Directed by Jai Basantu Singh | Reviewed By Rohan Bhattacharya
The comedy genre has acted as a peacemaker in Bollywood for quite sometime now; it does not matter whether you are into drama, action, or thrillers, you will chuckle on a good joke, especially when they are well put. Jai Basantu Singh’s new feature, ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ brings with itself more than mere chuckles; its witty use of dialogues mixed in with a good screenwriting might suck the air out of your lungs as you laugh yourselves off your seats. Besides the obvious exaggeration, it is quite undeniable that the film is hilarious; however, if it hadn’t been for Nushrratt Bharuucha’s commendable acting, ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ might have taken a completely different route.
Like every other over-qualified Indian student, Manokamna Tripathi (Nushrratt Bharuucha) wants a job, but the closer she gets to getting one, the further the opportunity flutter away from her. However, there is always a catch to these situations: her parents are hellbent on getting her married off to the village geek; hence, it is either that, or she miraculously lands on a good job within a month and starts providing for her family! Luckily for her, a stranger (Brijendra Kala) she had met while on a bus-ride recognizes her instantaneously, and hires her services as a marketing professional in his company. Little did she know the company that had descended onto her lap from the heavens, ‘Little Umbrella,’ is in fact a brand of condoms and that is problematic, especially when you live in a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, where talking about sex is more sinful than committing murder. When things were at their lowest, Manokamna had the support of her beer-companion and childhood friend (Paritosh Tripathi), who secretly crushes on her. Along the way, she meets and falls in love with Manoranjan (Anud Singh Dhaka), and follows him joyously to the wedding ‘mandap’ as she checks off of her bucket-list of ‘manokamnas’ (desires) she had had for her future husband. Little did she know that Manoranjan had led her on to face his domineering father (Vijay Raaz) who would rather kick his son out of his own house, than see him living happily with a wife who sells condoms. Manokamna had realized her mission, and she wouldn’t back down. From a rather hilarious comedy flick, the film takes a serious turn as our protagonist tries her best to help her father-in-law see reason, and understand the importance of condoms and sex-education.
Nushrratt’s acting was the highlight of the film; the other actors did a great job, but the way the character of Manokamna was written, and how Nushrratt Bharuucha owned and carried it is truly worth mentioning. The first half of the film was hilarious: the dialogues were witty, and the screenwriting was on point. The jokes hit the mark almost every time! However, as the premise gradually took a serious turn, the quality of the jokes dwindled down as well. The film adopted a preachy tone to it: whether the audience will appreciate that or not is truly up to their preferences and their tastes. Post intermission, Bharuucha’s character became the heart and the soul of the film; her zeal was radiating off of the screen, and with her passion, she had successfully overwhelmed the audiences.
Illegal abortions are still prevalent in thousands of villages across India; women fall prey to these traps, risking their health and causing sever harm to their internal organs. Jai Basantu Singh has quite beautifully presented this concept with his masterful storytelling, and a strongly built screenplay. In a country like India where cinema influences the society more than books or lectures, a film like ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ can be used to present the importance of sex-education, and how complications can be avoided by taking simple precautionary measures. For those who are into the genres of comedy and slice of life, with a strong social message attached to the film, Jai Basantu Singh’s ‘Janhit Mein Jaari’ is made for you!
Rohan Bhattacharya is a video editor, filmmaker and writer. His film Komorebi won the second prize in ‘South Asia Japanese Language Short Film Competition,’ organized by The Japan Foundation, New Delhi and his latest film “Tsubaki” has been screened at the Tokyo Short Film Festival in Japan. His production house Sunkaku Productions makes movies in Japanese language to create a bridge of culture between India and Japan.