Review of Jugjugg Jeeyo: The film satirizes male infidelity and selfishness by trying to balance its feminism
Jugjugg Jeeyo’s apologetic feminism aims to appeal to both conservatives and feminists. It is, therefore neither here nor there and could as well be anywhere else.
In some ways, the Hindi film Jugjugg Jeeyo (Live long and prosper) is reminiscent of the Malayalam movie Jo. This was about a girl who is subject to discrimination by her mother. She dumps household chores on her daughter while freeing her son to relax. Jo was afraid of antagonizing the audience beyond their tolerance for liberalism. Each time the film showed the daughter protesting against injustices within her family, it quickly softened the blow by trivializing them and their concerns.
Raj Mehta’s Jugjugg Jeyo was written by Anurag Sing, Rishabh Sharma, and Sumit Batheja. It is more committed than Jo but also tries to soften the blow with its explicit feminist views.
Kukoo Saini Varun Dawan and Naina Sharma are both rotting in bitter marriages. He is bitter about her professional accomplishments because he moved to help her career and could not do it himself. The two decide to divorce. Kukoo soon discovers that his Patiala-based dad wants to end their marriage of more than three decades. Bheem ( Anil Kapoor) plans to end the marriage with Kukoo’s mother, Geeta Neetu Kapoor, a traditional stay-at-home wife. His affair has led to him having an affair with Meera ( Tisca Chopra).
It’s been nearly 50 years since Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Abhimaan. Yet, mainstream Hindi films rarely examine the social conditioning that causes men to be unable to celebrate their wives’ successes unless they have better careers. Jugjugg Jugjugg does all of this and more. Bravo! However, the film is very careful. While the film is heavy on Naina’s and Kukoos’ sagas, it’s light and humorous when it focuses on Bheem. The two stories seem to have been told simultaneously to avoid Jugjugg Jeeyo’s support for Naina.
Bheem-Geeta is a group that calls out Bheem for his bad behavior. However, writers tend to assure us that it won’t be too much. After all, he’s just a man cheating on Meera, and hehehe, it doesn’t count as cheating because he hasn’t slept with Meera yet.
Jugjugg maintains its balance by discrediting Meera’s independence, dismissing her self-worth in the sense that she is unwilling to fulfill the duties that dear pativrata Geeta has quietly performed for so many years.
Jugjugg Jugjugg Jeeyo’s apologetic feminism aims to appeal to both conservatives and feminists. It is, therefore neither here nor there and could as well be anywhere else.
However, this is not what makes the film so painful. Jugjugg alternates between comedy and gravity while occasionally quietly inserting counterpoints to its overt progressivism, but one thing remains constant: loudness. These two characteristics also hindered the film’s original message, Good Newz. They were loud and stereotypically portrayed Punjabis as noisy, boisterous communities.
I enjoyed Jugjuggjeeyo, despite the uneven storytelling. Kiara Advani and Varun Dhawan are great together. This film gives Advani the role she deserves. Anil Kapoor, as Naina’s father, is charming and energetic. Maniesh Paul plays Naina’s brother with solid comic timing. The writers also do a good job portraying the supportiveness between Naina and Geeta ( Prajakta Koli), defying stereotypes. The screenplay neglects Geeta Kapoor’s character in the first half. This makes her appearance as the main lead in the opening credits act defiance of em>saas-bahu/em> stereotypes. But, in the second half, she has time, space, and one of the most interesting of the film’s serious conversations.
Some elements are so good that it would have been tempting for Jugjugg to forgive Jeeyo’s feminist tightrope walking, but the film is too loud. In the short time it takes to sound design, the soundtrack is loud, and the background music is too overbearing. Sometimes the high-decibel humor is distasteful and sometimes juvenile. This is evident when a man states that the only way for humans to relax is to “party or go potty” and when a fellow is told never to suppress his “emotions” or (bowel) movements. Oh lord! Rhymes! Rhymes!
Jugjugg Jeeyo is a Hindi film tradition (example: No Entry, the Masti series). It treats male infidelity as a comedy device, while a similar lens does not focus on female infidelity. It’s also an ear-drum-splitting film.