Tuesday, August 13, 2019


Release date:
August 9, 2019
Prashant Singh

Parineeti Chopra, Sidharth Malhotra, Jaaved Jaaferi, Sheeba Chadha, Aparshakti Khurana, Sanjay Mishra, Neeraj Sood, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Sharad Kapoor

The road to cinematic hell is paved with concepts that must have sounded good on paper. A handsome young man who abducts grooms for a living falls in love with an irrepressible young woman. Those who know Bihar well will be familiar with Abhay Singh's trade: his clients are the families of unmarried women who cannot afford the dowry being demanded by potential grooms, and therefore get eligible men kidnapped and forcibly married to their daughters. Babli Yadav's father is anxious to see her married, but her reputation for wildness has ruined her prospects. She has clarity about her feelings for Abhay but he is all mixed up in the head because of his parents' failed marriage.

This was material that an efficient, talented team may possibly have expanded into something worthwhile. Instead, writer Sanjeev K. Jha's imagination appears to have gone on vacation after a while and director Prashant Singh has such a weak hold on the reins that what we get in Jabariya Jodi are a series of contrived twists and turns trying hard to be surprising, a bunch of characters with zero depth, and a lead couple whose convoluted journey to their fate even they seem disinterested in.

Others who lost interest in the project while it was on include the half dozen or so musicians involved who have churned out the most generic soundtrack you could imagine. Macchardani – composed by Vishal Mishra, with lyrics by Raj Shekhar, sung by Mishra and Jyotica Tangri – is the only song worth remembering.

If you really want to know about the business of groom-napping in Bihar, read news reports. Jabariya Jodi is too boring and shallow to be taken seriously as a source of information.

Parineeti Chopra and Sidharth Malhotra play Babli and Abhay, who seem to forget their Bihari accents at some point. Can’t blame them. Maybe they were distracted by the really bad lines trying to sound smart scattered throughout the film. I was distracted too, but I think there was one assigned to his Daddy, a goonda and aspiring politician played by Jaaved Jaaferi, which went something like this: Tum bahu (daughter in law) ka soch rahey hai, hum bahumat (electoral majority) ka soch rahey hai.

At first it is not all bad. Jabariya Jodi has its moments of humour early on. And how can one not enjoy just gazing at the sinfully handsome Sidharth Malhotra? But after Abhay abducts a lot of people, then Babli abducts him, then Abhay abducts her, and they all head off on a road to nowhere (there are no spoilers here, the trailer has revealed all this already) it was a struggle to stay awake.

There are some scenes aspiring to be intellectual and emotionally profound along the way, scenes in which he discusses his fear that he may turn out to be a jerk like his father and is therefore afraid to hook up with a woman he genuinely loves. Maybe there was something there worth exploring, but this team is clearly not equipped for the job.

Fine supporting artistes like Sheeba Chadha, Aparshakti Khurana, Sanjay Mishra and Chandan Roy Sanyal are criminally frittered away in Jabariya Jodi. As for the leads, it is hard not to feel sad about their wasted potential.

Parineeti Chopra had shown great spark in her debut film Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl (2011), but has since then seemed more invested in publicising her impressive weight loss than picking solid scripts. There is only so far that your bright diamond-like eyes can take you, Ms.

Malhotra deserves better but either does not have the right instincts for scripts or is just not getting good offers. Either way, the hottie from Student of the Year and Ek Villain, he whose eyes can by turns be pools of pain, longing and mischief, he who gave so much to the lovely Kapoor & Sons and Ittefaq, is too good for the bland fare that has dominated his filmography since 2012. Jabariya Jodi makes the worst of his films so far look worthy of National Awards though. For one, it has the depth of a teaspoon. More important, it is dull dull dull.

Rating (out of five stars): 1/2

CBFC Rating (India):
UA (bookmyshow)
Running time:
144 minutes (bookmyshow)

This review has also been published on Firstpost:

Visuals courtesy: Spice PR

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