Friday Film Wrap: Bollywood has ‘Jabariya Jodi’

A still from Jabariya Jodi (@SidMalhotra)

New Delhi: A big Bollywood release competes with a high-profile Tamil offering this week.

Romantic comedy Jabariya Jodi starring Sidharth Malhotra and Parineeti Chopra directed by Prashant Singh is a haphazard Bollywood take on Bihar’s forced marriages, says NDTV. Each minute of the film, one as baffling as the other, feels like a lifetime wasted. The utter lack of chemistry between the lead pair, both completely out of sorts in this milieu, aggravates matters. Jabariya Jodi takes the wrecking-ball approach to filmmaking, which entails setting up a premise and quickly proceeding to pull to pieces the very next moment to make way for another listless, formless, short-lived plot detail, which is just as doomed as everything else in the film.

Scroll calls the film inexplicably convoluted and unforgivably long. Malhotra bares his teeth a lot, and Chopra grimaces ever so often to signal her seriousness, but their characters are too wispy to leave any traces. The supporting cast, which includes Sanjay Mishra, Sheeba Chaddha and Chandan Roy Sanyal, put on their best professional faces for the course of 144 minutes. The humour is as forced as the romance, and the biggest question goes unanswered: what is the movie really trying to say?

Chicken Curry Law directed by Shekhar Sirrinn starring Natalia Janoszek, Ashutosh Rana, Nivedita Bhattacharya and Mukesh Hariawala is backed by good intentions and decent performances, says koimoi.com. It comes with a noble cause of informing about the host-guest relationship in India and manages to unravel a few good points but fails because of poor execution.

Pranaam directed by Sanjiv Jaiswal starring by Rajeev Khandelwal is unimaginative, and populated with nondescript songs, says Firstpost. The actors, though miscast, do make some sincere efforts to be convincing. But finally, the only revelation is the significance of the movie title. The protagonist’s biography, that charts his journey from an IAS officer in-the-making to an infamous don, is called Pranaam.

For the Hollywood fans, American action adventure Dora and the Lost City of Gold directed by James Bobin starring Isabela Moner, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria, and Danny Trejo comes to India this week. The film is postmodern enough to acknowledge that there’s something odd about Dora’s penchant for breaking the fourth wall, says Varietymagazine and composing spontaneous songs for any occasion. But the most endearing quality of Nicholas Stoller and Matthew Robinson’s script — not counting that they didn’t try to whitewash their Latina heroine — is the way it permits Dora to remain indefatigably upbeat no matter what the situation, whether navigating treacherous Incan temples or facing an auditorium of jeering teenage peers.

Except for some of the jargon and the interracial cast, this is a film whose sensibility and aesthetics lie squarely — in both senses of the word — in the 1950s, says The Hollywood Reporter. Imparting the air of having been highly sanitized and thoroughly rinsed, this late summer Paramount release is squeaky clean and unhip to an unusual degree, its commercial success resting all but exclusively on a built-in fan base.

Then there is Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark directed by André Øvredal starring Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows, and Lorraine Toussaint. Where Scary Stories and its sequels were simply collections of stories and urban folktales, the film adaptation takes an approach that film adaptations of books like this have tended to take. Instead of creating an anthology storybook film of a few disconnected tales, the Scary Stories movie embeds them all in a single narrative arc that overcomplicates things and is, ultimately, a distraction from what makes the movie actually fun to watch.

Tamil thriller drama Nerkonda Paarvai starring Ajith Kumar and Shraddha Sainath directed by H.Vinoth is a solid ‘no means no’ drama powered by a subdued, dignified Ajith, says Film Companion. Vinoth’s biggest accomplishment is the air of restraint. There is no attempt to amplify the volume and “mass”-ify Pink.

Telugu romantic comedy Manmadhudu 2 directed by Rahul Ravindran starring Nagarjuna Akkineni and Rakul Preet Singh is a new-age comedy that falls flat, says mirchi9.com. The problem is the uneasy blend of various styles of comedy. The deadpan, satirical, slapstick and risqué humour are all thrown in using different characters. With no cohesiveness and focus, the whole exercise looks pointless. More than anything, the problem is the derivativeness of the entire work. It is as if the writers looked at a hundred different things to fit in instead of approaching it organically through the world of the characters.

Kannada epic historical film Kurukshetra directed by Naganna starring Darshan, Ambareesh, V. Ravichandran, P. Ravishankar and Arjun Sarja is a must-watch for its gripping and interesting storyline, says telugufilmnagar.com. The movie packs in some interesting sequences and some amazing scenes which make the story a really hard one to forget.

Malayalam action film Kalki directed by Praveen Prabharam starring Tovino Thomas is a sorry show of a ‘mass entertainer’, says The Hindu. Working on a story which could have been considered fresh several decades back, the writers manage the feat of never even accidentally engaging the audience.

Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Tamil films Vinai Ariyar and

Kolaiyuthir Kaalam, Telugu action thriller Kathanam, Kannada action drama Kempegowda 2, Malayalam comedy drama Ambili, Marathi comedy thriller Ye Re Ye Re Paisa 2 and Bengali action drama Panther.

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