An official adaptation of Tamil hit Kolamaavu Kokila starring Nayanthara, Good Luck Jerry is the kind of film whose premise wins half the battle for it; an innocent-looking girl who gets sucked into the world of cocaine smuggling. The idea itself fills the mind with dramatic possibilities.
Writer Pankaj Matter has tweaked the original story, but under the direction of Sidharth Sengupta, the transition from Tamil to Punjabi/Bihari milieu is smooth.
Jaya or Jerry is a Bihari girl living in Punjab with her widowed mother Sharbati and sister Cherry. After her father’s death, her mother sells momos for a living and she works in a massage parlour, a job choice her mother doesn’t like. The three women are the centre of attraction in the neighourhood with men and boys eager to surrender to them on their terms, and writer Pankaj draws from the ironies of everyday life to create a series of situations that keep you interested.
One day, Jerry and Cherry inadvertently cross the path of a drug cartel. When Jerry finds that her mother has cancer, she thinks of making a move towards a much more questionable profession. Her innocent face makes her an indispensable member of the drug gang, but soon circumstances spiral out of hand and now Jerry has to save herself and her family from the drug lords as well as the prying police. As Jerry puts one set of gangsters against the other, it leads to a series of smartly-conceived humorous and tragicomic situations. Raj Shekhar’s lyrics help us in understanding the mindset of the protagonists. With everyday words like ‘paracetamol’ and popular proverbs weaved into poetry, Raj knows how to convey deep-seated emotions to the modern-day listener.
One of those lucky actors who get the opportunity to learn on the job, Janhvi Kapoor performs better than in her previous outings, but it has more to do with the rich writing material than her skills as a performer.
Still conscious of the camera, it seems she gets into the body language of the character only when the director says, ‘action!’ It becomes all the more apparent when she shares the frame with Mita Vashisht and Deepak Dobriyal; both are a hoot and stand out amidst a very talented ensemble cast. Case in point, the opening scene when Mita has been entrusted with the task of selling the milieu to the audience, and she does it with aplomb in a Bihari accent.
In a role that is a variant of his Tanu Weds Manu character, Deepak plays a neighbourhood boy who is living under the perception that Jerry is a good, young coy girl. In a rib-tickling sequence, he talks to a wall to impress her and eventually gets to explain the modus operandi of the mother and daughters without uttering a word. Sahil Mehta also excels as the outspoken Sikh gang member and Jaswant Singh Dalal is absolutely believable as the gang lord who surrenders to the irresistible charm of Jerry knowing well that it could vanquish him.
One doesn’t know whether director Sengupta has underplayed the cunning side of the character or Janhvi didn’t want to experiment with her image too much, but in the second half, it limits the growth of the character. Also, after a point, the plot starts moving in circles with predictable radii. Once you could sense the threat and solution for Jerry, you could only say Jerry is too lucky to be true.
Good Luck Jerry is currently streaming on Disney Hotstar