Post ‘Hasee toh Phasee’, Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra have come together after five years in ‘Jabariya Jodi‘, directed by Prashant Singh and produced by Ekta Kapoor. The story of the film is based on ‘groom kidnapping’ which is still prevalent in some regions of Bihar.
Directed by- Prashant Singh
Produced by- Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor, Shailesh R Singh
Written by- Sanjeev K Jha
Music by- Tanishk Bagchi, Vishal Mishra, Sachet-Parampara
Star Cast- Parineeti Chopra, Sidharth Malhotra, Javed Jaffrey, Sanjay Mishra, Sheeba Chaddha, Aparshakti Khurana
Abhay Singh played by Sidharth Malhotra is the leader of a gang that kidnaps prospective grooms, who are extremely avaricious and demand heavy dowry. From the viewpoint of Abhay, it is a ‘social service’. However, when he comes across his childhood sweetheart Babli, whom he no longer loves (no strings attached you know), his entire perspective towards the issue changes, for the better or for worse?
This film is based on an issue which has not been talked about before in any other Bollywood movie. Hence, it is a fresh and extremely important subject of forced and unlawful marriage which is prevalent even in modern-day Bihar.
Now, it being a fresh topic was a trump card which ‘Jabariya Jodi‘ seems not to have played too well. The film had so much scope to handle the subject with sensitivity or at least a pragmatic satire about the consequences of forced marriage on the lives of the man and the woman. Instead, it uses the subject as a plot which further gives birth to multiple other plots, and keeps disgorging it without any comprehension.
It tries to touch upon ‘forced marriage’, love, love but not realising it to be love, a third-wheel, and blah blah. And in the process, the film disorients itself. You cannot blame the audience for losing pace with it, because it itself deviates in every respect.
However, the film tried pulling out all the stops and the effort shows at the peripheral level of the sketch throughout. The outlandish clothes to make Chopra look like a subversive woman who rebels (patently through the clothes) against the establishment by wearing extravagantly bright colours and garish hair and eyeliners. Malhotra also sports pretty much the same look when it comes to clothing. But the only difference is their voices.
Written and directed by male writers, somewhere the film has inadvertently neglected its women completely. In the entire 2 hours 18 minutes long run, I could spot three women worth noticing… without almost any dialogue though. At first, Babli’s mother who was killed even before the film began. In one of the first scenes where Babli is apparently eloping, she stops near her mother’s frame and conveys her eloping plan. It almost indicates her mother’s absence in her upbringing, as if a mother is the only one responsible for a child’s upbringing. There are two other women who are comparatively noticeable; Abhay’s mother played by Sheeba Chaddha and the lead Parineeti Chopra. On one hand, a fine actress like Chaddha is given almost no dialogue and appears to be in the film solely for the last dialogue by the hero: “…sharir baap ka hain, par dil toh Maa ka hain na…”. On the other, there is Babli played by Parineeti Chopra whose life revolves around marriage. ‘Baap ka bojh‘ (father’s responsibility) so get married, dowry demanded, thus not getting married, ‘society kya kahegi’ so kidnap a groom to get married and so on and so forth. But wait…what does she do? Well, that would remain a mystery for eternity since we are never told.
Another element which was hackneyed was its frequent dialogues which were meant to be comical. Such as “…Inka paper hum likh de kya” referring to the first night after marriage of the groom they just kidnapped, “…bistar ki jagah kursi pe…”, “…chattri main ched…” where Abhay and group actually puncture a packet of condoms so that the groom cannot renege on the promise of marriage. And mind you, all these crass dialogues are meant to be funny.
Moving on to the good part of the film, Sanjay Mishra as Babli’s father is a treat to watch, to say the least. But sad to say he has very little screen space. And not only Mishra, another fun-to-watch actor Aparshakti Khurana as Babli’s friend is not used to his full potential. But whatever little time he has been given, he is a relief.
All in all, ‘Jabariya Jodi‘ is problematic throughout the film at various levels. The film could have appealed to a few if it had been kept only comical, and not banked on a paramount issue such as ‘Pakadua byah’ and reduce it to nothing.