Movie Reviews

Jia Aur Jia Movie Review: Old fashioned But Effective!

Starring: Richa Chaddha, Kalki Koechlin, Arslan Goni

Directed by:  Howard Rosemeyer

Rating:***(3 stars)

Jia Aur Jia Movie Review: Why should boys have all the  fun?Just the sheer pleasure of watching two of our feistiest actresses in a road movie set in Sweden  is  enough  of a kickback to sail through what is at  best a girl-bonding  flick with plenty of perk and  pizzazz, thanks to the crackling and hissing chemistry between  the two lead actresses.

The basic premise  is promising. Two very dissimilar girls share the same name and nothing else. Kalki is  outgoing, loud, gregarious and   bindaas.  Richa is quiet,withdrawn and  repressed.One wants to live every moment. The  other wants  her life to end the sooner the better.

Though the aggression between them  is overdone,their initial bickering is  well scripted and  gives away some of what the characters are holding back. The striking visuals  help anchor the two protagonists’ road journey. Very often the  film looks like  a pretext for  promoting Swedish tourism. But then  debutantdirector Howard Rosemyer has some surprises for the second-half when the narrative sobers down to a treacly trickle of tears.

Despite  its manipulative mould of getting our attention—if one  of  the protagonists  is dying and the other one just wants  to  die then the audience is bound to get concerned—the  characters move us into believing in their grief and spurts of joy.

It’s hard to imagine  the  film working without the Jias. Richa Chaddha and Kalki Koechlin sneak a seductive synergy  into  the proceedings. They know they are playing ‘Sober’ and ‘Bindaas’ and they bring their most  cherished acting chops into the picture.You will be thoroughly regaled by the two actresses , specially in the way they reverse gender biases.

Kalki openly lusts after Swedish men  on  the streets, the way a single Indian male  would if he saw firangi women in a foreign town. The two  girl sing raunchy songs, swig beer and swing together through  some  madcap adventures which don’t always  make sense.

A  third interesting character played by Kashmiri actor  Arslan Goni adds  a bit more glint to this  curiously quaint yet feisty and sexy road film which adds value to its zany touristic good-times-in-distant-lands theme with a  sobering message on why life needs to be valued beyond the calamities that  are bestowed on us.

Watch out for the sequence in  a hospital bed where Kalki talks about her future and why she can’t have it.

See the  film for the  Kalki-Richa jugal-bonding and yes  for the way  the film uses the evergreen Shankar-Jiakishan/Lata Mangeshkar/Mohd Rafi song Jiya ohjiya kuch bol do to reiterate life’s most valuable lessons.

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