Director: Sanjay Gupta | Year: 2015

Seeing this just one week after the masterly ‘Talvar’ this could have been underwhelming. But  I was totally engrossed  and thoroughly enjoyed this thriller with a twist in the end. It was a good story and it was fairly well told. The tension point is brought in early on and the narrative hurtles to the climax at a good speed, with no distractions. It is pretty lean narrative with almost no flab. Thanks to competent performances by Shabana, Irrfan and Aishwarya,  the human side of these three main characters also shine through.

Jazbaa 1

The writing is pretty good and I quite liked the rhetorical flourishes of Kamalesh Pandey. ‘ Rishteay pe bhoriash aur mobile pe network na ho to log game khelne lag jaatay hain. Tum kauns agane khel rahi ho?’ Irrfan asks Aishwarya.  People have said Ash shrieks too much. For god sake people when traumatized do shriek. And Hollwood-style understatement is not the only school of acting that evry actor has to come from. The bottom-line : Ash’s performance touches you and her emoting seems pretty real. She looks exquisitely beautiful, as frail and as perfect as   porcelain, but she also brings a certain gravitas to her persona which makes the proceedings quite believable. After Piku and Talvar, this is the third film that Irrfan breathes life into with his breezy, stylish performance. And Shaban Azmi is an inspired piece of casting that takes the film a notch or two higher.

Jazbaa 2

Sanjay Gupta’s direction stays on course throughout, keeping the film practically song-less. The very brief snippets of two songs used are evocative and effective mood-enhancers. Gupta has the flair for the thriller narrative, though he does simplify things for our audiences used to spoon-feeding, sacrificing subtlety and depth for clarity. But there is enough intrigue still in the narrative to keep you hooked from beginning to end. And I like the calibrated happy ending and the parting line, ‘Mohabbat hai iss liiye jaane diya, zid hota to baahon mein hoti’. After ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisa’, ‘NH 10’, ‘Piku’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu 2’, this is the fifth film this year with a woman at the centre of the narrative that’s doing well.  And there is Talvar directed by a woman. More power to the talented ladies    of Bollywood, I say!

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