Despite fine performances, the length of JALSA diminishes the impact.

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Jalsa Review {2.5/5} & Review Rating

JALSA is the story of a hit-and-run case. Rukhsana (Shefali Shah) lives with her husband Rizwan, daughter Aaliya (Kashish Rizwan) and son Imaad in a shanty in Mumbai. She works as a maid in the household of eminent digital journalist, Maya Menon (Vidya Balan). She has been working with Maya, her mother (Rohini Hattangadi) and Maya’s son Aayush (Surya Kasibhatla) for three years and she’s considered to be one of the members of the family. One night, Maya gets late from work. She asks Rukhsana to stay back. She calls Imaad to Maya’s place so that he can be with her. She also calls Aaliya. However, she refuses under the pretext that she wants to study in her own house. Rizwan drops Imaad at Maya’s place and then goes to work. After Imaad and Rizwan leave, Aaliya ventures out late at night with a boy. While she’s out, she suddenly gets hit by a car. The one who commits the accident runs away immediately and so does the boy. It’s only in the morning that Aaliya is found in an unconscious state. She is badly injured and hospitalized. The investigation begins and the cops don’t seem very keen to nab the culprit. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

Jalsa

Prajwal Chandrashekhar and Suresh Triveni’s story has a certain novelty, and twists and turns that keep viewers engaged. Prajwal Chandrashekhar and Suresh Triveni’s screenplay has a niche appeal. Nevertheless, a few developments are exceptional and keep viewers hooked. However, the writing is stretched needlessly in the middle. A few developments are unconvincing. Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal’s dialogues are nothing special.

Suresh Triveni’s direction is quite different from his previous film, TUMHARI SULU [2017]. That film was far more mainstream. With JALSA, Suresh Triveni adopts the arthouse-style execution and it works for most of the film. The dilemma faced by the protagonist, especially, is handled very well. What also goes in the favour of the film is that the trailer has not given away an important plot point. As a result, audiences get a huge jolt in the first 15 minutes. This twist adds a lot to the film and keeps viewers engaged. Unfortunately, the exciting moments are there but are few and far between. The long length is another problem. The 129-minute long film ideally should have been just 90 or 100 minutes long. The climax is tense but could have been better. Moreover, the reason why the film is called JALSA is hard to digest.

ROFL-Vidya on Jalsa: “I read somewhere that it’s a biopic on Amitabh Bachchan’s house”| Shefali Shah

Vidya Balan has played several challenging roles. However, her part in JALSA is in a different league and she is in top form, as expected. Shefali Shah, too, gives her best and adds a lot to the film with her presence. Rohini Hattangadi is great in a supporting role. Surya Kasibhatla is adorable. Kashish Rizwan is decent. Mohammad Iqbal Khan (Maya’s boss Aman Malhotra) is dependable. Vidhatri Bandi (Rohini George) leaves a huge mark. Shrikant Yadav (More; cop) and Ghanshyam Lalsa (Pradeep; cop) are fair. Manav Kaul (Maya’s ex-husband) is lovely in a cameo. Vijay Nikam (Jalsa Reddy) is okay. Others are fine.

Gaurav Chatterji’s music gets no scope. Gaurav Chatterji’s background score is very subtle and very impactful. Saurabh Goswami’s cinematography is a bit raw and it adds to the impact. Ajay Chodankar and Vipin Kumar’s production design is realistic. Isha Bhansali’s costumes for Vidya Balan are apt. Sujata Kumari’s costumes for the rest of the actors are straight out of life. Shivkumar V Panicker’s editing could have been tighter.

On the whole, JALSA rests on Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah’s fine performances, and some unexpected twists and turns. However, the long length and certain unconvincing and unexciting moments diminish the impact to a great extent.



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