Jugjugg Jeeyo is deftly made family entertainer

Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani in Jugjugg Jeeyo. Photo: Hype PR

It’s all within a family. Kukoo (Varun Dhawan) and Naina (Kiara Advani) are childhood sweethearts who get married, and relocate to Toronto, as Naina is a successful executive. Kukoo remains a bouncer in a club. However, their marriage soon starts souring on Kukoo’s ego issues and they are now planning to divorce.

The temporary spanner in the works is the wedding of Kukoo’s sister Ginny (Prajakta Koli) back home in Punjab. Kukoo and Naina decide to announce their separation after the ceremony. But before Kukoo can tell his father, Bheem (Anil Kapoor), about it, he discovers that he too plans to divorce his mother, Geeta (Neetu Singh) and announce it after Ginny weds Balwinder (Sawant Singh Premi)!

Ginny actually loves a struggling musician, Gaurav (Varun Sood)! And the chief reason Bheem wants to divorce his faithful wife of 35 years is that he is infatuated and in ‘Stage 1’ (as he puts it) of his relationship with Meera (Tisca Chopra). And Meera happens to be Kukoo’s and his best friend Gurpreet (Maniesh Kaul)’s schoolteacher, who has always been single. And Gurpreet is Naina’s brother and Kukoo’s best friend and occasional advisor.

Family and wedding functions rule the scenario—bachelorette parties, Mata ki chowki, wedding anniversary dos and so on. Alongside all this, the gradual revelations—by Bheem, Naina, Kukoo and finally Ginny, take place. The resolution too all this, after so many convolutions, some of which could have been truly avoided, is a shade unconventional but contemporary. However, the flipside is whether the Indian sensibility will truly accept a lot of the sequences—and the climax—as shown here, and that remains to be seen.

So, in an era when the people take a KGF2 to the skies and do not really accept a Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui with open arms, the makers are facing a double-edged sword after the bountiful initial the film will take.

Make no mistake: Jugjugg Jeeyo is deftly handled, and its assets include sparkling dialogues (when not too loud, which happens off and on), a couple of terrific sequences, like the Neetu-Kiara conversation over wine, or the massive quarrel that Kukoo and Naina have in their room. The initial meeting wherein Kukoo wants to reveal his divorce plans to his inebriated father, is also a highlight.

The overloud volume of the routine background score (John Stewart Eduri) is a liability. And, above all, the songs, entirely in Punjabi, are an insult not only to our eardrums and esthetics but also subtracts majorly from the film’s final appeal. A barrage of music makers (How can we call them composers when two of the four songs—or is it three of five?—are raucous reworks anyway?) spin out cacophonous and percussion-heavy “items”.

There are other weak points. One, the character of Gurpreet could have been dispensed with totally: Maniesh gets to do a needlessly loud turn in the name of humor.

The second point is why major discords within the family are highlighted only in public—two such major imbroglios happen in front of multiple guests! And why are Naina’s parents (Suparna Marwah and Deepak Kripalani) not affected by the news of her divorce? They disappear after this revelation until the Bheem-Geeta anniversary bash, where they are seen happily participating in the revelry!

Finally, while the ups and downs in Kukoo’s and Naina’s relationship are quite natural (like in the bedroom scene before Gurpreet knocks), the idea of a Mata Ki Chowki and two bachelorette parties happening simultaneously is not only illogical but also unacceptable to Mata devotees! For one, the boy and girl who are going to wed must be a part of the religious ceremonies, along with both parents, and for another, it is not really in good taste.

However, the film, except in the last 15 minutes or so, balances emotions and fun reasonably well. I loved the sequence where Geeta talks to Meera about Bheem’s daily needs. Such fresh touches happily divert from the flaws that co-exist.

Kiara Advani towers, along with Neetu Kapoor, among the performances. She is outstanding in the dramatic scenes and even more so when, despite her motivations, she has to be caring towards Geeta and even Ginny. Neetu is fantastic all through, an absolute natural as she always has been, and super-brilliant in the sequence with Kiara mentioned above.

I did not connect with an unkempt-looking Kukoo throughout—at your sister’s marriage, you can surely find time for a smart haircut and a shave! Having said that, Varun is convincing in his performance too, and shines especially when he is slanging it out with his wife and trying to talk to his drunk dad. Anil Kapoor plays to the gallery, but the seasoned actor does it well.

With a little more care, this blend of modern and traditional could have reached great heights—beyond being a deftly-handled family entertainer, into the realms of a classic. It is definitely worth a visit, though, to understand both the fragility and strength of family relationships.

Rating: ***1/2

Viacom 18 Studios & Dharma Productions present Jugjugg Jeeyo Produced by: Hiroo Johar, Karan Johar & Apoorva Mehta Directed by: Raj Mehta Written by: Anurag Singh, Rishhabh Sharrma, Sumit Batheja & Neeraj Udhwani  Music: Mithoon, Tanishk Bagchi, Diesby, Kavita Seth-Kanishk Seth, Pozy & Vishal Shelke Starring: Neetu Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Maniesh Kaul, Prajakta Koli, Sawant Singh Premi, Tisca Chopra, Varun Sood, Manmeet Singh Sawhney, Suparna Marwah, Deepak Kripalani, Sanchit Chanana, Shivika, Elnaaz Nourozi & others





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