Tapping in the social stigmas and evils have been the new trend in Bollywood lately. While some films, like Article 15 and Super 30, have successfully struck the hammer at the right spot, Siddharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra starrer Jabariya Jodi fail to make the same impact.
By Chetan Mehrishi
The film could have been a lot of things; a scathing indictment of the evil of dowry, a social drama on the novel but illegal solution to that ill which only a state as ‘jugaadu’ as Bihar could have come up with – pakadwa vivaah – or a satire about what such a forced coupling can do to a man, a woman, and the society. Instead, Jabariya Jodi regurgitates the boy-meets-girl, the boy is not sure that he should marry girl, the boy realises at the absolute last moment that he needs to say ‘I do’ trope, which is all set in a kind of antiseptic Bihar that could only exist in Film City, Mumbai! Read on to find out more as we present our analysis on this week’s Jabariya Jodi.
Abhay (Malhotra) is a Patna tough, an arranger of jabariya shaadis – forced weddings. He kidnaps grooms who ask for dowry and forces them to marry at gunpoint; the girl’s family pays Abhay’s father for services rendered. It’s at one of his shotgun weddings that Abhay runs into Babli (Parineeti Chopra), whom he was in love with as a child before her family moved town. They fall for each other again, but when her father (Sanjay Mishra) finds out, he decides to get her married to someone else. An angry Babli kidnaps Abhay and does Jabariya Shaadi with him.
On The Upside
The film gets its zing from the language that you’d only hear in this part of India. Raaj Shandilya’s dialogues give the film its few hilarious moments as Jaaferi explains why Audis are better than a Mercedes or a man complaining about paan: “Ye paan banaye ho ya Japan banaye ho?” Sanjay Mishra as Parineeti’s father, Duniyaram, and Neeraj Sood as his world-wise sidekick chew up the scenery. Chandan Roy Sanyal as Sidharth’s confidante Guddu also adds to the film’s credibility. However, it is Aparshakti Khurana who is the sole salvage of the film.
On The Downside
Both Parineeti and Sidharth look too urban to fit into the milieu. Despite the loud shirts and aviator shades and an attempt at getting his Bihari accent right, it is hard to buy Sidharth as a Baahubali. The spunky Parineeti also pales into her one-dimensional role. You only remember her hair in an atrocious shade of red, her green eyeliner and her penchant for crop tops. Director Prashant Singh’s treatment of an important subject that is begging to be turned into a social satire bursting with local flavour, leaves the film stranded with an identity crisis. There are times when the movie seems unable to pick sides between being a satire or a social commentary.
All In All
Bihar is an underrepresented state in Bollywood cinema. While directors Prakash Jha and Anurag Kashyap have based a lot of their stories there, a social drama that puts it on the map is what we need. Jabariya Jodi could have been that film but, alas, it is as flavourless as the ‘litti chokha’ served on pristine white ceramic plates– for sometimes, you like to get your hands dirty. We’re going with 2 out of 5 stars for Jabariya Jodi. We can’t force you to like the film!