Rating                                      2/5

Directed by                            Sanjay Gupta

Produced by                          Sanjay Gupta, Aishwarya Rai, Anuradha Gupta, Nittin Keni, Akash Chawla

                                                   Sachin R. Joshi, Raina Sachin R. Joshi

Screenplay by                       Sanjay Gupta, Robin Bhatt

Starring                                  Aishwarya Rai, Irrfan Khan, Shabana Azmi

Music by                                 Sachin-Jigar, Amjad-Nadeem, Arko

Background score:              Amar Mohile

Cinematography                  Sameer Arya

Edited by                                Bunty Nagi

Production Company         White Feather Films, Viiking Media & Entertainment

Distributed by                       Essel Vision Productions

Release dates                         9 October 2015

The reason behind a remake can be disciplined into more than one intention or culpable justification. Recreating the success story at the box-office now in your favor [HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN…! tops the list] is one. Blessing the original with a new perspective to instate your radical creative expression [DEV D could be the most genre-defining example] is other.

Meanwhile, some choose to be unapologetically lazy to create anything at their own. Calculatedly, Sanjay Gupta’s JAZBAA is a lethal combination belonging to each one of the above given grounds but unintentionally it proves to be one of those lame efforts that make the original look a classic while it wasn’t. JAZBAA is nothing but the return of a ‘stuck in his own world’ filmmaker who believes more in styling their actors than in making them dive into the characters they are playing on-screen, to a great deal of depth.

Looking at the vital components in the plot, Korean thriller ‘SEVEN DAYS’ was a perfect film destined to be remade by Sanjay Gupta at any given time. Tainted characters, twisted plot and the dark world of crime to deal with; Gupta has always a ‘green’ eye for such vulnerable subject. Criminal lawyer and a single-parent Anuradha Verma [Mrs Rai Bachchan] never minds taking false cases from evidently guilty clients as only they can afford her services and not the innocent ones. Though we rarely see her best foot being put forward in the court scenes, the tag of being an advocate with 100% success record is force-feed to us very conveniently.

One day, her daughter goes missing and now the abductor wants her to take the case of a rapist and murderer [Chandan Roy Sanyal] and bring him back alive from the death ropes. Anuradha has a ticking bomb in her hands that makes her run, jump and chase to save her daughter. Suspended corrupt cop Yohaan [Irrfan] is the only helping shadow by her side.

Sanjay Gupta with Robin Bhatt doesn’t feel any shame in lifting clues and cues from its original Korean film. While the original has managed to stick on the plot as a plain crime thriller, Gupta does make an effort to make it socially relevant film by raising the burning issue of rapes in India. He makes his characters speak about it. He ends the film with stats and facts about the issue. And this was the only addition apart from the veteran Kamlesh Pandey’s verbal punches but the way Sanjay Gupta deals with it; I think it declines more on the ‘exploitation’ side.

Gupta gives you all shiny and well-styled characters that wear sunglasses even at the darkest places on earth, show off their ‘killer’ attitude through the cheesy one-liners that could easily get turned into a cheap ‘Whats App’ picture message and cry out so loud you would start feeling sorry more for your eardrums than her pain. Here, even the most insignificant characters treat you as the punching bag in their drawing room and keep throwing at you heavily philosophical lines about life, death and what not.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in her comeback shows magical sparks in her presence on screen like the way she always has in her. No matter how intense or depressing the scene is, you could never turn aside your eyes from appreciating her flawless beauty. You can count the same a negative in a performance based role like this. Irrfan plays it ultra-cool and takes away all the claps and whistles every time he talks something utter meaningless yet messy lines. Shabana Azmi is as melodramatic as she could be yet her being in the frame itself brings more credence, power and life altogether. Jackie Shroff, Atul Kulkarni, Abhimanyu Singh and Chandan Roy Sanyal are wasted.

In an interesting scene, Irrfan beats a guy when he asks for his right not to be arrested by a suspended cop. Irrfan makes it clear then and there that it is no Hollywood film but a Bollywood one where anything can happen. JAZBAA could have been a good thriller if the melodrama, styling, obsessively done color-correction and uninspiring background sound would have not shadowed the more significant aspect of the filmmaking i.e. honest storytelling. Wait till it premieres on TV and you might enjoy the latest addition in Bollywood’s ‘Khan-brigade’ with all the required swag; Irrfan!

Written By: Gaurav Rai

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