Janhit Mein Jaari is lively watch despite some flaws

Paritosh Tripathi and Nushrratt Bharuccha in Janhit Mein Jaari Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The idea is praiseworthy—a film based on the necessity of condoms for protection more than for pleasure. After the atrocious Helmet last year (and I am told some movie is still coming on the same topic), here is a praiseworthy attempt to present a sugar-coated pill where the sugar is mixed with some tangy spice—lifelike humor.

Janhit Mein Jaari (‘In Public Interest’) takes on multiple linked issues alongside its main mission. It deals with abortions, needless deaths during such procedures, women’s safety and contraception while dealing also with gender equality and the importance of self-dependence.

Manu (Nushrratt Bharuccha) is determined to stand on her feet in the town of Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh. Her parents (Ishtiyak Khan and Sapna Sand) have given her a deadline for a job, after which she will have to fall in with their wishes and get married.

The only job she gets is in a condom company called Little Umbrella, which leads her to think that she will sell umbrellas, until she comes to know the truth. But once in, she is tempted to stay on as the pay is excellent. However, it is an uphill journey first convincing her own family that there is nothing wrong in a woman selling condoms, and later in getting accepted in the community, including the women.

She then encounters Ranjan (Anud Singh Dhaka), who earns a living taking up assignments like conducting Jagraatas. They fall in love and when she is married off, another battle begins when, in the patriarchal setup, she finds opposition when they come to know about her job. Manu obliges them by changing to a less-lucrative job selling plastic boxes. And then she goes back to her old job, which now becomes a mission, as a girl she knows has died during her medical termination of an unwanted pregnancy.

Meanwhile, her husband’s family’s opposition increases, and they even coerce Ranjan to file for divorce. The de facto head of the joint family, Papaji (Vijay Raaz) is also contesting an election. His old father (Tinnu Anand) is just a lost voice. It is assumed that a daughter-in-law selling condoms will make him lose his election. A small silver lining is that Papaji’s daughter is also pregnant. So how does it all end?

Despite an erratic pace and several flaws in scripting (like why are the condoms not selling, as if the town is their only market, and Manu’s hard-sell will solve the issue!), the film is a “time-pass” and frothy message entertainer that can be taken at face-value and enjoyed. And this is largely because of the abundance of humor and wit as a general undercurrent. The dialogues by Raaj Shandilya (writer-director of Nushrratt’s Dreamgirl) are sparkling, lifelike and thus relatable and entertaining.

The script, despite some flaws, is excellent in the first half. But the second, more vital, half could have been decidedly more pithy, focused and concise in the right places. For example, while too much attention is paid to some sequences and even needless songs, the conversion of Ranjan to Manu’s side and the way Papaji finally has a turnaround seem too convenient and rapid.

Some characterizations too are not in sync with the script’s intention. Ranjan has shown his wit in the bus sequence in his introductory scene, and it is not convincing how such a man cannot see his wife’s perspective after he marries her—being a dominated son does not fully explain his stand. And why were Manu’s parents willing to marry her off to such a boy who had no steady income?

The character of Devi, Manu’s male bestie, is another weak point. The actor (Paritosh Tripathi) is excellent, but his character’s behavior graph is not exactly logical at many points. Nushrratt’s Manu too has deviations from her character graph. But the actress is confident and merges into her intense yet easygoing character.

Ishtiyak Khan and Sapna Sand as her parents are fantastic. Vijay Raaz is good, if routine as Papaji, while Tinnu Anand’s character is again badly etched. Brijendra Kala in a less-developed role, does full justice to his character as the condom company owner, while the actress playing one of Manu’s co-sisters, who has had two abortions, impresses with her quicksilver face.

From the songs, the Holi number and Pardadaari sound nice while on, but can someone please justify the use of an entirely Punjabi song, Tenu aunda nahin, when the characters are all from Madhya Pradesh? Such monumental musical gaffes in the name of trends are endemic now, and pollute other good films as well—off-the-cuff (and there are lots more), I can think of the delightful Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana.

Rating: ***1/2

Thinkink Picturez, Bhanushali Studios Limited, Shree Raghav Entertainment & Take 9 Entertainment’s Janhit Mein Jaari  Produced by: Raaj Shaandilyaa,  Vinod Bhanushali, Kamlesh Bhanushali, Vishal Gurnani & Shradha Chandavarkar Directed by: Jai Basantu Singh  Written by: Jai Basantu Singh, Raaj Shaandilyaa, Rajan Agarwal & Sonali Singh Music: Prini Siddhant Madhav, Amol-Abhishek &  Sadhu Sushil Tiwari Starring: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Anud Singh Dhaka, Vijay Raaz, Tinnu Anand, Brijendra Kala, Ishtiyak Khan, Sapna Sand, Paritosh Tripathi & others



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