Star Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur, Pankaj Kapur, Ronit Kamra, Geetika Mehandru
Director: Gowtam Tinnanuri
What’s Good: It’s finally in the theatres & no more postponing a good film! (And Shahid Kapoor is also good, of course)
What’s Bad: Games could’ve been sketched better
Loo Break: If you can control for the whole 170 minutes, you need a real break to visit a urologist
Watch or Not?: It doesn’t matter if you’ve watched Nani’s version, it’s a great story retold in a different way
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 170 Minutes
We’re introduced to an Arjun Talwar (Shahid Kapoor), who’s unemployed, a middle-aged father whose love for cricket is clearly visible because even his kid has the same dream and following that he asks his father for gifting him a jersey. While Arjun struggles to fulfil such a trivial wish of his son, Mrs Talwar, Vidya (Mrunal Thakur) wants him to get his old job back, but Arjun wants to step back into the field of his long-lost dreams.
Once he decides to start the second innings of his life, he’s asked to choose between two impossible options by Vidya. What would Arjun choose and if he goes with cricket, will Vidya would still support him? Through the fragments of an unfulfilled promise, a father decides to restart his life and what happens next is what Jersey is all about.
Jersey Movie Review: Script Analysis
Using the already tried and tested formula (also by a Shahid Kapoor film), Jersey retains the original director of its predecessor in the Telugu version. Just like Sandeep Reddy Vanga in Kabir Singh, Jersey’s OG director Gowtam Tinnanuri steers the ship of the Hindi version as well. This is how a movie/subject should be adapted, by asking the same mastermind to do the trick once again but with different material. Thankfully, I jumped into this sea full of surprises without watching Nani’s version, and that helped to delve into Arjun’s chaotic life establishing a better connection.
Yes, it uses all the classic tropes of sports films like rising through family struggles, and predictable last-ball deciding matches but the narrative doesn’t solely rely just on these ideas. You have a lot to cover apart from cricket matches and family drama, like father-son’s unbeatable bond, a couple’s rocky relationship and an inside journey of a man who could’ve been (or could be by the end).
Gowtam Tinnanuri’s impeccable character-building lets him paint Arjun so well, that he speaks loudest when he has nothing to say. When the world is moving towards the short-content-consumption era, it’s always a delight to see a film clock 170 minutes keeping the intrigue alive for a major chunk of the total duration. A story that sketches a character’s journey from start to finish, that inculcates even a glimmer of hope in many distressed lives.
Anil Mehta brings his usual best in the scenes apart from the sports sequences because those are treated very game-like with some close-up shots. The pause-and-pan camera technique used in a couple of cricketing shots works deliciously in the favour of the makers. In another brilliant move, makers also retain the same editor Naveen Nooli to perfectly know what should stay and what should be edited out.
Jersey Movie Review: Star Performance
Even when Shahid Kapoor isn’t playing your guy-next-door, chocolatey hero kinda characters for quite some time now, the image does come out just when it’s required. Like here, even though Arjun is an all-serious person but to make him charming, Shahid just smiles and does a peculiar thing to his face to change the mood in the same sequence. Shahid not only gets the father aspect of Arjun right, but he nails the cricketer’s side as well. He plays a lot with his expressions, achieving every mood with perfect ease.
Thank to the holy heaven, Mrunal Thakur’s Vidya isn’t another flowerpot character to fill in the void of having a leading lady. Vidya does impact a lot of what Arjun does in the film, and Mrunal with a stunning conviction shows the dark side of struggle as well. While Arjun is struggling, Vidya showcases how hard the struggle is for the entire family. There’s a scene in which she smiles as she cries, and I couldn’t hold back the single tear sliding down through the edge of my eyes.
Pankaj Kapur plays a father-figure coach to Shahid Kapoor’s Arjun and the script smartly uses their real-life bond to add a comfortable depth on-screen. Pankaj Ji in his all elements also turns into a comical relief at times proving why he’s really an ‘all-rounder’ of this game. Ronit Kamra as Shahid’s son shoulders not one but multiple scenes on his very subtle reactions. Without crossing any line, Ronit creates this nuanced aura around him mastering every scene he’s in.
Jersey Movie Review: Direction, Music
Amid the debate of Bollywood VS South, people like Gowtam Tinnanuri are the ones who show why it doesn’t need to be a clash? When you can mix up emotions from stories of certain fabric, and mash them with similar elements broadening the target audience of a similar story. It’s crazy to know how some tweaks to the same story can expand its reach by serving a wider group of people. Gowtam packs an emotional entourage around one person, showing how the changes in his life affected everyone around him.
From what I can recall, this is Anirudh’s first ‘Bollywood’ film to compose the score for, and he continues to wave his magical wand for this one as well. The thumpy, not ‘noise’ to your ears background score adds real impact to many scenes. Sachet–Parampara’s songs are exceptionally placed, but the compositions could’ve been way better.
Jersey Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Shahid Kapoor continues to add some interesting innings in the second phase of his life, and Jersey is surely one of them. A rare and almost-perfect blend of drama, (predicable-yet-interesting) game & everything else.
Three and a half stars!