Jogi could and should have packed a wallop but does not

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Diljit Dosanjh plays the title-role of Jogi in the Netflix film centering around the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

This could have been a super-poignant look-back at one of the darkest chapters in the last four decades—the atrocities against the Sikhs after the assassination of  Indira Gandhi in 1984. What we get instead is a formulaic, clichéd look at the issue, largely centered on one man and his family (no quarrel with that per se) and familiar goings-on in a filmi way.

Nothing, in the final analysis, touches or moves you as it should, and Jogi becomes just one more wannabe-hard-hitting saga. For one, all the cliches are there: corrupt politicians and cops, the honest variety that is at loggerheads with them, the renegades and everything else.

A few sequences early on do make for some telling viewing along with some decent lines, but faster than we expect, the film slips into mundane and even trite terrain without any apology and ends on a needlessly morbid note without really creating the impact that we expected from such a subject.

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Joginder Singh aka Jogi (Dijit Dosanjh) lives with his parents in Delhi. His sister, Heer (Charu Kumar), is married to Tajinder (K.P. Singh) and they have a son, Prab (Samarjit Singh Mahajan). On October 31, 1984, after Indira Gandhi is murdered by her Sikh guards, Sikhs begin to be targeted in a planned political pogrom. Tejpal Arora (Kumud Mishra), the MLA of Trilokpuri, feels that his ambition of getting a Lok Sabha ticket can be facilitated if he kills the maximum Sikhs!

Under his orders are inspectors Kuldeep (Saurabh Chauhan) and Inspector Chautala (Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub), who have to execute all this with the riff-raff rioters. After Tajinder is burned alive in his shop, Jogi, his family, Heer and other Sikh residents seek refuge in a Gurudwara.

Chautala meets Jogi and advises him to run away with his family to Punjab, but Jogi is selfless and cares for his community. A plan is devised by the two, along with a Muslim friend, Kaleem Ansari (Paresh Pahuja), who runs a truck business. But there are hostile forces led by Lali Katyal (Hiten Tejwani), also a cop.

However, when we finally come to know why Lali was against Jogi, the reason not only looks flimsy but also absurd in view of cold logic. That is the most glaring flaw in this movie. The script too becomes erratic when it gets into a romantic zone with Jogi’s beloved, Kammo (Amyra Dastur). The pace, anyway, borders between slow and breakneck.  And the intense as well as tense scenes are too few, like the sequence at the place where the truck halts with the Sikhs hidden in a compartment within it being one example.

Diljit Dosanjh tries to rescue the film with a power-packed performance, which is a total break from his comic image. Kumud Mishra is superb as the devious and ruthless politician. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Hiten Tejwani and Paresh Pahuja are effective. The rest pass muster.

The background score (Julius Packiam) works better than the songs (Julius and Sameer Uddin) while Marcin Laskawiec’s cinematography is impressive.

The film should have affected us. Sadly, it misses the mark.

Rating: **

Netflix presents Jogi  Produced by: Himanshu Kishan Mehra & Ali Abbas Zafar Directed by: Ali Abbas Zafar Written by: Sukhmani Sadana & Ali Abbas Zafar Music: Julius Packiam & Sameer Uddin Starring: Diljit Dosanjh, Kumud Mishra, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub,  Hiten Tejwani, Apinderdeep Singh, Amyra Dastur, Paresh Pahuja, Neelu Kohli,  Arvinder Singh Gill, Mikhail Yawalkar, Saurabh Chauhan, Sadanand Patil, Mandeep Kaur, Charu Kumar, Samarjit Singh Mahajan, K.P. Singh, Deep Singh, Divjyot Sabarwal, Harnoor Babbar, Noyrika Bhatheja & others

 

 

 

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