Jazbaa - Review

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

Warped and not in a good way. After a decent start, completely warps logic and the associated human element.

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Wogma Review

Jazbaa is superficial. The mother aches for her daughter, but it is the glycerin in those pretty wide eyes that tells you so. All characters are grey which is pretty rare in Hindi films but they don't come together to make the film interesting. The motivations are unclear which builds an air of mystery but the conclusion so convoluted that the only reaction can be a resounding facepalm.

The dilemma setup and the whodunit aspects of the story create intrigue. You wonder how even a successful advocate like Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai) will get out of the soup that she has been pulled into. But two things come in the way of this decent start, a muddled middle and an flummoxing end.

Who goes after whom for what makes little sense, even after you know how it all ends. In fact, more so after you know who's done it after all. Its a shame because the plot is not entirely nonsensical until about three-fourths of the length of the film. Meanwhile, you also have the swag-infused philosophies that Yohaan (Irrfan Khan) spouts.

Here the superficiality begins to show through the cracks. The cracks that Irrfan's straight-faced dialogue delivery tries hard to keep under cover. An act we are soon getting used to. Yet, give me a always poker-faced, subtle Irrfan any time and over and over again, over a stereotypical over-the-top “top” star. The lines given to him are actually not bad, but they are overdone. A line that has been worked upon too hard loses charm.

Exactly like our lead lady's performance Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. The film opens with showing her fit, in fine form, pretty as ever with a lovely, slightly chubby face that which comes with aging gracefully and being a mommy. The hard work on both her fitness and performance show. Unfortunately, they are both distracting. She is so fit, her back so straight that even the drooping shoulders of a mother whose daughter has been kidnapped looks like a forced slouch – for effect. Her over-powering screen presencedoesn't cover up for the hard-to-lose model-like gait. As far as those bewildered, supposedly pain-stricken eyes go - no amount of shrieking over one's lungs can cover the fact that they have been artificially dampened.

Even so I am excited about her return. Her performances have rarely inspired a word other than “plastic” from me. Irrespective of the success of this film, I am glad she is back. It is symbolic because she hasn't come back to where she left off. Looks like she has left the Dhoom 2s and the Robots behind her. She has come back to roles that mean something even if they don't make for great films. She has come back to some causes, like girl-child fetocide and drug abuse, even if they aren't well-placed in the context of the story. It is a good restart.

And I would say that even if it were a film-made far worse. So starved are we for roles that mean something, more so for the lead lady.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Lots of fist fights and a murder.
  • Language: A couple of abusive words.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: No nudity. A rape scene repeated a few times.
  • Concept: A kidnapping the ransom for which is freeing a rapist-muderer.
  • General Look and Feel: Nothing out of the ordinary.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 2
  • Story: 1.5
  • Lead Actors: 2.5
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 2.5
  • Screenplay: 2.5
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Jazbaa - Movie Details

Jazbaa - Trailer

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Comments (17)

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Fan:

Strange the Bachhan senior did not convince Miss World to stop from doing a hara kiri. Statistically Hindi film audiences have almost never accepted a "real-life married" lead actress, and even worse acceptance rate for "real-life married mom" lead actress.

And I don't think that with the times the Hindi film audience have evolved on the acceptance criteria for their lead actresses.

Regardless of how well the film might be made, this is doomed.

Instead of attempting to make a comeback post-marriage and post-pregnancy, the Bachhan-bahu should have settled into another role where the audiences are less choosy (like direction, or even non-filmi roles like Mrs. Akshay Kumar). By taking on this suicidal film, the Bachhan bahu will just succeed in ensuring that both Abhishek and Aishwarya are shunned by the industry.

TimELiebe:

@Fan - somebody has to break that glass ceiling (as actress-mothers had in other parts of the world decades ago!), and who's better positioned to than Amitabh Bachchan's daughter-in-law? I'll lay you odds Rani Mukerji has similar plans once she has a baby, and wants to come back from maternity leave....

Besides, it's not as if Grandpa has any intention of letting go of the kid! ;)

::pictures Big B coming on set for a harass cop movie - wearing a baby sling with his granddaughter, and daring anybody to laugh!::

Abhinav:

Watched the trailer...doesn't seem like Irrfan has done a very good job here and Aishwarya also looked hysterical like she does in most of her acts. Director same as Kaante, Zinda, don't have any big hopes from this one :)

Fan:

@TimELiebe: I think that Rani is well positioned as (almost) the head-honcho of YRF. She might still do films, but really on her terms and exceptionally.

