Raj Mehta’s Jugg Jugg Jeeyo will probably reverse the recent lull at the box office. No matter what you assume about the film, it mostly manages to dismantle that. For most parts, the comedy blends flawlessly with the drama that’s at the core of the Anil Kapoor and Neetu Singh-starrer. What helps the cause is the surprisingly tight editing and runtime of two hours.
The film seems to be an upgrade of Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do (2015). This has lesser money, no yachts, and Anil Kapoor is probably more relatable. It also shows how the balance is tipped between men and women in a marriage.
Naina and Kuckoo, played by Kiara Advani and Varun Dhawan, are childhood sweethearts who have a dreamy and mildly cringy love story, followed by a fairytale wedding. But as fate would have it, they fall out of love barely five years into marriage. Bhim Saini, Kuckoo’s father (Anil Kapoor) is in love with ‘Meera Ma’am’ (Tisca Chopra). His wife, Geeta (Neetu Kapoor), is a typical good wife, whose world revolves around her husband, children and kirtan.
The family comes together on the eve of Ginny’s wedding—Kuckoo’s sister, played by Instagram star and budding actor Prajakta Koli. She is marrying for stability instead of love, and looks up to her parents and brother’s marriages. The drama that follows forms the crux of the story.
Exploring flawed relationships
Jugg Jugg Jeeyo is less about beginnings and more about ‘Medias res’—a narrative that starts in the middle of a story. As desis, we are all well versed in beginnings and happy endings, but absolutely clueless about ending relationships that have run their course or are stuck.
All the relationships we grow up watching define perfection. After all, our parents, siblings and their partners seem to have everything figured out—except they don’t, and Jugg Jugg Jeeyo does a beautiful job of bringing that conflict to fore. It shows the problem with putting parents on a pedestal. Add patriarchy, and men will do no wrong, because the wives exist to forgive and the men to err.
“Ek bar shaadi ho jaegi, toh sab theek ho jaega (once you get married, all will be good)” is a piece of ‘gyaan’ given across every culture and religion in India.
Jugg Jugg Jeeyo boasts of a stellar cast
Anil Kapoor revives his role as the slimy patriarch from Dil Dhadakne Do, except he is even better here. Kapoor is a constant revelation with every movie he does.
Varun Dhawan is commendable as the confused manchild, and doesn’t overdo it. His character takes time to show all his shades, but honestly, it’s worth the wait. He plays a man steeped in patriarchal values but also loves a modern wife. It’s the same-old story of how we have taught women to push their limits while no one teaches men how to co-exist with their wives and their contemporary tastes and choices.
Kiara Advani does her part well, and continues to maintain her upward streak post Vishnuvardhan’s Shershah (2021). Neetu Kapoor is at her finest as the traditional wife, and one definitely wishes she did more films.
Balancing the act
What is often tricky while using comedy to discuss tense topics is that it can go very wrong. In moments, Jugg Jugg Jeeyo veers slightly off course, but is mostly a stable ride.
The credit goes to dialogue writer Rishabh Sharma and the actors, who manage to display a myriad of emotions aptly. From “Dabake rakhna achhi baat nai hai (it’s not good to suppress)” to the comic gestures and comments that free flow from Manish Paul, who plays Naina’s brother, the dialogues are on point.
The emotional, dramatic moments are fine-tuned, be it the argument between Naina and Kuckoo post-interval to when Neetu Kapoor offers some solid advice to her daughter-in-law.
The song, dance and wedding sequences are choreographed in typical Karan Johar fashion, with some of the drama derived from his not-so-successful venture, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna. But Jugg Jugg Jeeyo is lighter, and more palatable for the audience that had rejected KANK because it was too raw.
You wait for the ball to drop but thankfully it doesn’t. Even when one slips, it gets back up, and the ending doesn’t feel wholly unsatisfactory. After all, desis are suckers for happy endings. So, it gives a consolation prize to everyone. Does Jugg Jugg Jeeyo pass? yes. With flying colours? no.
(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)
Source: The Print