Jayeshbhai Jordaar Review: Ranveer Singh’s saviour complex outruns the plot

The Bollywood social comedy puts the spotlight on empowering women, with a lot of help from one heroic man


Ambica Sachin

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Published: Fri 13 May 2022, 5:25 PM

The female population of Pravingadh, a picturesque fictional town in Gujarat, are so repressed and deprived of basic amenities that all it takes for Jayeshbhai (Ranveer Singh) to revive his pregnant wife, Mudra (Shalini Pandey), in the middle of a complicated labour, is to forcefully make her inhale the fragrance of a medical soap. That is because perfumed soaps are banned in this town run by an entitled toxic Sarpanch (Boman Irani) who believes all it takes for a man to go wayward is the smell of a woman passing by.

Jayeshbhai Jordaar is the tale of one man’s heroic mission to rescue his pregnant wife and daughter from the clutches of his conservative family who are hell-bent on ensuring their daughter-in-law gives birth only to a boy child to continue their illustrious lineage.

If you look beyond the irony of having a script that gives complete agency to the superstar hero to go on a rampage to ‘save’ the women in his life from an insidious form of patriarchy, then Jayeshbhai Jordaar can prove to be an eventful, comic, albeit bumpy ride.

Female foeticide is a harsh reality in many parts of the world, not just India, so a movie like Jayeshbhai Jordaar, headlined by a mainstream actor like Ranveer Singh will no doubt help percolate the message to all corners of the country.

Despite serious social ills like domestic violence, pre natal sex determination and forced abortions being treated in an extremely casual manner, the movie manages to throw the spotlight - often forcefully - on issues that pertain to patriarchy and casual sexism. Though the overtly simplistic ‘kiss and make up’ policy advocated by the hero at a crucial moment in the plot can seem laughable.

While Ranveer Singh immerses himself completely into the role of the timid Gujarati man, with a constant hangdog expression, trying hard to protect his innocent wife and ‘firecracker’ of a daughter’ Siddhi from the misogyny and sexism rampant around them, he has fierce competition from a slew of talented co-stars.

Shalini Pandey who plays his long suffering wife Mudra makes her presence felt despite being in her gunghat most of the time and Jia Vaidya plays their precocious 9-year old daughter Siddhi with so much chutzpah it is hard to peel your eyes away from her in most scenes.

Boman Irani is his dependable formidable self and Ratna Pathak Shah is equally effective as his hardened wife who has been brainwashed to follow her husband’s lead.

Seasoned actor Puneet Issar as the burly head of a Haryana village Laadopur that is bereft of female residents due to a skewed sex ratio stands out as well alongside Deeksha Joshi who plays Jayeshbhai’s feisty sister Preeti addled with a suspicious husband who keeps constant tabs on her mobile use.

In the end Jayeshbhai Jordaar’s entertainment quotient far outweighs its social messaging which is all over the place and at times so in your face it can seem like being cornered by the garrulous, all knowing uncle at a party and being forcibly lectured to.

But Divyang Thakkar’s movie definitely needs to be acknowledged for bringing to the fore a social evil that many still believe exists only in small towns and villages of India.

Jayeshbhai Jordaar

Director: Divyang Thakkar

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Shalini Pandey, Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah

Rating: 3 out of 5

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