Film: ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’
Director: Raj Mehta
Cast: Neetu Singh, Kiara Advani, Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Prajakta Kohli and Maniesh Paul
Stars: 3 out of 5
Weddings are fun, but to keep that marriage alive and kicking is another ball game altogether — or so you feel after you watch director Raj Mehta’s amiable and unthreatening relationship comedy ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’.
Filled with a clutch of gorgeous talents, the movie follows the troubled marriages of a father and son, who are collectively disillusioned about their spouses and how marriage isn’t living up to all that hype and hoopla.
While consummate actors Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani as Kukoo Saini and Naina Sharma represent the younger couple who are desperate to divorce, there’s Kukoo’s smarmy father Bheem who is monstrously bored by the monotony of his 35-year-old marriage with his wife (Neetu Kapoor).
The well-preserved and pampered Saini Sr is itching for some amorous action in his life, while his son — a dapper but weary Dhawan — is simply done with trailing after his more successful partner while he struggles to earn a decent living.
While these issues of financial imbalance among young couples and boredom that sets in with empty nesters are real, the conflicts that plague this modern family in the brink of collapse is dealt with in a manner that’s both trite and intense.
The hot-cold treatment of their conflict was to perhaps make a non-messy palatable relationship drama, but it feels like a disservice to every individual involved.
Ironically, an impending marriage of Bheem’s younger daughter brings these two discontent pairs under one roof after a long time. This family, seemingly modern and progressive, tiptoes around the D-word and seems to suffer from internalised stigma about getting separated and pursuing a different relationship path. Their screaming matches are all on the nose and strictly superficial. This romantic comedy is sanitised and is inherently mess-averse, but it’s the combined acting that makes it highly watchable.
From Anil as a crafty dad who is craving for some adventure in his love life to Dhawan as an entitled man-child is a pleasure to watch. You laugh with them and at them.
The women, though their characters aren’t fleshed out as much, are memorable and leave an impression. While the witty portions are mostly in the trailer that we have already seen, it’s the emotionally-charged sequences that are the highlights of this film.
The scene where the daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law talk about life, love and everything in between is particularly poignant. Both Advani and Neetu nail that sequence with a mixture of pathos and empathy. There’s another stirring scene where Dhawan, who’s shocked to learn about his father’s transgression and affair, confronts his rakish dad demanding closure and neat answers. Your heart often goes out to them, but you never find out what is truly eating them and their relationships.
Actors Maniesh Paul is on call to be the comic sidekick, and most of his jokes land. This movie — just like its glossy players — is never meant to be taken too seriously. Their conflicts appear superfluous and intangible, perhaps a nod to how most relationships and marriage remain a mystery on how it functions.
On the plus side, it’s one of the few films in Bollywood that treats ageing parents as individuals rather than a set of committed parents whose life mission is to shelter their children.
While it’s daring on many fronts, the film never commits itself to showing the unsavoury bits of a relationship.
Seasoned actress Tisca Chopra as the sexy and staunchly single woman who hurtles into an affair with a married man is refreshingly not tied down by this unspoken moral code. The scene in which she gives her potential squeeze Saini Sr a crash course on preserving her personal space was a golden moment in the film.
With the others, their acting prowess is on display during all those screaming matches and sermonising about relationships and what makes a marital bond last. But don’t bother looking for any soul here.
But since it’s a romantic comedy on the nose, it shouldn’t be a deal break. Solid acting from all actors make it a pleasant watch. There’s a lot of drama and less trauma while watching this amicable and overall pleasant film.