Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi film Jogi streaming on Netflix. The year 1984 will go down in history as one of the darkest chapters in the history of our country. Although I wasn’t born then, I have heard some terrifying stories about the outbreak of the riots following the assassination of our then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Almost everyone living in that era has a story to tell about the turmoil which the people had gone through. But amongst the realms of hatred, there were real human stories, similarly to what I had witnessed in 2008 when humanity still found some able warriors who would go to any length at protecting what was right. One such film is made on this subject titled Jogi which is now streaming on Netflix and I happened to finish watching it. So then is Jogi worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Against the backdrop of the 1984 riots, Jogi follows the story of a bunch of friends from different faiths who unite to save hundreds of people in their town. And these are the human stories on which films should be made more often. The story is thrilling yet it has its heart in the right place. The screenplay standing at just under 2 hours makes for a crisp watch. But I was not prepared for the proceedings which follow.
The first thing that I noticed about the drama was its immaculate setup. It wasted no time in building a world or allowing the audience to get acquainted with any of the characters. Probably the reasoning behind it was to treat every impacted character equally which was a great thing. The context of the assassination of our then Prime Minister was given as a passing reference right at the start before kick starting the drama. And I was sucked into the drama from the very first scene.
The palpable tension which is generated at the start really helps the audience to settle into the drama. The proceedings are terrifying but filled with a lingering feeling of tension thanks to the amazing cinematography and editing(something which I will speak about in my next section). The proceedings of the outbreak of the riots makes for a thrilling start which is just the start for the things to follow.
What the drama also excels in is the emotional quotient of the things which the victims had to sacrifice for their survival. In a gut wrenching yet emotional scene, the protagonist is seen chopping off his hair which in the Sikh religion is a sin of sorts. You can feel the pain and angst of the character as he slowly chops off his tresses in an emotionally moving scene. In a separate scene, the friends from different faith(and I need to mention this to emphasize on how people from different faiths can and should stick together in tough times) help each other to save hundreds of victims which was a heartening sight. The entire truck sequence is a nail biting one and will ensure that you are at the edge of your seat.
The drama is watertight and doesn’t allow any respite whatsoever. But on the slight downside, the entire flashback sequence wasn’t required as squeezed out a little built of the tension which was generated in the current day scenario of the film. Also there was no real buildup for the final act which I wish was more layered instead of being straight forward. But credit to the writers for not getting carried away and making it overtly dramatized. The final act was rooted to reality and did not seem out of place. Also, the messaging at the end of universal brotherhood was a good one and the need of the other. Overall, this was a captivating screenplay perhaps one of the best from a Hindi film this year.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are crisp and poignant which make for an impactful viewing. The music is excellent and goes perfectly with the drama. None of the songs stall the flow of the drama. The BGM is even better and perhaps the most soulful rendition that I have heard for a Hindi film in a very long time. The cinematography is excellent and keeps the tension intact throughout the proceedings. The editing only elevates the tension, something that I had seen in the Tamil film Ratsasan. Director Ali Abbas Zafar has done a brilliant job here. In fact this is one of his best works as a director. The approach to his storytelling technique was supremely effective in building the scene in totality with the right amount of tension and drama.
The performances are excellent in the film. Noyrika as Kaleem’s wife and Neelu Kohli as Jogi’s mother have their moments to shine. Amyra Dastur as Kammo looks pretty and is effective in her role despite a limited screen time. Hiten Tejwani as Laali has quite a layered character in a terrific character arc which did stay with me long after the film is over. And he was wonderful to watch here. Paresh Pahuja as Kaleem is sincere and well restrained. It is heartening to see him get such meaty roles wherein he does get a chance to showcase his acting chops.
I am a fan of Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub simply because he is a treat to watch in any character which he portrays. And here as Rawinder he is absolutely spot on with the dynamics of the character. He excels in dramatic scenes as well as emotional ones but never gets carried away with it, thereby keeping his character firmly gripped to reality. Kumud Mishra is another actor whom I absolutely adore. Here as the wily politician Tejpal, he will make your blood boil and will end up angering you. And if you do end up getting angry then it was a job which was brilliant done despite a slightly underwritten character. Diljit Dosanjh as Jogi is the soul of the film in every sense of the word. You are taken on an emotional trip through the gaze of his character and you can feel his pain and angst in every scene. He is impressive particularly in the emotional scenes which will make your heart cry out in pain. This was a nuanced yet immensely emotional performance that has stayed with me long after the film has ended!
Jogi is one of the best Hindi films of 2022 with some heartfelt writing and brilliant performances. Available on Netflix and Highly Recommended!