As Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s comeback movie after motherhood, her first in six years, Jazbaa received a lot of hype. The former Miss World, despite being a top model and a frequent Hollywood star, has had a fair bit of success in Bollywood without actually ever reaching the top. But still she retains her media pull intact. Being a Sanjay Gupta-directed venture meant one thing for sure-Jazbaa would be a crime thriller!
So how does this comeback film work for Aishwarya and the audience?
What’s the plot?
A top lawyer in the city (Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan), a single mother raising a young daughter, has made a celebrated career out of getting hardened criminals off the hook, often using unethical means to get the desired results. Her world is jolted when her school-going daughter gets kidnapped and the cops draw a blank in investigation. The kidnapper’s demand is strange- that the lawyer should defend a death row convict, a known drug peddler and rapist, who is now accused of a rape-murder of a young girl! The lawyer just has four days to find out the case details. Taking help from her schoolmate (Irrfan), who is a decorated cop now suspended for corruption, she starts her investigation. Meeting the deceased girl’s mother (Shabana Azmi) to know more about the victim is obviously going to be a key step. Will the lawyer be able to save the convict so that her own daughter is released by the kidnapper? Who is playing this dirty game with her and why?
· The plot is interesting.
· The film manages to sustain pace and intrigue till the end.
· Sanjay Gupta’s direction is too stylized and feels gimmicky. His greenish yellow color scheme gives a surreal look to the screen proceedings and that actually feels distracting. Overall, the film lacks finesse.
· Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, despite getting a tailor-made role, ends up overacting and even the redoubtable Irrfan and Shabana also falter in her company!
· The supporting cast is mediocre.
· Some of the sequences and performances are almost amateurish.
Watching Jazbaa feels like reading a kitschy paperback mystery which keeps you engaged without any emotional involvement. Entertainment it does provide but refinement it throws out for a toss!