in Jugjugg JeeyoNeetu Kapoor silences a confused Varun Dhawan, who plays her son, after taking pictures in Kiara Advani, her daughter-in-law, with a few words, “Khabardar Naina se aise baat ki mere saamne (Don’t you dare speak to Naina like that in front of me).”
In keeping with her character, Neetu doesn’t scream or scream throughout the film, compared to the rest of the family who resort to typical Bollywood plays to emphasize the anguish and anger, which includes creating tearful scenes in public. No, Neto’s strength comes from her controlled tone as she deals with a cheating husband and her son, who is also on the verge of divorce. Her relationship arc focuses on the reality of many married couples in India – being married but living essentially separate lives. Perhaps the other characters should have been allowed to follow suit in terms of performance (along with drastic changes in dialogue of course), and then Jugjugg Jeeyo could have been a lot more impactful. At the moment, the movie is the most Bollywood interpretation of divorce, with a big Punjabi wedding in the background, and a series of jokes that seem like husband and wife are coming forward via WhatsApp.
Divorce and infidelity comedy
Jugjugg Jeeyo is about a couple, Kuku-Naina and Kuku’s parents Bhim and Geeta, played by Anil Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor. There is bitterness between Kuku and Naina because she is more successful than him in Canada, and he had to leave Patiala for her. Resentment was building and neither of them were able to communicate with each other and finally decide on a divorce. While Kuku tries to tell Bhim about his impending divorce, he learns that his father also wants to separate from his mother and that he is in a relationship with a woman named Meera. Instead of first eavesdropping on the son’s confusion and anguish over his father’s infidelity, we were forced to hear plenty of sexist banter and delved into some brain-bending comic schemes to make his father fall in love with his mother again for the sake of comedy. This includes trying to get random little girls to pull moves on him because he feels his dad just crave (isn’t that a bigger problem?) after Mira. Finally, Coco struggles to show the dilemmas such a son would face, but this comes too late and is overwhelmed by so much hysteria, tears, and excessive plays that nothing seems real by the end of the movie.
There is a lot of deception and betrayal in Jugjugg Jeeyo, but it is all played for laughs mostly. In the end, Anil Kapoor’s character is so blatantly selfish that you wonder why Geeta hasn’t left him before.
The reasons for Kuku and Naina’s divorce are not clear until the middle of the film as every second scene is played out for laughs. Therefore, when they engage in a heated battle, it makes one sit up. Finally, Naina explains what was hurting her – it’s the lack of any kind of appreciation from Kuku for her success. It’s an emotional scene for which both Varun and Kiara deserve credit, but you almost wish there was a better build to this fight. Another problem with Kuku and Naina’s story is that they are seen as “children” for wanting a quick divorce, and are dismissed as a “modern relationship” rather than delving into the sea of mischief between the two. It’s an outdated way of looking at current relationships and dilutes the actual dynamics between spouses.
It’s Bollywood, so everything is resolved in tears in court, in front of everyone. Bhim Koko at the end cheerfully tells, “Teri ma ko patta longa.”
“The Other Woman”
The “other woman” in Bollywood is usually a caricature, mostly presented as an attractive woman, who either uses a man for his money, or loves him so much that she goes completely crazy. Jugjugg Jeeyo’s Tisca Chopra is clearly made for comedic purposes, based on her practice laughter and it looks like she’s going to be judged for wanting to be independent from her partner. Despite Bheem’s claims that the love between the two is real, he later falls for it. There is no seriousness here either. It is as if this story was written to elicit some laughter from the audience. This makes Bhim’s character look even more ridiculous and absurd.
Playing an adulteress straight from an old Indian series, Tisca Chopra’s Meera wears sleeveless tops, with an open laugh – yet she is independent and won’t wait for any man, which is something Bhim is accustomed to. After Geeta takes her husband to Mira, detailing everything she’s done for him in the past 35 years, Mira feels cold as she realizes she doesn’t want to wait for someone for the rest of her life. After declaring her independence, she kicks him out and returns his tail between his legs to Geeta, pretending he loves her again and that he rejected Mera.
This is Neetu Kapoor’s scene
Neetu Kapoor, with her quiet dignity and grace as a heartbroken woman, is the star of this mess. While she belongs to the old school of thought that believes divorce is not a solution, she is dumped when she learns of Bhem’s actions. However, I initially decided to step down. After telling Mira about her husband’s daily needs, she had a conversation with Nina. It is a raw and painfully true monologue, in which Geeta makes it clear that there was no love in her arranged marriage. In a wrenching way, Neetu Kapoor highlights the problems that have plagued many marriages from previous generations: staying together for the sake of society. She explains that she doesn’t even know if there is love. They took care of each other, and, she says, this wasn’t love. Life went on and they raised their children. This is the gist of what Juggjugg Jeeyo was trying to portray – being trapped in a loveless, no-way-out marriage. Neetu does not cry in this scene or suffer a breakdown, the pain of the lost years is reflected in silent tears. This is one of the very few touching scenes in the movie, and it’s a pity that there weren’t more like this. She exudes a similar killer calm after realizing why her husband is back at her – but this is mitigated by Kuku’s ongoing dramas.
Geeta of Neetu Kapoor was relevant and powerful and did not need her husband’s validation to know that she was doing the right thing through his divorce. It would have been better if they had parted, without a chance to be reunited.
Jugjugg Jeeyo had the right themes, but she was derailed by delving into vulgar and sexist comedy and using old Bollywood metaphors for a story that was meant to be progressive. When will you learn Bollywood?