Film: Jia Aur Jia
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadda, Arslan Goni, Zarina Wahab, Sol Roach, Frank M Ahearn, Badheka Harsh, Howard Rosemeyer
Director: Howard Rosemeyer
Rating: * *
A film about two unlikely travellers bonding over infinite shots of vodka, while rubbing each other up the wrong way and travailing through Yash Chopra’s favourite locales, could have been much more than an exasperating spree of ill-defined escapades through scenic countryside albeit with frequent visits to pubs, beach parties and some phony drama.
Jia (Richa Chadda) is riven with guilt regarding a tragedy in her recent past while the other Jia (Kalki Koechlin) is unnaturally effervescent regarding a tragedy just waiting to happen. It’s only when they get to know about each other’s personal angsts, that they start to feel closer and overlook the more than obvious burrs in their respective personalities. But by then, as an audience, you are more than just disgusted by what’s transpiring on screen.
This debut directorial effort by bits and pieces Bollywood actor Howard Rosemeyer, might have been a winning idea if only screenplay and dialogue writer Mudassar Aziz could have got his character definitions right and believable. From the start you are left wondering why two women would want to go on a holiday together when they just don’t get along. They are together only because of the luck of the draw we assume. On a designer budget holiday trip, they are random travel mates but that doesn’t explain why they stick together come what may.
The effervescent Jia plays unforgivable tricks on the more morose one- yet they still trudge on together. The creative team hopes to give us a glimpse of their intertwined fates, but it just comes across as cheap machinations imagined on paper without much understanding of human behaviour. The two get drunk and engage in repetitive binge drinking and subversive behaviour that would rile any sane person.
There’s no reasoning with the illogic here. Their encounter with a party hopping drunk Indian male on the streets of Sweden, makes it obvious that the writer and director were more interested in adding on to the entourage rather than ensuring that the girls come across as safe. The dialogues appear forced, the bonding doesn’t feel organic and the tragedy seems entirely contrived. Instead of feeling empathetic to their individual situations you feel annoyed and frequently irritated by their over indulgences. There’s really nothing to feel good about here other than the short runtime.