Jayeshbhai Jordaar: Less masculinity, more empathy
The Indian entertainment industry took quite a steep turn from the so-called portrayal of muscle and sensuality and started addressing real life problems and daily drama in families and political spheres lately, especially after the advent of various streaming platforms.
Unconventional web-series and movies addressing and normalising out-of-the-ordinary people of the society and their journey against odds and questioning the establishment has gained momentum. While web-series like Panchayat or Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi has bring light to the age-old chauvinism of hinterlands, Jayeshbhai Jordaar inclines to bring the issues like female foeticide and domestic abuse to the fore.
Although it saw a major downfall in the box-office collection, the film Jayeshbhai Jordaar was flooded with love and applaud after its release on OTT this week. Desperate for a male heir, a family visits a hospital to determine the sex of the foetus of their pregnant daughter-in-law (Shalini Pandey). Sensing the in-laws’ intention the physician does not reveal the sex to them.
She disclosed that the coming infant would be girl to Jayesh (Ranveer Singh), already a father of a daughter. Fearing for his child’s life Jayesh cooks up plans to save his wife and daughters from his arrogant father, who is the head of the family. Although aware of the injustice done by his father, Jayesh cannot muster courage to counter the atavistic mind-set of his parents or the community he lives in.
Many would find such scene awkward or some may not like comedy blended with such a serious social issue. But people habituated with such customs may not grasp a highbrow idea unless it is interpreted and presented in comprehensible language
Jayesh’s father Mithilesh (Boman Irani) and mother Jasoda (Ratna Pathak Shah) are the epitome of patriarchy living in a fictitious village in Gujarat. They are ready to go any extent to get a grandson to carry forward their family name. Mithilesh is a man who blames girls for using aromatic soap to attract harassment. He even tries to kill his daughter-in-law for tarnishing the name and valour of his family as she escapes to save her child from foeticide. Jayesh makes the plan to flee to another fictitious village in Hariyana. Male dwellers of that were village urged over internet to get wives as there were no females left in their village to marry due to female infanticide prevailing for years. But they were chased by his father and his cohorts and are caught.
When Jayesh tries to save his wife from being hurt, his father’s acolytes gets ready to manhandle him. In conventional Bollywood movie, the protagonist at this point would have thrashed the bad people single handedly. But blimey! Ranveer with his natural humour comes up with a surprise. He brandishes a knife and threatens them that he would sever his male organ if anyone approaches. Many would find such scene awkward or some may not like comedy blended with such a serious social issue. But people habituated with such customs may not grasp a highbrow idea unless it is interpreted and presented in comprehensible language.
The lead characters of the movie had played their part commendably especially Ranveer Singh. Ratna Pathak and Boman Irani plays the stereotype in-laws while Shalini Pandey their submissive daughter-in-law. Jia Vaidya who plays the elder daughter of Jayesh seemed to enjoy both her role and applause she received afterwards for her bold and upfront character in the film.
Writer and director of Jayeshbhai Jordaar Divyang Thakkar seemingly tried to project a serious social problem through his film, yet making it entertaining. Through the scene where Jayesh’s sister vents her anger by slapping her unconscious husband, the writer expresses a lifelong desire of a woman to pay back the humiliation awarded by her husband.
Also many may find the Gujarati and Haryanvi inflection by the characters are not quite in the right place, but it was not a bad try after all. There are unessential parts that were stretched for no reason such as the desire to get a kiss from the partner. But Divyang’s work is commendable as it is his debutant direction and writing screenplay. The satire, dark comedy and perpetuating social ills shows the audience Divyang’s zeal as well as keep us pondering over the questions the movie raises.