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Jugjugg Jeeyo: A Loud, Slightly Dim, Copycat Cousin of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna from Patiala

The film has been written by four men who seem to care about women. But they are blind to their own sexism.

Suparna Sharma Jun 24, 2022

Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani in the poster for 'Jugjugg Jeeyo'

Jugjugg Jeeyo

Cast: Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani, Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Tisca Chopra, Prajakta Koli, Manish Paul

Direction: Raj Mehta

Rating: **

Playing in theatres

Five men came together to write and direct Jugjugg Jeeyo, a film about marriages, relationships, aspirations and how to negotiate them. They think it is feminist and progressive. It’s not. 

Jugjugg Jeeyo is confused, convoluted, mostly sexist and without an original thought.

For most part the film is insipid and vapid because it is made up of scenes, characters, lines, even drapes and lehenga-cholis that we have seen before in those shaadi and shaadi-ke-baad-barbaadi type of films. It’s almost as if Bollywood’s five Punjabi wedding films met for a kitty party and came up with Jugjugg Jeeyo. The film’s spirit is from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, it dances like Humpty and Badrinath ki Dulhania, and the rest is a tacky mix from here and there.  

Jugjugg Jiyo is loud, jarring and extra in places where it should have had a light touch, and in places where it should have stayed longer, it is brief and quick to exit. The film is either being very melodramatic or it is cracking jokes that are embarrassingly bad and misogynistic. 

Jugjugg Jiyo, in fact, humiliates women and makes them cry a lot, before allowing them some dignified moments. It is quite dim and dull and yet, towards the end, it begins to work.

That’s because Jugjugg Jeeyo’s intent is not bad, its execution is. And because inside all of its nonsense and confusion sit three powerful scenes. One belongs to Kiara Advani and two to Neetu Singh. These two women give the film a heart and save it despite the best efforts of the men to bore us to death.

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Jugjugg Jeeyo opens in Patiala, in 1998, in a co-ed school where Kukoo Saini, a Class 5 boy, loves his classmate Nainaa. He pursues her sweetly and relentlessly till they grow up and become of marriageable age. 

So Kukoo (Varun Dhawan) becomes friends with Nainaa’s brother, insinuates himself into her parivaar and then writes a marriage proposal on his torso that hovers precariously close to his crotch area. 

Cut to five years later, to icy cold Canada. It’s a blue-grey sad world where Nainaa (Kiara Advani) has a high-flying corporate job while Kukoo is a bouncer at a nightclub.

His job sucks and he resents her success. She resents him for not appreciating her achievements. Mostly they live inside their own heads, and when they talk, they are crotchety.

Both want a divorce, but since Kukoo’s sister is getting married, they decide to participate in the wedding as a happy couple, and share their plans with their parivaars after she’s in her sasural

But all their plans come undone as they encounter a bigger problem in Patiala that involves Kukoo’s daddy Bheem (Anil Kapoor), mummy Geeta (Neetu Kapoor) and Kukoo’s maths teacher. 

Producedby Karan Johar & Co, Jugjugg Jeeyo is a B-grade version of Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna set in Patiala. Though obviously without KANK’s star-power, glamour, gravitas, crackling scenes and Shah Rukh Khan, Jugjugg Jeeyo has somewhat similar shaadi problems. And like its muse, it celebrates weddings and treats marriages as sacrosanct, but also acknowledges that sometimes it’s okay to divorce.

The film’s story, screenplay and dialogue have been written by four men who seem to care about women. But they are blind to their own sexism. They make the women suffer a lot before giving them some power. However, when the gents log who have hurt and wronged the women decide to make peace, the film smiles and hugs them.

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For a fairly long time, even when the film is in a shaadi-wala ghar in Patiala and there’s a lot of decking up, dancing and drinking, Jugjugg Jeeyo seems to be sulking. Funny man Manish Paul, who plays Nainaa’s slightly stupid brother Gurpreet, has to keep making appearances to inject some life into the proceedings.

Manish Paul’s silly jokes and garish clothes irritate, but he also livens up the film. 

Anil Kapoor, who is always good, seems completely lost here. Neetu Kapoor, on the other hand, is excellent. Despite the fact that her face looks distractingly smooth, she has a warm presence and salvages the film with a power-packed scene. 

Kiara Advani is an intelligent, confident and precise actress. She’s also quite lovely, spunky and plays her part here with honesty, ease and poise. 

Varun Dhawan, however, does what he always does – overacting. 

His performances remind me of those round dart boards with red and black circles. Good actors aim for and are able to hit the small bull’s eye and operate in that space. Varun Dhawan mostly doesn’t aim for that. He’s happy to prance around it, in the red and black circles outside it. Sometimes, in some movies and some scenes, he comes close to the boundary of the bull’s eye and you feel he’ll finally hit it. But he always bounces back away from it, and continues overacting.

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