Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
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Kangana’s Judgementall Hai Kya is the mental health thriller you were waiting for

Dark, funny, and full of suspense, Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao-starrer film gets the subject right — for most part.

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Bollywood’s past record in portraying mental health issues will understandably fill you with dread as you sit down to watch Kangana Ranaut-starrer Judgementall Hai Kya. Filmmakers have always seemed to resort to over-the-top, dramatic, scary, and highly inaccurate depictions of people and their behaviour arising out of any mental health issue. But Prakash Kovelamudi’s film Judgementall Hai Kya is a welcome surprise.

Kangana Ranaut plays Bobby, a struggling actor with an unspecified (and largely undiagnosed) mental health issue. But Bobby is shown to be high-functioning who manages to take care of herself quite well. She lives her quirky life on her own terms, and often lands into tough situations with people around her, at times even with the law. But Bobby has made peace with the way people view and approach her.

The film takes a dramatic shift when Bobby’s tenant Reema dies, plunging her world into a dark pit of paranoia. Bobby is convinced it’s a murder and the killer is Reema’s husband Keshav (played by Rajkummar Rao). The two characters are then swept into a gripping conspiracy theory, laying the groundwork for the film’s tagline: ‘trust no one’.

Kovelamudi’s film Judgementall Hai Kya is dark, comedic, and has enough twists and turns, albeit some predictable ones, to keep you guessing. Author and screenwriter Kanika Dhillon’s screenplay is taut, witty, and dark, with just the right amount of humour. The filmmakers go for an almost Raman Raghav-esque thematic treatment, with bright colours, light/shadow play, and loud, camp Bollywood music in the background. It works well in parts, especially when building up tension, only to instantly diffuse it. If only the filmmakers had treaded the fine line between an outright thriller and dark comedy with a little more subtlety, Judgementall Hai Kya would have made for a truly flawless film.

Undoubtedly entertaining, Kovelamudi’s film also manages to show mental health and what people undergo in the right light. Bobby is an independent woman, who largely has trouble dealing with the voices in her head. With a character that is troubled and equal part badass, Kangana Ranaut does what she does best — she portrays all the shades with expertise.

Judgementall Hai Kya takes her paranoia, anxiety, and delusions extremely well in the first half, but goes so over-the-top with them in the second half that they verge on becoming a parody. This is where the film falters, because its tonal shift in one of its strong points takes away the seriousness from latter, crucial scenes.

Keshav’s character, which is a lot more subtle, is treated well, both by the director and Rajkummar Rao, who has upped his game in this film. He will leave you feeling rather hot under the collar. Mental asylums and the actual, uninformed debate around mental health are used here as a plot point to weave into what Bobby is really going through. People readily discount Bobby as ‘crazy’, while doctors insist on heavy medication as the only form of treatment. Even the highly controversial electroconvulsive (shock) therapy is shown as the ‘help’ Bobby gets — like so many people in real life.

Judgementall Hai Kya does strike a good balance between being a film that talks about an important social issue and an engaging fictional tale. Exciting, engrossing, and not at all preachy, you will be forced to look at mental health, and this film, twice.

Also read: Is Indian media being unfair to Kangana Ranaut?


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