DUB Review

DUBReview: Jayeshbhai Jordaar — Spirited, But Not Much Else

The movie deals with the rampant issue of female foeticide and did not do well at the cinemas but is receiving major appreciation on OTT platforms. Which audience’s verdict is the right one?

Female foeticide is a historically prevalent social evil in our society, but this movie puts a humorous spin on one couple’s attempt to stand up to it. The story revolves around a typical village in Gujarat under the misogynist orthodoxal societal function, still a reality in many places across the country. The mothers are expected to bear sons and only sons, and until they do so they are forced to undergo forced abortions and other kinds of atrocities and demeaning acts. The movie goes through a weird timeline of humour (mostly at inappropriate times) and has been widely accepted as mediocre.

Jayesh’s (Ranveer Singh) father Pruthvish (Boman Irani) and mother Jasoda (Ratna Pathak Shah) are busy perpetuating the patriarchy and expressing problematic opinions. They want a grandson to carry forward the family line and don’t think even twice about aborting a female foetus (whose sex is found out illegally). Prthuvish is shown as a late entry into the league of ageing crackpots in the Khaps of western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Likewise, the family keeps the Panchayati raj of the village under their hegemonic grip. When Jayesh discovers that his wife Mudra (Shalini Pandey) is pregnant with their second daughter, he decides to run away from his family and his home. The entire planning and execution is expressed with silly jokes and humour mixed with curiosity. But as we get closer to the actual confrontation, the real narrative becomes clear

(P.S: By this point you might feel like you’re watching snippets of women empowerment interspersed with outdated jokes and overdone concepts.)

Some powerful moments of resistance to the deeply patriarchal setting of the film stand out and offer a breath of fresh air. Jayesh’s sister is shown hitting her violent husband while he is unconscious as revenge and Jayesh is shown talking about slicing off his genitals to attempt to end his father’s wish of giving a son to the family. However, the director (Divyang Thakkar) gets carried away when he tries to relate Gujarat’s foeticide issues to Haryana’s context. The film stretches concepts at bits, the crucial pappi (kiss) scene where Jayesh emphasises the importance of seeing women as more than just womb is a prevalent example.

Ranveer Singh’s performance is one of the things which redeems this rather rocky story. Jayesh’s character is surprisingly yet believably heroic in his resistance to the deeply entrenched norms and rules of his society. Despite having a strong message of standing up for what is right, the movie’s other flaws have made certain it won’t be a roaring success. On OTT platforms, though, it would certainly be worth a weekend watch.

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Featured Image Credits: Bollywood Hungama

Harshaa Kawatra
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