Onto the third new content of the weekend and I just finished watching the new Hindi series Jugaadistan on Lionsgateplay. This is the second Indian content coming out on this platform after Hiccups and Hookups. What drew me to the series instantly was the magnificent ensemble. I was amazed at the talent on display here. To top it the series was co-directed by Akarsh Khurana whom I regard highly as a director. His earlier work Karwaan still remains my go-to film whenever I am low. So then is Jugaadistan worth your time, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Jugaadistan follows the story of campus life where college politics and an exam scam are focussed upon along with love and other emotions. First things first. The story is gritty and a far cry from the college dramas which you may have witnessed in a TVF show. The drama is deeply rooted to reality where campus politics are part of the culture. The issue which I had with the drama was its scattered screenplay. The screenplay is a bit of a mixed bag here with a little more mishmash than I would have liked. The issue again is the lack of focus on one particular issue. It begins on a good note with the introduction of characters but its meandering nature finds it a bit difficult to focus on the actual plot. The prime focus should have been on the exam scam and while there are a few engaging scenes, the other subplots just take away a bit of the shine. Which is not to say that the writing is bad. There are several moments which are engaging and they will keep you hooked. But the moment there is a switch to the subplot, the momentum which was built is reduced. This happens repeatedly throughout the 8 episodes which are of roughly 41 minutes each. But certain sequences are quite engaging and they tackle some very relevant issues including racism or things that you need to do to organize a fest. The final act is again a touch underwhelming where it somehow tries to tie all the loose ends together out of which some are successful but others are not. Overall, really a mixed bag of a screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and sharp and they definitely do their bit in adding some bite to the drama. The music is exceptional and it again deserves a playlist of its own. The BGM is outstanding and portrays the emotions pretty well. The production design is excellent and gives the series a fresh vibe(although I feel the series may have been in the cans for 4 years). The director’s chair is shared by Akarsh Khurana and Aadhar Khurana and the direction is good. They try to cut down on the writing issues and are successful upto an extent where some of the moments really shine through.
The performances save the day to an extent. Shivani Pancholi as Kiara shines in a cameo as do Kanchi Bhansali and Keith Antony Sequeira who has her moments to shine. Garima Yajnik has such a towering presence that it is hard to not look at her whenever she comes onscreen. Aamir Mallick as Prashant and Priyank Tiwari as Nishant are both first rate, I particularly enjoyed the track of the former. Kavya Trehan as Aparna is pretty good in a touch underwritten role. Danish Sood as Gagan is earnest in what is his second outing in as many weeks. Lukram Smil as Kenny is refreshingly good and I really wish to watch more of him going forward. Himika Bose as Aarti is a delight to watch and she really stamps her authority everytime she comes onscreen. Ahsaas Channa as Ayesha is quite a natural onscreen and she does a commendable job. Arjun Mathur as Tarush is his usual brilliant self here. Zarin Shihab as Devika is quite good in an extended cameo. Taaruk Raina as Lucky is charming but a character that you may not like as the series progresses and that is testimony to his good performance. Gopal Datt as Nadeem smartly veils his evil side with dollops of humour. Rukshar Dhillon as Ruhi looks pretty and does a fantastic job, this was one character which I felt sorry for at the end. Sumeet Vyas as Bhati is just so brilliant and so effortless in his role. But my favourite character of Bijoy was essayed by Parambrata Chattopadhyay. He is absolutely my favourite and there was so much of sincerity in his performance, just so natural onscreen. I am so happy Parambrata is successfully transitioning himself in the Hindi space and many of us would now know the amount of talent which he has!
Despite its shortcomings, Jugaadistan is a gritty drama with some outstanding performances. Available on Lionsgateplay.