Female foeticide and gender disparity is not an unknown topic to us. At some point in our lives we all have read, seen or even faced it personally in our family or locality. Though a lot has changed with time, there’s still a section of society who has the preference and obsession for male children. Debutant director Divyang Thakkar’s “Jayeshbhai Jordaar” starring Ranveer Singh revolves around a similar topic.
As revealed in the trailer, “Jayeshbhai Jordaar” is a story about a timid man Jayesh who dares to go against his father and society for his pregnant wife and daughter. The story is set in a village in Gujarat whose sarpanch is Jayesh’s misogynist father (played by Boman Irani), who anyhow and everyhow finds a way to blame women for every mishaps. He has a constant demand for a male child from his son, because according to him- ‘ladka hi vansh ko aage badhata hai’. The man has no understanding of biology and continuously blames his daughter-in-law Mudra (played by Shalini Pandey) for not giving him ‘waaris’.
Jayesh and Mudra have a nine year old daughter Siddhi (played by Jia Vaidya) and since then five of her pregnancies have been aborted in a desire for a male child. Mudra is pregnant for the sixth time and again with a daughter which was checked illegally through sex determination test. And this is when Jayeshbhai musters the much needed courage and runs away with his wife and daughter which is followed by a chase from his father. Will he be able to change his father’s mindset or they’ll be caught and lose their another child as well? This forms the thread that drives the plot of the film forward, but unfortunately it’s all rendered too predictable due to the weak screenplay.
Despite revolving around such a serious and sensitive topic, the film fails to leave any lasting impact. And that’s for me the biggest drawback. When you make a film on social issues it has to leave a mark, take for example Ayushman Khurana’s “Vicky Donor”; it’s been a decade since its release but one can’t forget it whatsoever. Whereas when it comes to “Jayeshbhai Jordaar”, once you leave the theater you are probably not going to think about it even once. Here and there, the film also tries to explore the topic of child marriage, women empowerment and toxic patriarchy but fails in juggling too much on its overstuffed plate. In an attempt to go everywhere, the movie reaches nowhere and even diverts from its main subject.
Though the actors have given their every bit in terms of performances to make you stay till the end. Ranveer Singh who carries the film on his shoulders once again impressed everyone with his acting skills & proved that he can pull off any role with ease. But it’s saddening to see a talent like him being wasted in such weak scripts. The audience has had enough of biopics and similar looking social dramas – this should’ve been kept in mind while choosing the script.
Singh is supported well by solid performers like Shalini Pandey, Boman Irani and Ratna Pathak Shah among others. Right from the very first clip of the trailer I passionately disliked Boman Irani’s character. And once you watch the film, you’ll hate his character to the core and I guess this is where he has won as an actor. Ratna Pathak Shah does a laudable job as Jayesh’s mother who’s helplessly being oppressed by his father’s patriarchal mindset. Shalini Pandey too does a fabulous job in her debut bollywood project. Her character too often reminds you of her Preeti from “Arjun Reddy”.
The standout performance comes from the delightful Jia Vaidya, who plays the daughter to Ranveer and Shalini. The essence of the film lies in the father-daughter bond of Ranveer and Jia which will surely remind you of some real life incidents of your life. To mention one like that, there’s a scene where Siddhi asks Jayesh, ‘Nanka (boy) aajayega to uske baad bhi mere peeche aaoge?’ With her raw innocence in a simple line she showcases all the insecurity a female child goes through in a regressive and discriminatory society.
The music by Vishal-Shekhar is utterly disappointing and fails to do any good to the film whereas the cinematography by Siddharth Diwan is decent. Though, I’m still searching for reasons why the film was set in Gujarat. It might have felt more real if the setting was some small town of Rajasthan or Uttar Pradesh where female infanticide and gender discrimination is still a much common thing.
All in all, “Jayeshbhai Jordar” is a film made with good intent but fails at execution. It makes for a decent one time watch which you can plan out with your family if you’re looking for some good wholesome (although forgettable) family entertainer. Honestly, the movie could’ve managed to leave a greater mark if they opted for a direct OTT release.
You can now watch the film in a cinema near you.