The only exception (in Hindi films) in recent years to this rule is Kajol. Let's see how her Christmas outing is going to fare. And in the past the only exception that jumps to mind is Madhubala; otherwise it is sadly a downhill road for married moms (dream girl Hema Malini included). This situation should change, to give enough creative space to our lead actresses - but so far Hindi films has been a highly male dominated industry.

Coming to Jazbaa itself, I find the video song doing the rounds to be extremely annoying. Also, Sanjay Gupta does not have any decent track record. And to top it, Aishwarya over acted in most of her final films before taking a maternal break - only exception being Jodha Akbar where she was sufficiently restrained. So, overall the movie seems to be doomed unless there is a strong word of mouth after the movie is out.

ANUJ:

Don't know about Aishwarya and nor do I care because imo she's an irritating over-rated actress who hams her way through. But will someone advise this brilliant showman Irfan Khan to get a little more choosy and a little less repetitive? Jazbaa seems to be a continuation from where he left off in Talvar. In fact, in the last half a decade he's been doing the same thing in every film except Paan Singh Tomar and Piku. And not surprisingly, these were 2 of his most outstanding performances in recent times.

Fan:

Just read your review. Not a single mention of Shabana Azmi!! So it means that her role is even worse than the two that you describe?

Ajay Singh:

Trailer failed to convience me atleast.

TimELiebe:

Okay, @Fan - I like Aish Rai better as an actress than you do. OTOH, I'm an American, so I might have a higher tolerance for her Beautiful Suffering Act and acting than people who've had to live though it for decades do.

As for Irrfan Khan - funny, I was having this discussion in the Comments board for The Martian! Apparently he was to play the Indian Scientist character now played by Chiewtel Ejifor (to the anger of Asian-American actors who feel underrepresented!), but dropped out due to "movie commitments in India". I wonder if this isn't the movie he dropped out of The Martian for...?

prafful:

well .. once again irfan khat at his best. Aishwarya as usual over acting. even though director tried give all the lime light to Mrs.Bacchan , Very talented ifran khan impress the audience with his acting. Good to see shabana azmi after long time.

meeta:

@Fan I don't like her as an actor much either and I think it is high time married-mommy-actors do the movies they like and let the audience take their time to accept them.

Also, keep in mind that sometimes, it is not the fact that the lady is married or a mom that comes in the way. The movie and/or performance is not to the mark.

By the way, Sri Devi did well in English Vinglish! :)

Fan:

@Meeta: I am all in favour of woman oriented (regardless of age, marital status, etc.) films. I just quoted a factual statistic, that very few of them succeed to make a comeback as lead stars. At best, as you said, they make a one-time hit like English-Vinglish or a successful comeback in a non-lead role like Juhi Chawla in recent times. It is indeed a pity for the audience as such talent goes waste.

At the same time, if you look at recent attempts of such mother-stars, I would say that their choice of comeback films were quite horrible - cases in hand Karishma, Aishwarya, Madhuri, ... It is easy for arm-chair critic like me to say that, but I do understand that A-budget producers do not take the risk of signing such star-moms for a comeback film in a lead role - as they are guided by the same factual observation that I had made. So it is a vicious circle - past records means no big producer willing to give a break - star-mum forced to work with B-grade producers/directors with the risk that the movie would most likely be an average hit at best, meaning their star rating and comeback wish suffering further.

meeta:

Yeah @Fan, here's my attempt at trying to break the circle in my small way. Appreciating that she has come back, even if I didn't like the movie or don't like her performances in general.

By the way, I did like 'Aaja Nachle' and I do like Madhuri Dixit :D

Fan:

Well we can say that Kareena Kapoor is an exception. Married and still considered as an A-star lead actress. And regularly getting offers from A-star producers.

Although, looking at hits, apart from starring in Salman blockbusters as a prop, she hasn't had any real hit on her own merit since her marriage. But at least she is going strong after marriage. Although one can argue that she did not take a hiatus after her marriage, and so is not on a "comeback". Nevertheless the myth of married lead actresses unable to get leading roles is being bucked, probably not at the speed that we would like but at least it is going in the right direction.

meeta:

@Fan, Kareena Kapoor "on her own merit" - before marriage can't think of any one other than 'Jab We Met'

Fan:

:-)

Fan:

BTW: no page started as yet for the Diwali blockbuster Prem Ratan Dhan Payo from Rajashree the kings of family oriented films?

meeta:

@Fan in the works, should be up soon :D

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