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Movie Review: Jabariya Jodi

Banners: Balaji Motion Pictures, Karma Media & Entertainment

Producers: Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Shaailesh R Singh

Director: Prashant Singh

Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra, Jaaved Jaaferi, Aparshakti Khurana, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sanjay Mishra, Sheeba Chaddha, Sharad Kapoor

Writers: Sanjay K Jha, Raaj Shaandilyaa, Neeraj Singh

Music: Tanishk Bagchi, Vishal Mishra

Everyone knows about surprise parties but what would you do if there was a surprise wedding? This is the unique and fresh concept that debutant director Prashant Singh explores in his Sidharth Malhotra-Parineeti Chopra starrer Jabariya Jodi. And this uniqueness of the idea mixed with a healthy dose of humour and drama works for the most part.

Set in Patna, the story begins with childhood sweethearts Abhay Singh and Babli Yadav being separated in their teens. Coming to the present day, you see Abhay Singh as the local guardian angel-cum-gangster who kidnaps dowry-hungry grooms and forcibly gets them married to their brides. Then there is Babli who is looking for own groom and her only criteria is that the guy should have ‘jigra’. The two have a mushy reunion at one of the jabariya shaadis organised by Abhay and resume their romance. Babli realises she still loves Abhay but he does not feel the same. To avoid commitment, he orchestrates a jabariya wedding for Babli as he fears his overpowering father. What ensues is a lot of drama along with revelations, regrets and realisations, which form the crux of the film.

Love stories are generall devoured by a wide range of audience. But in this day and age, the rom-com genre cannot have a textbook approach. Filmmakers are always looking for that unusual twist in the story to set it apart from the monotonous fare and Singh has played on that.

The concept of a surprise wedding is a unique one and the script would doubtless be hilarious on paper. The writers, Sanjay K Jha, Raaj Shaandilyaa and Neeraj Singh have balance the sentiments and humour well. Coming to the execution, the director tries a linear approach to the storyline, which gets a tad complicated.

The first half sails through as the characters and basic concept is established. The second half dips slightly as a myriad of sub-plots are woven together. Just when the audience might be wondering where the plot is leading, the story promptly realigns itself. There are moments when one feels that the USP of the film is not explored to its full potential although the one-liners, the several puns and some situational comical incidents add a nice flavour to it.

But, the writers have aced in subtly underlining some social messages through the film. Their core plot of Sidharth Malhotra’s character being a groom stealing Robinhood talks of a real issue without sensationalising it even though the intention behind it is good. The scene where he questions the eunuchs dancing at a wedding function about why wouldn’t they bless him with a baby girl instead of a boy, is well-placed and refrains from going into the preachy zone.

Jabariya Jodi celebrates Bollywood in all its glory. It is peppered with colourful song and dance sequences throughout, right from the desi dance number, Zilla hilela to the soulful Ki honda pyaar. It is like a nostalgia trip that takes you down the memory lane where boy meets girl, sparks fly, families oppose, their relationship gets strained and then there is the question of whether there is a happy ending or not. And all this is based on a theme which is the right blend of classic-meets-new age-cinema.

Editing is not a strong link of this film. Despite a linear screenplay, it is difficult to keep track of the flow of events. There are so many sub plots that are packed in the film that they do not get enough time to breathe and bloom. Some of them such as the equation between Abhay's parents or even the one with Babli's fiance whom she abandons moments before tying the knot do not get a neat finish.

Abhay's fear of getting married and settling down with the girl he loves is not clearly established, which might leave you perplexed. And while the emotions of the characters are brought to the forefront often, the confusion in the latter half of the film doesn’t let it connect as well as it should, for instance the lead actor breaking down and being reduced to tears on his mother’s lap.

Vishal Sinha captures the colours and festivity of the big fat Indian weddings well along with the cosy essence of a small-town. The old havelis and the charming kothis give the film the right feel.

Kudos to the makers to attempt a concept which is unheard of in the romance genre but even with the rawness of the backdrop it is set in, Jabariya Jodi needed a little bit more finesse and a crisper edit so that it could live up to its potential.

Performance-wise, Sidharth Malhotra is surely making an effort to step out of his usual urban-guy mould. The actor does catch the lingo correct and is good when it comes to romance and humour but the intensity of his emotions as Abhay struggles to come through. The brash and unapologetic avatar of Parineeti Chopra complements her lead actor just right. The actress is sassy yet manages to bring out the vulnerability in her strong character. Jaaved Jaaferi is the bad guy but he does that with his signature comic style. Sanjay Mishra is impeccable as usual. Aparshakti Khurrana should have been given a meatier role but he does full justice to his part. Chandan Roy Sanyal is amazing as the supportive friend. Sheeba Chaddha is good. Sharad Kapoor is seen on screen after a long time in an extended cameo and is decent. The other supporting cast is okay.

Verdict: A fun watch!

Rating: **1/2

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