'JugJugg Jeeyo' review: Entertaining equilibrium of love, laughter, longing
Raj Mehta's JugJugg Jeeyo arrived in theaters on Friday. Dharma Productions' family entertainer stars Anil Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Varun Dhawan, Maniesh Paul, Prajakta Koli (her debut), and Neetu Singh (her comeback). There is a lot riding on the film due to its aggressive marketing strategy and expectation to end Bollywood's financial drought. Does the film live up to its hype? Here's our review.
The multistarrer revolves around the Saini family's two couples whose marriages teeter on the edge of a divorce due to their companionship's gradual failure. Naturally, it's easier said than done to sign the dotted line. One duo is Geeta (Singh) and Bheem (Kapoor) whose marriage has lasted 35 years, and the other one is the once fairytale sweethearts Kukoo (Dhawan) and Nainaa (Advani).
Bollywood's tryst with dysfunctional families is nothing new, but rarely does it serve a refreshing outlook that is not too moralizing or reeling under melodrama. What we particularly liked was the way the film emphasized female emancipation in the way Mehta's Good Newwz did too—saying that it's no longer women's responsibility to fix irreparably broken marriages. Humans and their relationships are alike—multilayered and flawed.
JugJugg Jeeyo gets the combination of visceral emotions and bone-tickling comedy right, though some WhatsApp forwards masquerading as punches could have been avoided. Mehta touches upon a prickly sensitive topic that's not alien to being swept under the rug, while not making it too preachy. He puts his characters in difficult yet funny situations and gives them the liberty to unleash their true self.
Anil Kapoor looked like he was just having mad fun while owning each frame in his signature jhakaas manner, while Dhawan held a strong command over scenes that highlighted his vulnerability. Singh was an absolute delight to watch, acting as a restrained, calm foil to Kapoor's loud, pompous character. Thankfully, Advani too got to do much more than simply waltz around in blingy dresses.
The screen particularly crackles with the presence of Paul, who gets the lion's share of hilarious one-liners and doesn't let himself be overshadowed by the presence of either Kapoor or Dhawan. Each time he comes on screen, he leaves you wanting more!
It has become annoying to see Punjabis as, well, stereotypical Punjabis. Loud and boisterous people who can't keep their excitement in check and gorge on paranthas? We have seen too much of it already. In a lot of scenes, the film fell into this formulaic trap with an ear-piercing Punjabiesque background score that acted as a laughing track and snatched away gravitas.
Though the film intended to lace the issue of divorce with wit and humor, it sometimes seemed to falter when male infidelity is simply written off as a comedic device. Also, there are two scenes surrounding religion that might slightly offend some viewers.
JugJugg Jeeyo is a true-blue Bollywood movie, with Dharma Productions written all over it. A few flaws aside, it's largely an enjoyable ride and keeps you intrigued. Toward the climax, there is one cliche and one progressive ending, possibly to cater to everyone. All in all, watch it for the performances, the songs, and for over two hours of powerful entertainment. Verdict: 3.5/5 stars.