Film Review: Jazbaa
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Cast: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irrfan, Shabana Azmi, Jackie Shroff, Priya Banerjee and Atul Kulkarni
Rating: Four stars
It couldn’t have been a better comeback vehicle for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who not only packs a punch but redefines her career in an awe-inspiring way. In her second inning, It’s Aishwarya’s Jazbaa where she not only rises above the script but matches the super talented Irrfan Khan at every step. The film is not only slickly made but is fast paced that keeps the spectators on the edge. Jazbaa belongs to Aishwarya who marks her comeback to the silver screen after a span of five years and she hasn’t lost her charm and freshness.
The actor is simply brilliant as Anuradha Verma, one of the top notch lawyers in the city, who suddenly finds herself face-to-face with destiny when the apple of her eyes, her doting daughter Shanaya is kidnapped. She is compelled to defend a drug peddler who rapes the daughter of Garima (Shabana Azmi) and as she digs deeper into the case, it gets more murkier. Anuradha finds an ally in Yohan (Irrfan).
First things first, Jazbaa is not a film that one would call cult cinema but it’s the performances of the Aishwarya-Irrfan combo that makes the film above average. The film opens us with close up Mumbai and glorying the city in all its form and it has been extensively shot in South Mumbai and like in Bluffmaster, Life in a Metro and Bombay Velvet, it plays a significant character to the plot. The camera movements showing Mumbai celebrates independence and is an intrinsic part of the film’s background with sharp editing and stylish cinematography. Jazbaa is high on style like it is the case with Gupta’s earlier ventures and despite minuses, it provided the perfect fodder for entertainment and surprise unfolding towards the climax.
The film belongs to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who despite being pitted against supremely talented artists of the likes of Irrfan, Shabana Azmi and Atul Kulkarni, delivers a punch. She flawlessly gets into the skin of Anuradha,showcasing the angst, trauma, suffering and explodes like a volcano. Her voice modulation is perfect in court as a successful lawyer and she simply compels one to sit and watch her. The actor combines style, comfort and intensity with elan.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Aishwarya delivers an award-winning performance in a role that her fans will remember for a long time. She redefines herself in this brilliantly executed role that she plays with maturity and along with Irrfan she lifts Jazbaa to soaring height. Her fans couldn’t have asked for better comeback and it’s a treat to watch her shine. The scene where she breaks down chasing her daughter’s kidnappers one of the flick’s forte and showcases her mettle as an actor. The powerful scene leaves a deep impact on your mind. Jazbaa belongs to Aishwarya and the moment she takes control of her character, she captivates you with her screen presence and acting histrionic. She is a polished diamond. The raw intensity is simply a delight to watch.
Irrfan is the hero in Jazbaa, the cop who flouts the law and bears no shame in saying so. One couldn’t not expect terrific one liners when Irrfan is around and it seems like a cake walk for the actor. The best part about Irrfan is the intensity in his eyes and is one of a few actors that doesn’t need to speak to make his presence felt. Lines like ‘India mein rights…Yeh Bollywood hai..Toh Kya mein Singham Ban ke ghumoon or Mein Kahan Rehta hoon Yahan Intzaar Rehta hai.” Writer Kamlesh Pandey does a fine job and full justice to the dialogue baazi. Or this epic dialogue, Rishton pe bharosa aur mobile pe network na ho to log game khelne lagte hain.” Irfan one liners provokes hilarious laughter and in his own inimitable style, he lends a innocence and charm in mouthing the dialogues. Mesmerizing!
Shabana Azmi proves once again why she is one of the most powerful actors in the Hindi film industry, playing the mother betrayed by destiny and emasculated by the loss of her daughter. She is pivotal to the script of Jazbaa and delivers a captivating performance. The thespian actor packs a punch in court when she makes a powerful statement on how women are viewed in our society and how people quickly jump the guns for blaming a girl for rape because she wears a short skirt. The line may seem off repeated but Azmi lends lot of dignity and credibility to it. Simply riveting. Jackie Shroff and Atul Kulkarni act fine in their respective cameos, though better screen presence should have been given to the latter.
However, Jazbaa suffers in the first half with the script that falls out of place at times and starts losing its grip in the narrative. Fortunately, it quickly picks up pace in the second half. Another thing that bugs in Jazbaa is the overuse of colors in the shots and background as well as the fact that it does get into cliche in some parts of the movie.
Sanjay Gupta deserves credit for making Jazbaa a fast paced and edgy thriller, despite lacking in the script and the fact that it slows down towards the interval. But, as the second half picks up, there is no looking back and Gupta presents the thriller in a slick manner, keeping the audience glued to their seats. He deserves credit for extracting the best in Aishwarya and building a powerful chemistry with the latter and Irrfan. One extra star for Aishwarya’s powerful acting. The editing and cinematography are flawless and it matches Gupta’s stylish presentation. Remember Kaante, Musafir, Shoot out at Lokhandwala and Zinda! One can see the Gupta’s style and flavor.