(2015) JAZBAA Reviews
Mid Day Review
This movie is touted as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s comeback vehicle and she’s got a meaty role to justify it. In an age-appropriate role, Aishwarya plays a successful lawyer, Anuradha Varma, who’s also a single mother to her daughter Sanaaya (Sara Arjun
Anuradha feels no guilt fighting a case for criminals, as long as they can ‘afford’ her. But, soon enough, she gets caught in a trap where she’s forced to defend a rapist and murderer because that is the ransom for freeing her abducted daughter. Tainted cop (Yohan) is her best friend and secret admirer, who, eventually, becomes her ally in her fight to get her daughter back. Hyper active, ambitious Anuradha and the cool headed, melancholic Yohan make for an interesting pair. The good thing is that the two lead protagonists are not the epitome of virtue; they are true-to-life, grey characters, with their own issues and their own justifications.
Director Sanjay Gupta already has half the battle won, as the story inspired by Korean film ‘Seven Days’ is fast paced and guaranteed to keep you hooked for most part.
The two-hour duration doesn’t let you linger too much, except for once or twice when the otherwise foolproof screenplay goes limp, particularly the scene when Anuradha spots her kidnapped daughter and goes all out with her emotional outburst under a bridge for what seemed like eternity. Otherwise, Sanjay Gupta manages to keep the proceedings on a tight leash, not allowing our attention waver for too long. Even as you anxiously follow Aishwarya’s tense four days in which she has to get the rapist, Miyaaz Shaikh (Chandan Roy Sanyal) out of prison that he’s ensconced in, it is Irrfan who captures your heart and imagination. This fantastic actor is helped by some deadly punchlines dotted with wry humour and at times, a fine poetic touch (dialogues by Robin Bhatt and Kamlesh Pandey) lights up the screen and keeps you delighted, even guffawing at some points.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan perfectly looks the part and even does a fairly decent job, barring certain emotional scenes where she clearly goes over the top. Sanyal’s character is caricaturish. Otherwise a good actor, he seemed to be struggling to find a solid footing. Shabana Azmi, who plays the mother of a rape victim, is effortless and adds value to the film.
If only Sanjay Gupta had gone a little easy on the unnecessary and intrusive melodrama. Even then, it’s a good one time watch for sure.
Director Sanjay Gupta has successfully adapted foreign films in the past, and he has done it again. Jazbaa, a remake of Korean film Seven Days, gives wings to his imagination and he dreams the Maximum City in saturated colours. Sometimes it makes you feel caged inside a video game, but mostly it reminds the audience of Gupta’s earlier films where wearing shades even in the darkest of the places was an integral part of the actor’s swag. Leather jackets, black clothes, sunglasses and screeching tyres are our tools to look ‘international’ and Jazbaa has these things in abundance.
The film begins when a top-notch lawyer Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) goes to compete in a parent-child race in her daughter Shanaya’s (Sara Arjun) school. Very soon, Anuradha finds out that Shanaya has been kidnapped because somebody wants her to fight a rape case and ensure that the prime accused Miyaaz (Chandan Roy Sanyal) goes scot-free. Morally ambiguous cop Yohan (Irrfan) is Anuradha’s ally in the ensuing pursuit, but they have not yet estimated the might of their opponent. Who wins the court battle and the cat-and-mouse game in general forms the rest of the story.
Aishwarya Rai plays Anuradha Verma in Jazbaa. (YouTube)
The moment Sameer Arya’s amazing long shots of the Queen’s Necklace open the film, you understand the size of the canvas on which Jazbaa has been planned. Recently, Bombay Velvet showed Mumbai in all its glory, and Jazbaa has upped the ante. The city plays the perfect foil to a story that celebrates the independence and individuality of its characters. It’s just that this makes them looking down the barrel. These characters are unique, but they’re also unexpectedly vulnerable.
Watch: Aishwarya, Irrfan make Jazbaa a good thriller
When we see Anuradha Verma working out on the sea shore, we get the glimpse of a strong woman. Soon, we are introduced to her world of rapists, murderers and hardcore criminals, and then the idea of her weak position among the wolves creeps inside our minds. However, she is sharp-tongued and knows how to counter the sinister males around, but this could just well be a disguise. Beneath her tough exterior lies a doting single mother who is still not at peace with the outside world. Interestingly, this doesn’t stop her from taking false cases and getting some hardened criminals acquitted. The potential of this role makes Advocate Verma a good choice for Rai’s comeback to screen after five years (Guzaarish, 2010).
On the other hand, Irrfan as a tough-talking cop tries every bit to present himself as the quintessential Bollywood hero who has a punch-line for every occasion. He comes on the screen with, ‘Toh kya Singham ban ke ghumoon,’ on being questioned about his Amitabh Bachchan looks. He talks to himself in the mirror like an eccentric guy, and describes his home as, ‘Main kahan rehta hoon, yahan intzar rehta hai.’ At one point, he also says, ‘Hollywood ki filmein zyada dekhta hai kya, ye Bollywood hai.’ His idea of a Mumbai inspector is equivalent to those supercops who know how to break every barricade set up by the wrong-doers. His great acting prowess saves him from looking like Ethan Hunt walking on the Mumbai roads. Otherwise his characterisation has been done with sole purpose in mind: Let’s make Yohan the new Dabangg. Still, Irrfan is the most entertaining thing about Jazbaa which has a somewhat confusing title.
Irrfan is at his best in the song ‘Jane tere shehar ka kya irrada hai’. The actor is absolutely matchless here, and without having to spout any dialogue. The point I am trying to make here is that ‘do we really need so many punch-lines to drive home the point?
Arya’s hand-held camera, in collaboration with Gupta’s sleek planning of courtroom scenes, gives the viewers the most poignant scenes of Jazbaa. It’s also a battle between Garima (Shabana Azmi) and Anuradha Verma and it’s difficult to predict the winner.
