If I hadn’t seen Seven Days, of which Jazbaa is an official remake, maybe I would have liked this film. But unfortunately that isn’t the case. Too loud, too melodramatic and nothing new to add to the original makes this film barely passable. Sanjay Gupta, over the years has made many remakes of Asian flicks. I liked his Zinda, which somehow mellowed down the content of Oldboy for the Indian censorship and yet was able to keep the basic premise fairly engaging. But here the only saving grace for the film could have been its plot which was fairly engaging but since I knew exactly which way we were headed, it fell apart.
The story revolves around a hotshot lawyer, Anuradha (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) whose daughter is kidnapped and as a ransom, she is ordered to fight the case of a rape/murder convict who has appealed against his verdict in the high court. Anuradha is told to get him acquitted or she will never see her daughter ever again. Distraught she starts preparing for the case. Helping her is her old friend Inspector Yohan (Irrfan Khan) who also happens to be suspended. Together the duo tries to find enough evidences to raise a doubt against a verdict that seems fairly secure. There is also a MP played by Jackie Shroff who is keenly watching the case.
The film moves at a fast pace as was the case with its original. The cinematography is terrific and the editing is fantastic. Sanjay Gupta leaves no stone unturned to give the film the necessary finesse as far as the technical aspects are concerned. My only complaint with the film technically was the over use of the green tint which after a while gets irritating. The cinematography captures the somber mood of the film. The camera work in the clamped lanes and localities are exceptionally well done. The background score though jarring at many instances, works well. The high octane chase sequence in the beginning of the film makes you ask for more but unfortunately that’s all there is to it.
Jazbaa has been in news more for being Aishwarya’s comeback vehicle than for being the film that it is. That is a bad thing for any movie. But in India that seems to be working well at least for Salman Bhai films. Aishwarya tries her best to huff and puff. She screams at the top of her voice for as long as she can and in the court room sequences, she literally overpowers her competition by out-voicing them. However, her act turns out to be too melodramatic and uneven. Irrfan Khan plays a cop twice in as many weeks. While his cop in last week’s release Talvar was all about realism and grit, Yohan here is all about extremities. He keeps mouthing lines on the socio-economic status of the country and not all of it is convincing. However, his act was entertaining for me. Shabana Azmi as the murdered girl’s mother gives Aishwarya a run for her money for the position of being the most melodramatic. Ash peeps her.
The courtroom sequences in the film are a joke. Whatever little credibility the narrative conjures up is lost in the few courtroom sequences. I was not looking for realism in a Sanjay Gupta film, but they could have at least got some basics right. Criminals walk into the court with witnesses and judges allow them to speak after being brutally interrupted. The battle that should be fought with evidence is fought with shrill voices and Anuradha wins because she out-shouts the public prosecutor. The witnesses speak out dramatic verses when asked questions and the lawyers listen quietly. It’s a caricature beyond explanation. If you are able to recover from this jolt, then you have the big climax and all the revelation to deal with. Oh! I forgot there is Jackie Shroff’s high profile baddie who does his own secret works like dumping dead bodies himself.
Overall, Jazbaa fails in important junctures from which the narrative never recovers. Aishwarya tries her best to pull her weight but that is hardly enough to save this film from debacle. She looks fit but that doesn’t mean that you will show are running at the slightest behest. Also she runs poorly and the slow motion makes it look very funny. Jazbaa is a film for those who haven’t seen the original and don’t mind sitting through an exaggerated, melodramatic and severely flawed thriller which has at best an interesting story to tell. Aishwarya makes her comeback, but Irrfan makes his character count. This film can be skipped.