‘Jazbaa’: Lacks passion

Urdu film titles, one thought, had served their utility and vanished along with the Urdu script in film scrolls. Jazbaa may need to be explained to many though they may figure out the meaning roughly, especially today’s generation. A remake of a Korean film, Seven Days, this one is a whodunit that hurriedly goes around its purpose, introducing new characters randomly, till it is time to spring the who of whodunit. That will come as a surprise to many if one is patient enough till that stage.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, returning to films after a five year hiatus, is a lawyer who is reputed for never having lost a case. She can work miracles with her logic and save the accused from certain death sentences. She does not care how big a criminal is as long as she wins and as long as the criminal can afford her charges. So the poor soul is fated to save only high-profile criminals.

Aishwarya has got a criminal acquitted of a ghastly murder but her glee is short-lived. Her daughter, Sara Arjun, has been kidnapped from under her eyes. There is no ransom demand. Instead, the deal is that she defend a criminal, Chandan Roy  Sanyal, certain to be sentenced to death for rape and murder of a girl just out of her teens, Priya Banerjee, who is the daughter of Shabana Azmi, a professor.

Aishwarya has to accept the deal. She has just four days until the convict’s next hearing is due. When she accepts the case, it surprises a lot of people.

Irrfan Khan is a friend of Aishwarya since college days. He secretly loved her but never managed to get it through to her. He is a super cop; all movies have them. He is charged with corruption and is awaiting suspension. His seniors would let him off the hook for Rs 1.5 crore. But, suspended cops are preferred in film stories. They have the freedom to pursue personal adventures, especially at a time when the cop’s damsel in distress needs him.

While Aishwarya does not initially confide in Irrfan about her daughter, he catches on eventually. Both join forces as Irrfan makes it a habit to spring up wherever and whenever Aishwarya is in trouble. The film keeps serving up some red herrings in Jackie Shroff, who is a politician (they make easy negative stereotypes in films), his drug addict son, and his henchman until, after about 100 minutes of runtime, the dots start joining themselves. Voices from nowhere start talking into Irrfan’s cell phone giving him clues and directions leading him to the culprits as well as the kidnapped girl.

The jigsaw pieces have started self-assembling. So much for an ace lawyer’s logic and a super cop’s detection skills. The case solves itself. While the climax justifies the appointment of the ace lawyer Aishwarya to save a rape-murder convict, nothing justifies all that meandering about for almost two hours with content that is not relevant.

The writer-director team have not bothered to build any sort of bond between Aishwarya and her daughter, a mandatory requirement for the Indian audience. The situation is just thrown at you that here is this great lawyer whose daughter has been kidnapped. Bringing in new characters on the scene without introduction or ties hardly helps.

Director Sanjay Gupta loves to fill his screens with scenic visual and towards this end, cinematographer Sameer Arya lives up to his expectation. But, it is the adaptation of the Korean film to Hindi and efforts made to make it palatable for the local audience that spoils the show. Songs, three in all, are immaterial to the film.

Irrfan has some good lines but, otherwise, the dialogue is mundane. For a lawyer of high standing, even Aishwarya’s court arguments don’t carry an impact as they should. Editing could have avoided repeat scenes. Background score is over the tolerable decibel level.

Irrfan has created a fan following of his own because of which there is a market for him. But, three films between May and October,Piku, Talvar and now Jazbaa, shows his limitations. In all his films, he is Irrfan, not the character he plays. Aishwarya overacts all the way. Shabana is a veteran but has little scope here; Jackie has none at all.

Jazbaa has failed to rouse much curiosity in the moviegoer due to which the opening response is below par. The word of mouth not being in favour, the film’s box office prospects are poor.

Producers: Sanjay Gupta, Nitin Keni

Director: Sanjay Gupta

Cast: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Shabana Azmi, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Jackie Shroff, Atul Kulkarni, Siddhanth Kapoor, Priya Banerjee, Sara Arjun

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