New Delhi: There are good films and bad ones. Sometimes even bad movies tend to have one or two redeeming factors. But then, there are some that truly test your patience and ability to sit down and finish watching it as a responsible reviewer. Prashant Singh’s Jabariya Jodi falls in this third category of films.
Starring Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra, the movie sets the practice of groom kidnapping (jabaria shaadi) in Patna as its backdrop for a love story. Malhotra plays Abhay, who helps his father (Jaaved Jaaferi) in kidnapping men and getting them forcefully married off — for a hefty fee from the brides’ side.
Parineeti plays Babli, a spunky and jobless girl, who lives with her father who is a history teacher. The two meet at a wedding “arranged” by Abhay and his gang and fall in love. When Babli’s father decides to get her married the jabaria way, and enlists the help of Abhay’s father, things get complicated and drama, heartbreak and even more melodrama ensue.
Given that low-budget films set in small-town India have been doing really well commercially and critically for the last couple of years, it is not surprising that Jabariya Jodi’s filmmakers decided to make it quirky.
Unfortunately, the direction and editing are so sloppy that the plot makes no sense — the loopholes and staccato storyline leave you bewildered at any given point. One never understands how the two fall in love and what their families want.
The lead couple’s performances live up to its title — completely forced and with no chemistry. Both Malhotra and Chopra leave a lot to be desired — with their horrific Bihari accents, replete with a lot of ‘kahe’s and ‘babua’s. The only effect either of them has, especially when delivering dramatic one-liners, is that of incredulous laughter.
Glorifying ‘jabaria shaadi’
The film perpetuates a lot of problematic concepts too. Right from glorifying the practice of groom kidnappings and forcing people to get married, puncturing condoms so that grooms don’t abandon their wives, to showing marriage as a punishment for men, this movie has it all.
One of the opening scenes show Babli as a schoolgirl — unsurprisingly played by a fair-skinned, light-eyed actor who is surrounded by dark-skinned children. Babli had the potential of being a strong character but she is turned into an immature and spoilt child who has to get her way every time.
Abhay, too, held promise, with a troubled background and a toxic masculine identity. But he is kept that way — an empty hero.
The music, too, is nothing to write home about. Not only because it isn’t catchy or meaningful but also because there is only one song that has some Bhojpuri. The rest are all Punjabi songs.
Given the many missed opportunities, poor writing, bad acting and messy direction, the very obvious product placements end up being the most interesting part of Jabariya Jodi, a film that would be watched only under, well, coercion.