Jhund movie review: Amitabh Bachchan scores a goal in this sports drama with a heart | Bollywood
Can I take the liberty of calling Jhund a docu-drama? Or should it be labeled differently when it contains many elements that are so real and nothing like what we usually see in a Bollywood movie? Nagraj Manjule’s Jhund tackles and tackles some key issues in an immersive and impressive manner.
Sometimes you don’t need a movie to wow you in its entirety, and there are a few parts that stick with you for a long time and hit you hard. Jhund has a few that are beautifully written, shot, and told. And indeed moving when you look at them.
Starring Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay Borade – a character based on the life of retired sports teacher Vijay Barse, who founded an NGO called Slum Soccer – Jhund is an artist of a different breed. A mix of sports and social drama, the film tells how Vijay spots a group of youngsters in the nearby slum, playing with a plastic barrel, and their potential to do better in life rather than drown in underbelly crimes. from Nagpur. He builds a football team of slum underdogs, and in doing so, he keeps them away from drugs, alcohol, and crimes like chain robbery. Was all this easy to do? What are all the challenges and struggles he had to face? Was he really capable of changing someone’s life? This is what the film shows in its almost three hour duration.
Whether or not that’s a safe proposition right now, with OTT platforms offering so much content, making a movie that long is a whole different discussion. But Manjule, to a large extent, manages to hold the public’s attention. There are times when it feels like the story drifts off a bit. And then, soon enough, another captivating scene catches your eye. It is the work of the camera throughout the magic. Full credit to Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti’s cinematography who chooses to show close-ups of children, evoking unparalleled emotion. Watch out for adrenaline rushes during these football game sequences.
There’s a warm and beautiful scene just before intermission where children and adults from the slums tell their life stories and not for once does it feel like they’re reading lines from a script. Nagpuria dialect is perfect and blows you away. Maybe that’s where Jhund scores a goal for me. Another scene that stays with you is towards the climax. Manjule, very metaphorically, shows how despite being a “Don” in your area, when you go out into the world things are never too easy.
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However, there are inconsistencies in the film’s pre- and post-gap narrative. While the first half is tight and intrigues you most of the time, the second half drops everywhere as the social drama part takes over. Fortunately, there are no multiple protagonist monologues. Even the humor that was fairly organically sprinkled in the first half suddenly disappears in the second, as attention shifts to issues such as class division, poverty, female education, gender disparity gender, etc.
Speaking of the film’s sporting footage, there are several deja vu moments as you watch the team in action on the football pitch. It reminds you of the highlights of Lagaan, Chak De India, Dangal, Sultan and many more and there is nothing new there. They are exciting to watch, no doubt, but you don’t surprise yourself with anything different. Nevertheless, none of this would have meant anything without the on-screen presence of Amitabh Bachchan. At 80, seeing him get this kind of role is spectacular to say the least. He owns every frame he appears in on screen and leaves you wanting more. The camaraderie and comfort he has with the children moves you. And not once does he try to overshadow the team he coaches. Every kid on this team gets their moment to shine. Sairat’s Manjule actors – Aakash Thosar and Rinky Rajguru – have smaller roles in the ensemble cast but provide notable support to the story.
To sum up, Jhund is not and should not be considered a sports biopic. It shows you the real issues and what happens behind the scenes when you try to accomplish something everyone says you can’t.
Director: Nagraj Popatrao Manjule
To throw: Amitabh Bachchan, Rinku Rajguru and others