Not a sweet offering

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Oct 2018 12:19:16





By Farina Salim Quraishi,

Unrequited love sure has some powerful magic. It has it all - the repressed emotions of being rejected, yearning, self-doubt, heartbreak and the unshakable shackles of ‘What if…’ which is impossible to look away from and is disquietingly engaging. Jalebi - The Everlasting Taste Of Love, a remake of a Bengali film, Praktan, has all the highs of a failed romance but none of the heart. A self-proclaimed tribute to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Jalebi is just a rehashed telling of a love story told a million times over since ages. Despite being themed around the oft repeated lines, Unse Mohabbat Kamal Ki Hoti Hai...Jinka Milna Muqaddar Mein Nahin Hota, Jalebi feels strangely synthetic and derivative and has none of the sweet urgency and intensity of the prodigious feeling called love!

Jalebi is about Dev and Ayesha, who have put a bad marriage behind them, or so they think. Ayesha (Rhea Chakraborty), an ultra-modern Mumbai girl and an aspiring writer, falls in love with Delhi tour guide Dev (Varun Mitra), a PhD scholar, while he is showing her around the ‘heart’ of Delhi. A short whirlwind romance later, the duo elopes. After a blissful honeymoon, reality soon comes crashing down around the young hearts!

Both Dev and Ayesha find that they are ambitiously incompatible. For Dev his house, Netaji Ki Haveli, is his world while Ayesha longs to break out of the khandar and explore the world.

An unforeseen tragedy breaks the already weakened bond and both of them board different trains of their life. Their lives collide again after Ayesha is forced to share a compartment in Mumbai-Delhi Express with Dev’s new wife and his 7-year-old

Essentially, Jalebi is about boy meets girl, they fall in love and how then the girl falls out of love and their unhappily forever after! It’s a premise that has been done to death and some more in the countless movies. Unfortunately despite what the promos of the movie promised, debutant director Pushpdeep Bhardwaj’s bruising business of the heart offers nothing remotely original. It’s a mishmash of a modern love story and is an exhaustive and exhausting dissection of a relationship that was never promising to begin with. The story -told from Ayesha’s point of view - jumps back and forth through time, excruciatingly slowly despite the superfast train the characters board.

Granted Jalebi is a Gen X love story and trappings (a shower head and new doors here) do matter a whole lot, but ambition is neither stupid nor with blinkers. However, the makers want us to believe just that! The whole reasoning behind the all-important ‘Why’ just doesn’t make sense. So, when Ayesha walks away from Dev, firmly but with kindness, one only feels a passing pinch of pain, which just evaporates soon after. The flimsy and hackneyed story makes it hard to empathise with the leads’ turbulent lives. The script by Kausar Munir is predictable and just too mundane. There is no rush of emotional catharsis or the overwhelming feeling of love and rejection, it has just plain melodrama and long-drawn dialogue-baazi.

Jalebi pulls out all the romantic tricks in the books and tries too hard to be a fresh and frothy saga and is ostensibly bubbly! The director goes to ridiculous lengths to establish the temperamental chasm between the leads. For no girl in her sane mind will wear micro-shorts and slip of a top in the super crowded bazaar of Chandni Chowk, or for that matter wear pajamas and crop top while entering the marital home for the first time after eloping! This and many other contrivances just to make a cool point are cringe-worthy and a pain to watch, However, the Vishesh Films special - the mellifluous music is a soothing balm on the nerves rubbed raw by the excessive dramatics. However, the profusion of songs and all of them playing to their full length ensure they all mishmash to become one, with only Pal and Tum Se lingering on after the credits start rolling.

Among the cast, Rhea Chakraborty looks very pretty and acts well too. Shining strongly and playing the complicated role with conviction, Rhea is delightful. Varun Mitra, in his maiden outing, tries his best to elevate his underwritten character but fails miserably. Laughable in the emotional scenes and over-the-top in exuberant ones, Varun needs tips on moderation pronto. Digangana Suryavanshi as Dev’s wife has a small yet impactful role.

Far from sweet unlike its title, Jalebi, with its insipid emotions and flat story, is a banal rehash of quintessential Bollywood love stories that’s most likely to leave a strange, stale aftertaste! Watch at your own risk.

The Hitavada Rating: O O