A film about forced marriages that earns your genuine laughs
In a year that has spinned out pointless comedies that were low on laughs but still managed to rake in the money (Yes, I’m looking at you ‘Total Dhamaal’ and ‘Luka Chuppi’), ‘Jabariya Jodi’ has managed to crack me up for most of its running time given its stellar supporting cast, despite many of its glaring imperfections.
Based on the rampant practice of forced marriages in Bihar that involves greedy unsuspecting grooms being kidnapped by hired men and married off to brides whose parents cannot offer dowry, ‘Jabariya.. blends in small-town narratives peppered with crackling dialogues and delightful performances, primarily by its supporting cast replete with ever-dependable actors.
Suffering from lack of validation and to avenge the disillusionment doled out to his mother, Abhay Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) assists his father Hukum Dev Singh (Javed Jaffrey) in the groom kidnapping business until he rekindles romance with his childhood sweetheart Babli (Parineeti Chopra), and life and love take a new turn.
Written by Sanjeev Jha and Raaj Shandilya, the dialogues and the treatment remain true and authentic to where the story is set in, i.e. Patna. Editor Dev Rao Jadhav keeps the proceedings crisp and the narrative is well replete with background score by Joel Crasto. DOP Vishal Sinha gives us a great visual treat of the lived in-conditions of small-town India but does not offer us flattering visuals of the film’s good looking leads. There are several scenes in which you can clearly see Parineeti’s make-up wearing off. Two glaring issues that stood out for me is a) the need to commercialise the film by adding an out-of-place Punjabi romantic track crooned by Arijit Singh, and b) the use of violence by Babli to get even with her ex-lover. But given recent theories by a ‘certain director’, let’s assume its true love on her part.
Which brings us to the performances. Parineeti is in dire need of trying her hand at something experimental. While the plot helps her flesh out a feisty and spirited character, it’s a role that she has played several times in her career that her scenes display the evident hangover of her past filmography. Her styling too is extremely pretentious and outlandish. Agreed, she has really worked hard to attain a toned body but given the setting her character is based in, does she really require to be adorning crop-tops and off-shouldered tops?
It’s a beautiful welcome change though to see Sidharth completely immerse himself into a character that isn’t his playground, particularly. While the actor lets his physique display the required machismo, his silent, emotional bits are equally arresting. One hopes that the spell of flops that have plagued his career in the last few years breaks off with this film. The chemistry of the two actors is easy on the eye.
But the able casting of Mukesh Chhabra CSA builds a dependable supporting cast with Aparshakti Khurana, Sanjay Mishra, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Gopal Dutt and Neeraj Sood, that proves to be the biggest strength of the film. Aparshakti, plays the silent lover of Babli who sprouts winning but cheesy shayari. My only concern is him getting stereotyped alike Varun Sharma. Mishra is a complete hoot as Babli’s sleepwalking dad. You’re likely to chuckle even before he mutters his lines. Sood as Babli’s uncle, Dutt as the local policeman and Sanyal as Abhay’s sidekick Guddu shine prominently in their screen-presence too.
‘Jabariya Jodi’ isn’t perfect, but it promises you plenty of laughs and a good time at the movies. Give it a chance.