Kolamaavu Kokila may not be Nelson’s best film (that credit currently resides with Doctor), but it showcased the director’s idiosyncratic sense of humor. You saw Nelson pushing the boundaries of dark humor, which made Kolamaavu Kokila unique and fresh. It didn’t really need a remake, but apparently, the Hindi film industry is suffering from a crisis of imagination. For “inspiration,” they turn towards the South industry and recycle their material. This is what director Siddharth Sen and writer Pankaj Matta do to make their new film Goodluck Jerry. They take Kolamaavu Kokila and tarnish it. During the comic book-type cartoonish opening credits, you show some hope and think Sen and Matta would reimagine the source instead of copying and pasting it from one place to another. However, Goodluck Jerry soon descends into the echelons of dreadful adaptations.
The colors pop out of each and every frame, and yet the film offers a dull experience. It is simply not inventive or funny, for that matter. The movie kills Jerry’s (Janhvi Kapoor) father and inserts a neighbor as her mother’s (Mita Vashisht) love interest. Why? So that all the three women – Jerry, her mother, and her sister – get a boy chasing after them. In an amateurishly staged “comic” scene, the three boys enter Jerry’s house and lay claim to their respective women. Whenever Goodluck Jerry attempts to take a different route from its source material, it ends up in failure. Take the scene where Jerry is forced to retrieve a drug for the gang. Sen spends time establishing the dirtiness of a men’s toilet by making Jerry vomit and then having her cover her face. So when the drug falls inside the toilet seat, you recoil in disgust. But this moment leads to nowhere. In the next scene, Jerry simply takes out her tiffin box and returns the drugs. Why waste time inside a dirty toilet when you could have just shown your character entering and exiting the washroom? Why throw the drug inside the toilet seat when you are not going to have a payoff for this particular moment?
Take another scene where Jerry’s mother pretends to be sick for the transportation of 100 kilos of cocaine. While they are traveling, the movie inserts a song and a dance sequence. Even though the latter part happens inside someone’s mind, you wonder why this awful decision was taken, as it only pulls you out of the narrative with its jarring placement. The climax is riddled with bullets, amidst which Jerry and her team hide and run away from criminals. Oh yes, there is also a crippled man moving on a cart. Sen is unable to handle this chaos. The scene lacks choreography, making it an indecipherable mess. Perhaps, if you want to examine how unremarkable and vanilla Goodluck Jerry is compared to Kolamaavu Kokila, consider the scene where a man tries to sexually assault Jerry. In Nelson’s film, this moment was turned into a dark joke and a bloodbath as, one by one, men entered a room hoping to have sex with Kokila but instead got killed by the family members. Sen, though, is a shy director. He does not commit to dark humor and neither displays any bloodbath. As a filmmaker, he can do whatever he wants. However, what he does shows a lack of creativity and giddiness. As the three women hit the man, the police break into the room, and the scene ends. I sat up when the characters silently, using gestures, introduced themselves to a distributor. But this idea is put inside a scene that overstays its welcome.
Sen removes dark from dark humor, washes off Nelson’s fingerprints, and recreates a film that comes across as ordinary and incompetent. Even Deepak Dobriyal fails to make you smile while talking to a wall. Those who have watched Kolamaavu Kokila should avoid Goodluck Jerry, and those who have watched Goodluck Jerry should go and see Kolamaavu Kokila.