knowing about the upcoming girlchild. What do you feel is the problem with that? Well, that’s the issue makers have tried to tackle with this whole cat & mouse chase involving a powerful Sarpanch killing lives so his ‘vansh’ could carry on and his son who has had enough of this bullsh*t.
Ranveer Singh made his debut as a ‘Dilli ka launda’ in Maneesh Sharma’s Band Baaja Baaraat, cut to over a decade later the actor has changed his culture and the director has changed his position producing this one. The only thing that remains unchanged is the nature of unadulterated entertainment with an additional social message this time. For those bashing this having an ‘outdated subject’, how many ‘hero saves the day’ films have you seen and liked? Not comparing the two things at all here, but if you’re beating someone up for having the same template then at least do after watching how it’s executed.
Divyang Thakkar’s story is a montage of a few extremely beautiful moments, some predictable monotonous sequences, and powerhouse performances by Ranveer, and Jia, all this addressing a social message that’s been discussed before but unfortunately/ironically there’s always room for improvement while talking about Female foeticide in India owning to the real-life cases we still get exposed to every now & then. The script is a celebration of moments like: ‘Bahu’ of the house being forced to put her thumb impression on a paper, *while* kneading flour for chapatis leaving a bit of dough mixed with the ink, how from being covered in a ‘ghunghat’ in all of her wedding photos, the ‘bahu’ attains freedom by letting the wind drawing down her ghunghat while driving a car & many more such small yet impactful sequences.
Cinematographer Siddharth Diwan’s love for the neo-noir style of capturing emotions comes in handy to depict the ‘raw’ & ‘natural’ aspects of the film. Editor Namrata Rao does all things right to keep the film tight! (I just did this for a rhyme, you get the feelings tho.)
Side Note: YRF’s ‘Swag Se Swagat’s line ‘sabko gale lagana, apni culture ki hai aadat’ is played in the background when a ‘shady’ truck driver helps an extremely lost Shalini Pandey’s Mruda & her daughter. (Found no place to fit this, but just wanted this out there)
From Delhi’s street-smart to Mumbai’s police officer, rapper, a Turco-Afghan mad king to now, a Gujarati businessman – Ranveer Singh needs to be asked “How are they?” for the multiple characters he carries inside him (yes, I know I’m referring to the same story he himself revealed about Javed Akhtar-Gauri Khan-Shah Rukh Khan recently). For actors it’s one thing to get into the skin of a character, it’s another to not let you believe they’re trying to do so. From the dialect to the confidence of carrying any clothes (that comes naturally with Ranveer, though), Singh has been adding roles to his filmography which are not all easy to crack, but he somehow manages to master them.
The film also gifts us with two solid performers in Shalini Pandey (wife of Jayeshbhai) & Jia Vaidya (daughter). Both their characters play passing the pass when it comes to contributing to the narrative. Jia is the queen to Ranveer’s king, emerging to be such an effortless actor. Boman Irani manages to annoy you with his absurd traditional mindset through his on-point act & that’s mission accomplished. There’s always a higher set of expectations from Ratna Pathak Shah because she rarely goes wrong, but here she just is eclipsed by not getting enough meat when compared to other characters. She proves her mettle in a single emotional scene she has with Ranveer, but we needed more of them to properly build the relationship between the son & her mother.
Divyang Thakkar definitely brings A LOT from his previous acting experience in Gujarati films like Kevi Rite Jaish and Bey Yaar. Nailing the regional flavour as smoothly as Maneesh did in Band Baaja Baaraat, Thakkar manages the balance of humour & emotions well most of the time. It’s the social message ‘pop up’ in the second half that might pinch some, but the wholesome climax won’t let you leave thwarted from the cinema hall. (Also, drink a shot for every time you hear ‘vansh’ in the film)
I don’t remember when was the last time I had tagged Vishal-Shekhar’s music to be the weakest link of any film, but this film changes that. There’s not a single song that intrigued any interest even situationally in the film, forget adding them to the playlist after listening to them with the sequences. Balhara brothers (Sanchit, Ankit) keep jumping from films like Padmaavat, Bajirao Mastani, Gangubai Kathiawadi to War, Radhe, Panga and now Jayeshbhai Jordaar, and that’s really limiting to guess what’s their ‘signature’ style because all of these pans through an extremely varied range. This is also a good thing because more variety but I would love to see them find their distinctive approach to composing.
All said and done, Jayeshbai Jordaar doesn’t address an ‘outdated subject’, it picks up an issue tackled before adding its own charm, humour, ‘pappi-worthy’ emotions & ‘oh so amazing’ performances by Ranveer, Jia.
Three and a half stars!
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