Imagine devouring a large box of salted popcorn. As you almost reach halfway through the snack, you feel disappointed with the lack of salt in it. But somehow as you dig deeper, you find what you had paid for — the fluffy buttery salted corn. And you wonder if only it was thoroughly mixed before it was given to you. Well, Janhvi Kapoor’s Good Luck Jerry, now streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, feels just like that.
In a nearly two-hour-long film, director Siddharth Sen takes you on a frantic and messy journey of a young woman, Jerry (Janhvi Kapoor), who turns into a drug mule to make money for her mother’s cancer treatment. After a brief hiatus, she decides to quit but as things go haywire, Jerry and her family are thrown into a whirlpool of complicated situations.
Jerry, much like Alia Bhatt’s Pinky in Udta Punjab (2016), is an immigrant from Bihar living in the Northern state. But in Jerry’s world, when things go wrong, it infuses fear with laughter. Jerry lives with her mother Sarbati (Mita Vashisht) and younger sister Cherry (Samta Sudiksha). All three women have admirers flocking around them, craving their attention. Among them, Rinku (played by the impeccable Deepak Dobriyal) resorts to being the ‘harmless stalker’—a trope that has been used and overused in Hindi cinema since time immemorial.
Remakes often have the advantage of revisiting already-tested (usually successful) stories. But if the last few Bollywood releases of this year (Jersey, HIT: The First Case, Forensic) have taught us something, it is that the comparison often works as a disadvantage. Good Luck Jerry is the Hindi adaptation of the Tamil hit Kolamaavu Kokila (with Nayanthara anchoring the narrative) which has a 7.3 IMDb rating. But luckily for Sen’s film, it attempts to add nuance and context to Jerry’s world and for Hindi-speaking cinephiles.
Cast and crew to the rescue
If not for the superb cast and cinematography, Good Luck Jerry would have sunk faster than a heavy rock.
Cinematographer Rangarajan Ramabadran has done a fine job, especially in stitching the colourful frames when the shit hits the fan (metaphorically) in the film. It will probably remind you of the hilarious climax sequences from the comedy films Hera Pheri (2000) and Hungama (2003) albeit with fewer laughs.
The cast, especially Sushant Singh as the drug lord, is flawless and blends into the premise of the film. If only he was introduced much sooner. Every frame with Singh is bound to either make you laugh or marvel at his acting prowess. In the last decade, Dobriyal has emerged as a reliable actor who could infuse any scene with his comic timing and energy (especially in the Tanu Weds Manu series, Hindi Medium, and Angrezi Medium). Even Vashisht as Jerry’s mother and Neeraj Sood as Jerry’s neighbour add wonderfully to the plot. Their experience as industry veterans further helps the film stand on its two feet. The jugalbandi of these eccentric characters played by fine actors is the soul of the film. Barring few scenes and her inconsistent accent, Kapoor, who leads this solid cast, has delivered a fine performance. To her credit, she portrays Jerry with a seamless blend of cunning and innocence.
Good Luck Jerry may not have you ROFL but its latter half is sure to make you LOL. In a scene, Jerry says, “Hum jitne dikhte hain, utne hain nahi (I am stronger than I look)”. Perhaps, the same could be said for the fate of this film.
(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)