Jabariya Jodi: Even backstabbers aren’t as fake as is this film

What do you seek in a film where the biggest character trait of the leading lady is that she wears green eye liners and that of the leading man is that he always has a gamcha wrapped around his neck? Jabariya Jodi isn’t the kind of film into which you walk seeking ‘cinema’. But a little entertainment and something worth my money wouldn’t have been too bad an idea.

Based on the real life issue of forced marriages of men who ask for dowry, the script could’ve had potential, but writer Sanjeev K Jha and director Prashant Singh pay importance to only colour. Their love for colour is explained by Parineeti Chopra’s red hair and her and Sidharth Malhotra’s wardrobe. And that is all their character is about. Chopra’s Babli and Malhotra’s Abhay Singh have nothing more to them. The costume department seems to have worked harder than anyone else in the film, and still didn’t get it right.

Based in Bihar, most of the film is apparently shot in Lucknow. There is also the same temple that I remember seeing in Ekta Kapoor’s early days daily soaps. So where the film has been shot, that is the biggest mystery of the film. That, and why it was made in the first place.

The writing is a mess, the direction more so. But what’s terrible, are the leads. Both Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra sparked a great chemistry between them in Hasee Toh Phasee. In Jabariya Jodi, there is absolutely nothing. Individually both the actors fail to impress, and while I’d put most of the blame on them, the writing is too poor. Malhotra plays Abhay Singh, a hunky gunda who makes sure that dowry is eradicated and gets into this jabariya shaadi business. Poorly written one liners and painful sequences form his character. Chopra, on the other hand, plays Babli, who can’t seem to accept the fact that she has been left at the altar by the same guy twice, and still hopes for him to fall in love with her. She lives in Patna, and wears off shoulder tops and bralettes. And when she’s wearing neither, she’s dressed in a heavy lehenga. I’m not against women wearing what they want to wear, but how many women in small town India actually wear such clothes, even at home? And which Patna girl (or boy for that matter) would eat litti chokha in fine China at an upscale cafe?

The supporting cast is top notch. Aparshakti Khurrana, Sheeba Chadha and Sanjay Mishra are given stereotypical, caricature-ish characters, but they do their best with what’s given to them. In just a few scenes, these three shine like there’s no tomorrow. But they deserved a better script.

Not just them, but we did too. As an audience, we are evolving and changing everyday. This is not the kind of film that could either evolve or change us. If anything, films like Jabariya Jodi just make us less learned.

All in all, Jabariya Jodi is a film we didn’t really need. Both, the leading man and the leading lady leave their acting chops, if any, at home and give dull performances, which you shouldn’t pay for.

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