Movie Review Jai Ho Democracy

When you Google search the term 'democracy', it yields the result stating that, 'democracy' means a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. In the last few years, Bollywood has witnessed a few films that were made on this theme. While some of them were hard-hitting and in-the face, there have been others that have made a mockery of the same. This week's release is JAI HO DEMOCRACY, a political satire. Does this film redefine the term 'democracy' or does it land up becoming 'demo-crazy', let us analyze.

The film starts off with a very unexpected 'incident' that sparks and spells 'bombarding' at the LoC of the two warring countries viz., India and Pakistan. And the unexpected incident happens to be that of a hen which enters the No Man's Land and both the countries claim their ownership over it. The problem gets severe when a young Indian military cook is sent into the No Man's Land to bring back the hen. As expected the young soldier gets stuck between the crossfire and has no escape. Just when he loses all hope, a Pakistani senior cook comes to his rescue with food and water risking his own life and the two bond immediately. The news of the 'invasion' in the No Man's Land spreads like wild fire and the media starts following up on the story, sometimes making up facts. In an attempt to win the situation, the India army wants their superiors' command to wage a war against Pakistan's army, but can't do so without the permission of a 'series' of ministers, including the Home Minister Dulari Devi (Grusha Kapoor). In order to reach to a concrete decision about waging a war against Pakistan, a joint meeting is called for comprising of Pandeyji (Om Puri), Choudhry (Satish Kaushik), Mohini Devi (Seema Biswas), Major Baruah (Adil Hussain), Bashir Baig (Aamir Bashir), Mrs. Bedi (Rajni Gujral). The entire meeting is supervised under the 'able' leadership of Ramalingam (Annu Kapoor). What starts off as a collective meeting in order to come to a collective conclusion, lands up becoming a battleground for personal egos, self respect and clash of individual attitudes between the ones hailing from the old school of thoughts versus the ones hailing from the new school of thought. In the meanwhile, an impromptu friendship between the military cooks stuck in No Man's Land, changes the feelings of enmity into friendship. Will the two countries ever be able to make peace with each other, is the 'dosti' in No Man's Land between the two countries for real, what decision does the committee members ultimately land up taking, and who becomes the ultimate owner of the hen… is what forms the rest of the film.

As far as the film's direction is concerned, it is helmed by Ranjit Kapoor, the man who was the dialogue writer of the cult classic JAANE BHI DO YAARO. JAI HO DEMOCRACY is his second film as a director after the forgettable CHINTUJI. The film starts off on an extremely good note. Just when the film is settling down with the script and the viewers, the film starts lagging big time, so much so that it becomes irrational and irritating beyond a point. While the film's writers (Ranjit Kapoor, Sreekanth Agneeaswaran, Bikramjeet Bhullar) had a unique idea, the end product suffers heavily because of bad direction and editing. While the film's first half is (somehow) bearable, the film's second half starts testing your patience. One just did not expect the seasoned actors to ham the way they have done in the mid-course of the film. And sadly, it is the weak second-half that is to be blamed for this fiasco.

As far as the performances are concerned, despite having seasoned actors in the film, it is not surprising that not even a single character stays with you by the time the film ends. And the reason for this is purely because the director has not portrayed these actors as characters, instead he has tried to make a handful of caricatures of real life politicians. While Om Puri, Satish Kaushik, Seema Biswas, Adil Hussain and Aamir Bashir play their part as per the demand of the script, it is the ever-so-dependable Annu Kapoor, who excels in the role of a south Indian minister. The rest of the cast merely help to carry the film forward.

In satires like this, it is but obvious that there is no place for romantic songs, as all the tracks featured are basically 'dialogues-in-disguise-of-songs'. The film's music (Ray N Brotherhood) definitely adds glitter to the film. The film's cinematography (Arvind Kannabiran) is average. As told earlier, it is the film's haphazard editing (Roshni D'Souza, Ashwin Hegde) that takes the steam out of the film.

On the whole, JAI HO DEMOCRACY is an average film that can be skipped.

Article written by staff at Bollywood Hungama. Read more

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