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Energetic and exciting only in parts

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Film Review                                                       Jabariya Jodi

By SUNITA VIJAY

Under Prashant Singh’s direction, Jabariya Jodi tries to flaunt such lofty ambitions as many contemporary filmmakers carry these days to convey a societal message through comedy and ride on its success. It’s however not as easy as shooting fish in a bar rel. To some extent, Jabariya Jodi succeeds in performing better on its commendable comic timings than in delivering a social message, where the film fails at the first hurdle. Despite having an attractive lead cast, stellar supporting actors, and crispy dialogues soaked in typical Bihari accent, the scrappy writing wrapped funnily failed to make an impact. It sparkles only in parts, rest ends in mere casual strokes that nowhere leave a mark. Jabariya Jodi highlights the illegal practice prevalent in Bihar where grooms demanding handsome dowry are being kidnapped and forcefully married at gunpoint. As the lead character says, “Bihar mein teen tarah se jodi yan banti hai babu- Himmat walon ki arrange Jodi, kismet walon ki love Jodi aur Dahej walon ki ….. Jabariya Jodi”. It is the story of one such gang that uses both muscle and weapon power to work towards providing the complete package of kidnapping, marrying, making the pair stay under their supervision for few days (so that the groom doesn’t dodge) and even promising to monitor the whereabouts of groom later to prevent divorce. All this is done against a sum of money collected from the bride’s father. Funny as it sounds, they call it social work as it is an effort to curb dowry. Abhay Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) is the goon who without challenging the intentions of his father follows his instructions as a sage son and is involved in making these jabariya jodis with the help of his gang. As circumstances would have it, he is outsourced to wed off his childhood heart- throb, Babli (Parineeti Chopra) through this forceful shaadi. Contrary to the expected hangover from this spin in the story, the film nowhere is able to narrate the tale in convincing way. I guess, the director thought that by adding romance, comedy, dance, songs, fights and hilarious dialogues, he will prove the intention point-blank but fails miserably in execution. The end effect is forceless and the core essence of understanding the basic sentiments and emotions of the characters nowhere touches the right chord. The colours are lavishly used in this suburban film with the lead cast flaunting vibrant clothes. The girl has red hair and the boy wears colourful floral shirts with equally colourful gamchas, in true Bihari style. Both look a complete misfit in the circumstances and struggle hard to deliver the colloquial language. However, the weak writing is compensated with humorous screenplay. The crispy one-liners and enjoyable dialogues retain the light mood all through. But the attractive star cast and heartfelt dialogues aren’t quite enough to combat the contrivances. There are plenty of loopholes that could have been tactfully plugged if the film had been previewed with unbiased approach before its release to detect the weaknesses. Sidharth Malhotra plays his part well but his personality and his character are a mis- marriage! The harder he tries to be and behave like a Patna lad, the farther he is from it, both in dialogue-delivery and looks. He is shown as a person who suppresses his love to pursue his political ambitions. It’s a role that required more thoughtful writing. The morbid chemistry between Parineeti and him does more damage to the film, more like a jabariya jodi, a forceful one. Parineeti’s attire, lifestyle and behaviour is confusing; completely disagreeing with her role. Except for few scenes that involve tear shedding where she’s good, in the rest of the film – she is ordinary. Prashant tries to cash on with the peripheral cast. Sanjay Mishra, Aparshakti Khurana, Jaaved Jaaferi, Neeraj Sood, Chandan Roy Sanyal are truly upto the mark in their respective shoes but they have their limitations. They cannot lift the complete weight of the film that is technically weak. Sanjay Mishra as Babli’s father has the expertise and gravitas to perform any role well and he comfortably delivers what is expected of him as a worried father of a daughter at marriageable age in the land of greedy dowry seekers. Jaaved Jaaferi gets substantial screen space but even in defining scenes and powerful moments he remains a lukewarm performer. Sheeba Chaddha as Abhay’s mother has very less to do otherwise this actress can do wonders. Aparshakti Khurana generates sympathy for his character. As the most reliable friend to Babli and the film both, his presence is graceful. The music and songs do not catch much attention. The sponsors of few products use the film fully to advertise their products blatantly by freezing the camera on these items. Despite its shortcomings, Jabariya Jodi is not unendurable. It provides some serious moments of laughter spread all over. The Bihari language sounds sweet and is enjoyable. It is an art to convey a serious message in humorous way. It needed tactful handling without entering the zone of direct preaching. This is where this film steers to wrong territory. The director was required to give sensitive treatment to this important subject. Perhaps even it could have been left as a pure comedy minus the imparting of social gyaan, not disturbing the fine line between the two genres and then the film might have served its purpose. In short, Jabriya Jodi remains an unsuitable alliance in all respect, exciting only in parts.