Throw: Neetu Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Varun Dhawan, Maniesh Paul, Tisca Chopra and Prajakta Koli
Director: Raj Mehta
Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)
A family drama that wants to be an everyday marriage comedy, but is unable to settle into a rhythm of any kind, Jugjugg Jeeyo is a story of three marriages – one lasted 35 years, another is five years old, and a third is days away before it is celebrated. Complications resulting from mistakes, doubts and accidents chase all three.
When it sounds like a hysterical noise with the potential to produce a laugh, only a small part of it is typed and realized. Jugjugg Jeeyoproduced by Dharma Productions and Viacom18 Studios, uses striking sets, loud music, loud dialogues and a staggering script in the service of a story about the pitfalls of marriages that drift.
The confusing ways of the plot, if one were to be charitable, approach the confusion that the characters confront. While trying to figure out the pros and cons of marriage, they apparently can not decide on the usefulness of the institution. Certainties elude them – and the script.
It is mercifully not the fate of the main actors – Neetu Singh (who returns to the industry after a long hiatus), Anil Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani and big screen debutant Prajakta Kohli. They do well to keep up with a movie that has no place for breaks. As the story unfolds, the cast seems to enjoy the ride. Their sustained ebullience smears to some extent on the narrative.
Jugjugg Jeeyo, directed by Raj Mehta and screenplay by Rishhabh Sharma, Anurag Singh, Sumit Batheja and Neeraj Udhawani, is about an aging man and his son. Their marriages end in bad weather, even if their daughter / sister is ready to enter into marriage. The family gathers in their Patiala home for the upcoming wedding with a series of secrets that will soon begin to tumble into the open.
One character says to another: “Dabaa ke rakhna theek nahi – emotion with movement. ” Jugjugg Jeeyo take that suggestion to heart and run with an abundance of just about anything it can pack in its 150 minutes. That the film is too long is not the problem. It’s the clumsy, exuberant overload that weighs it all too often.
Raj Mehta’s previous director, Good News (2019), also from the Dharma Productions stable, was about a couple struggling to conceive a baby. Jugjugg Jeeyowhich has the same tone and texture as his debut film, is about two couples working to keep their marriage intact although members of the extended family do not lose an opportunity to remind the younger married woman, to her dismay, that it is time for her . to become a mother.
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham was all about “love for your parents”, Jugjugg Jeeyo is all about disgusting your spouse. A wedding takes place within the first four series of the film. It’s handled without much fancy (the reason for the ridiculous treatment: the film has bigger and fatter weddings in the offing).
Cut to five years later. The couple, Kuldeep ‘Kuku’ Saini (Varun Dhawan) and Naina Sharma (Kiara Advani), who fell in love when the boy was still in his underpants, drifted apart even though they continue to live under the same roof in Toronto.
The lady is a hotshot HR professional on a role in Toronto; the guy is a nightclub bouncer staring at a cul-de-sac. The former has sorted her career all out; the latter has no idea what the next day is going to bring. Repentance and blame drive Kuku and Naina to the brink of divorce.
The young couple agrees to postpone the announcement of their plans to divorce until the wedding of the former’s sister Ginny (Prajakta Koli) is out of the way. The girl also has a problem or two to sort out before she gets hooked. And that is not all. It turns out that their parents, Bheem Saini (Anil Kapoor) and Geeta (Neetu Singh), seemingly a happy couple, are no better off.
Laughter and emotions are the two main elements in Jugjugg Jeeyo, which after a relatively calm first half dives into a turbulent second half crammed with revelations and concealments. The men blame the women, the women do not suffer in silence, and the confrontations, especially between the younger couple, degenerate into shrill slang matches.
When the war of words (s) breaks out – the one between Bheem Saini and his aggrieved son quickly gets out of control – mawkishness is never far away. Jugjugg Jeeyo goes the whole pig with the emotional exaggeration and sends conflicting signals on the theme of the man-woman relationship within the boundaries of marriage.
The secrets that the two married couples and the prospective bride send to each other send the family of five members in a tizzy, with Kuku Saini’s best pal and brother-in-law Gurpreet (Maniesh Paul) and the boys’ maths teacher Meera (Tisca Chopra in a cameo) add fuel to the fire.
Once the crises peak in the second half, the script turns out to be awkward. Unraveling the web of lies and uncertainties is a tedious, tedious process of twisting and turning designed not to allow any of the Saini – at least the wayward patriarch – to be seen in a bad light. The balancing act takes its toll.
Neetu Singh is the only member of the cast who is not called to yell and yell. She walks through the film with striking self-control, especially in the scenes that follow the character’s realization that her marriage may be threatened. Amidst all the fulminations raging around her, it looks like she’s in a different galaxy.
Anil Kapoor in the form of a man who takes too much for granted is able to convey a streak of recklessness and attacks of emotional blackouts with equal happiness. The younger actors around him, as always, are hard pressed to keep up with him. Full marks to Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani and Prajakta Kohli for trying.
Very broad features are the stock-in-trade of this film, which of course can help a lot to enchant it for segments of the masses. But do not expect any nuanced ideas to flow from this battle of the generations that are rapidly losing its way in a maze. As a cinematic ‘dissertation’ on marriage, Jugjugg Jeeyo for centuries. Beware. You might find it entertaining. But informative it certainly is not.