The most striking thing about Gupta’s film is the over-dramatization of scenes which stops the viewers from getting involved in the film. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well paced thriller, but primary characters’ penchant for invoking whistles dilutes the thrill to some extent.
Jazbaa is a film which thrives on style and Gupta knows how to present a thriller. Aishwarya Rai and Irrfan will take you to a new territory and then keep you there for most of its 130-minute duration. Jazbaa is a good watch this weekend.
Glam Sham Review
Inside a mother beats a heart so fierce, that she will go all out to ensure the safety of her daughter; even if she has to turn black into white. This is exactly what Sanjay Gupta’s JAZBAA (a remake of the Korean film Seven Days) is. JAZBAA puts mother in the forefront as she breaks all rules to see the safety of her only child… and seek revenge.
Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai) is a criminal lawyer who wins all cases. There’s no penetrating her defence, even in an ‘open and shut’ case. Her daughter is kidnapped and the person on the other end of the line wants the convicted criminal in a case of rape and murder to be set free. He should not be hanged or jailed. She has just seven days to file the appeal.
Why would someone want a criminal, who is convicted with all odds stacked against him, set free? After all we are talking about a brutal rape and murder here. Who are the people behind this? And why would they want their man out?
Anuradha’s every move is stalked and she is forced to shrug off the police who are trying to help her out in getting her daughter back. Even her best friend and suspended police officer Yohan (Irrfan Khan) is kept in the dark about the kidnapping.
However, when Yohann learns the truth, he works parallelly to solve the case. The case, as it progresses, does not seem like a simple open and shut case. There’s more muck that flows out as the court proceedings get going. The turn in the end is truly baffling. This is a whodunit that does not allow you to guess but wants you to wait till the end for the ‘suspect’ to reveal self!
Gupta establishes the credentials of Anuradha as a single mother with a tough exterior managing home and career within the first few frames. He also establishes Yohan’s character brilliantly. This is slick. There is an underlying chemistry between Yohan and Anuradha which Gupta executes cleverly. It snowballs in the end when the two meet for a final scene.
Irrfan outshines in JAZBAA playing the crack cop with a soft heart for Anuradha and her daughter. He delivers his one-liners stylishly and also carries off his swagger to a nicety. It would have been so easy for him to carry off the role as the CDI investigating officer from last week’s TALVAR to JAZBAA. He does not. There is a distinct deviation from the two characters although they go after the same element-truth. He is truly top class here, stylish and full of power. His last dialogue at the end of the film is sure to bring in the ceetis. As he lets Anuradha go away (meeting her after a long time), his friend asks him: ”Aaaj bhi jaane diya?” to which he replies: ”Yeh to mohabbat hai, isiliye jaane diya. Zid hoti to baahon mein hoti.”
Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan coming on screen after GUZAARISH makes a strong statement with her impeccable performance. She balances well the role of a tough lawyer and a mother. It is she and Irrfan Khan who move the story forward. Their intensity catches you off guard and their underlying love nudges at your heart.
The suspense is taut as Gupta keeps oscillating from the courtroom to the crime scene to establish the motives and alibis of the different characters. What is jarring though is Jackie Shroff’s character as a powerful politician. That aspect is a weak link in this whodunit.
Overall, JAZBAA is a well-made film true to its genre. It has a message and it has a motive!
Jazbaa Review Rating :
Times of India Review
CRITIC’S RATING: 3.5/5
AVG READERS’ RATING: 3.4/5
AISHWARYA EVOKES JUST THE RIGHT JAZBAA IN HER COMEBACK FILM
Story: Anuradha Varma (Aishwarya), a reputed criminal lawyer, agrees to defend a convicted felon to save her missing daughter. What follows is a moral and social dilemma between the hardened lawyer and the hapless mother.
Review: Aishwarya goes for the jugular in this crime thriller. Inspired by the South Korean thriller Seven Days, Jazbaa revolves around a divorced lawyer, who dotes on her pre-teen daughter. With a 100 per cent success track record, she knows how to get any criminal ‘justice’. However, her world crumbles when her daughter goes missing. The kidnapper makes it clear that he is not interested in money. Rather, he tells her that the only way she will ever see her child again is to free a felon (Chandan) who faces rape and murder charges.
Enters Inspector Yohan(Irrfan), a decorated but suspended police officer, whose heart beats for this lady-lawyer. He accompanies her on her mission to ferret out missed clues and check out alibis.
Together, they meet the young murdered victim’s mother (Shabana Azmi). They befriend her to learn more about her daughter’s rape and brutilisation. As she fills them in with details of the gruesome act, Ash is tormented that she is actually fighting to free an animal! However, her maternal instincts overpower all sense of right and wrong. Into this mayhem comes a politician (Jackie Shroff), who is hiding a drug-addict son (Siddhant Kapoor). Fingers now point in yet another direction. As Ash attempts to piece the jigsaw puzzle together, the film takes some sharp curves and ends in a nail-biting climax.
Gupta, known to be sounder with technique than story-telling (many of his films have been foreign inspirations), has got it right this time.
Jazbaa’s narrative has pace and power. From screeching car sequences to emotionally-charged showdowns between his accomplished lead cast; the film throbs. Which is not to say that there are no flaws. The green hue overshadows Mumbai’s skyline. Aishwarya is rusty at the start but eventually takes charge of the dual aspects of her character. Once in the groove, her eyes breathe fire. Irrfan breezes past with clap-trap Kamlesh Pandey dialogues, such as –Mohabbat hai is liye jaane de raha hoon, zidd hoti toh baahon mein hoti. Shabana is flawless. Aishwarya has made a judicious screen choice after that five-year hiatus!