Jalsa Review: Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah's film is a riveting tale of mirroring conflicts

This cat and mouse chase deals with thrill, strong emotions and the harsh realities of a newsroom.

Rohit BhatnagarUpdated:Friday, March 18, 2022, 08:53 AM IST
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With such an intriguing title 'Jalsa', the film held an obvious mystery factor before the release. 'Jalsa' means ‘celebration’, but on the contrary, the film is a complex tale of scattered relationships. It is layered, dark and nuanced. Ad filmmaker turned feature director Suresh Triveni surprises with his impressive writing and taut storytelling yet another time.

Maya Menon (Vidya Balan), a celebratory news anchor, is happily divorced and busy raising her special child Ayush. Her life turns sour when she accidentally drives her car over her maid Ruksana’s (Shefali Shah) 17-year old daughter in a secluded area of Mumbai in the middle of the night. The tension catches fire when Ruksana tries to find out the truth. Will she come to know that her own boss Maya is the culprit?

This cat and mouse chase deals with thrill, strong emotions and the harsh realities of a newsroom. Director Suresh Triveni earlier helmed Tumhari Sulu with Vidya. It was a slice-of-life film that had its heart at the right place. With 'Jalsa', Suresh jumped into an entirely different genre and does a phenomenal job. He proves that a slow-paced dark narrative is his thing too.

The highlight of 'Jalsa' is its climax which Suresh has intentionally kept open-ended. For viewers to have a better understanding, he feeds them with a few clues here and there. He also beautifully justifies the questionable title of the film.

Vidya Balan is certainly one of the best performers India has ever seen, and with each film, she validates it. Her sheer conviction to play Maya is commendable. Her screams and quivering are gut-wrenching. Shefali has absolutely overpowered Vidya in a few scenes. Her pauses and eyes speak volumes. Despite her not so convincing portrayal of Dr. Gauri Nath in the recent series Human, she outshines in 'Jalsa'. She is raw, real and plays her part aptly. Vidya and Shefali’s grit leaves you wanting for more.

Manav Kaul is easy breezy in a guest appearance, who plays the ex-husband of Vidya. Rohini Hattangadi is noticeable, and Mohammad Iqbal Khan, as Vidya’s business partner, looks suave, uber cool with his salt and pepper look. His perfect voice adds a lot to his character of a successful and brash entrepreneur.

'Jalsa' is surely a celebration of two strong women, their worlds that are poles apart, the collision of their conflicts and much more. This OTT release is not an edge of the seat thriller; it’s rather an edge of the bed thriller!

Title: Jalsa

Cast: Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah

Director: Suresh Triveni

Rating: 4 stars

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