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‘Jabariya Jodi’ movie review: Painfully preachy, without an ounce of unpredictability

In spite of ‘Jabariya Jodi’ being a romcom that requires two people, the film’s entire focus is on its male protagonist   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. In Jabariya Jodi, Abhay Singh (Sidharth Malhotra) kidnaps men who demand dowries and forces them to marry young women at a fraction of the cost. Both are some form of social work, right? At least that’s what director Prashant Singh had in mind when making his debut with Jabariya Jodi. The film is yet another light-hearted attempt to cash in on the hinterland milieu that’s popular with Bollywood these days. What Singh envisioned is a romcom, that would capture life in contemporary Patna, while simultaneously imparting a message on abolishing dowry and the freedom to marry.

Unfortunately, the execution fails at the get go with the casting of Malhotra. The actor, try as he might, cannot embody the disposition or essence of a Patna lad. Like someone forced, pun intended, to mess up, Malhotra stands out sorely, as he mouths dialogues in a dialect he’s clearly uncomfortable with. That coupled with the zero chemistry he has with the fiesty Babli Yadav (Parineeti Chopra), makes for a terrible combination. When Abhay isn’t being incorrigible — like poking holes in condoms so the eventual baby compels a forced-couple to stay married — he’s painfully preachy, whether he’s wishing for a daughter or waxing eloquent on the ill-effects of jabariya pyaar and shaadi (forced relationships and weddings).

Jabariya Jodi
  • Director: Prashant Singh
  • Cast: Sidharth Malhotra, Parineeti Chopra, Javed Jaffrey, Sanjay Mishra, Aparshakti Khurana, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Neeraj Sood, Sheeba Chaddha
  • Storyline: Abhay Singh who kidnaps grooms for a living, ends up in a similar situation

Babli, for all the freedom her father bestows on her, comes across as less independent and more deranged. In spite of Jabariya Jodi being a romcom that requires two people, the film’s entire focus is on its male protagonist. Babli is just an accessory to Abhay’s redemption arc. And even as Sanjeev K Jha’s screenplay unfurls without an ounce of unpredictability, the crux of the film, its love story takes infuriatingly long to progress. Then there’s the fact that the film’s director thinks women in Bihar roam about in mid-riff baring crop tops... case in point: Chopra’s strange wardrobe. Even worse are the film’s product placements — a blood pressure machine, Manyavar and Gas-O-Fast antacid — that will induce eye rolls galore.

The redemption then for Jabariya Jodi is fleeting and in spurts. Thanks to a cracking supporting cast, the film isn’t entirely an oppressive watch. Sanjay Mishra, as Babli’s patient and benevolent father, shines in every moment he’s on screen. Javed Jaffrey as Abhay’s father, is equal parts the menacing wannabe Bihari politician-cum-thug as well as sassy joker. Some of the most deliciously cheesy lines are devoted to his camaraderie with subordinate goons. Aparshakti Khurana as Babli’s pal Santo is hilarious in spite of the injustice meted out to his character. It’s as if every single actor, with the exception of the lead duo, have done their best for Jabariya Jodi. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough.


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Printable version | Oct 15, 2021 8:19:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/jabariya-jodi-movie-review-painfully-preachy-without-an-ounce-of-unpredictability/article28950630.ece

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