Starring Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, and Kiara Advani in the lead, JugJugg Jeeyo was released today in theatres. Considering the cast, especially veterans Anil Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor, we had high hopes for this Dharma film. JugJugg Jeeyo had a great concept to work with, but the mediocre treatment of the story managed to dilute it.
Directed by Raj Mehta, the film is overloaded with unfunny stereotypes and the same old “shaadi is barbaadi” jokes. JugJugg Jeeyo doesn’t try hard enough to be smart, which it should have been to deal with issues as complicated as divorce and adult relationships. That doesn’t mean it should have been serious. In fact, Bollywood now needs to realise that comedy can be smart too.
JugJugg Jeeyo begins with a not-so-needed and hopefully unintended throwback to Kabir Singh. This time, however, that cringe scene when Kabir declares a woman as his property is played out by kids. And we’re supposed to find it endearing. After a very quick fast-forward, the kids in question are now unhappily married adults who want a divorce. This is when we’re supposed to start feeling bad for Kuku (Varun Dhawan), a man-child who is victimised by his wife’s professional success and unfailing attempts to cook and clean for him. We’re also expected to kinda relate to his misery as a husband who cannot earn as much or more than his wife, Naina (Kiara Advani). Since they have to go home for Kuku’s sister’s wedding, they decide to pretend to be happy and tell their parents about the impending divorce after the festivities.
When they get home, the couple is greeted by the parents, Bheem (Anil Kapoor), Geeta (Neetu Kapoor), and the bride-to-be, Ginny (Prajakta Koli). With pressure building from his wife to tell his parents about the divorce, Kuku decides to get his father drunk enough to tell him the truth. Instead, his father, Bheem, tells him about his own decision to divorce Kuku’s mother, Geeta. This triggers a ridiculous chain of events for which you should leave your brain at home.
We’re going to call it at this point. Varun Dhawan cannot handle comedy. He looks and sounds too forced in the genre. The only way to describe his performance is loud. That’s all. His character also seems half-baked which is on the writers. However, some actors manage to shine through even with mediocre writing, but Varun Dhawan does not.
Kiara Advani dutifully does her job of looking pretty and being tolerable to watch on screen. That’s probably because that is all that her character demanded of her. Naina doesn’t have much to do in JugJugg Jeeyo except to look and sound serious, manage some tears here and there, and handle one emotionally charged dialogue.
Anil Kapoor accounts for most of the entertainment factor in JugJugg Jeeyo. He’s loud, crass, and doesn’t shy away from perpetuating every single stereotype about Punjabis. But Anil Kapoor is Anil Kapoor. He will still manage to entertain even in a below-average film. That’s just what a star does.
Neetu Kapoor is a joy to watch on screen. She’s poised, subtle but not too quiet, and handles the emotional complexities of a character like Geeta with ease. However, like most of the other factors in the film, she has been let down by lazy writing that didn’t bother to give enough depth to her character. Neetu Kapoor should’ve had much more in Geeta but she still managed to shine through like the gorgeous and talented actor that she is.
Prajakta Koli, as Ginny, is perhaps the only realistic character in this film. The budding actor chose a good platform as her Bollywood debut, no doubt. But she didn’t have any chemistry with anyone else in the film. Actually, that goes for every character in JugJugg Jeeyo. Koli didn’t really stand a chance of making an impact in a film loaded with stars but she makes a good attempt and should be lauded for it.
Maniesh Paul, as Gurpreet, Kuku’s childhood friend and Naina’s brother, is just annoying to watch. He’s crass, unnecessarily loud, and mildly funny in flashes that are too few.
The film, overall, is disappointing but scrapes through as an entertainer. JugJugg Jeeyo moves at a decent pace and won’t bore you. It might make you cringe though. The film tries to be progressive and throws in a few instances and dialogues here and there. Eventually, it goes right back to Bollywood’s old ways to appeal to public sentiment. It’ll most likely do well commercially because it ticks all the boxes — the people are pretty, it has a Pinterest-y wedding, and it talks about a new concept in Bollywood cinema without taking it too far.
If you’re looking for a mindless entertainer and don’t mind the offensive stereotypes, go ahead and watch JugJugg Jeeyo. But if you’re looking for something that’ll make you think and not cringe, this is not the film for you.