Jugjugg Jeeyo: Neetu Kapoor captures the raw anguish of a loveless marriage in one scene, everything else is just noise – The Indian Express

In Jugjugg Jeeyo, Neetu Kapoor silences a flustered Varun Dhawan, who plays her son, after he snaps at Kiara Advani, her daughter-in-law, with just a few words, “Khabardar Naina se aise baat ki mere saamne (Don’t you dare talk to Naina like that in front of me).”
But before we go ahead, consider this as a spoiler alert. Read this after watching the film.
Keeping in tone with her character, Neetu doesn’t yell or scream throughout the film, in comparison to the rest of the family who resort to typical Bollywood theatrics to emphasise anguish and fury, which includes creating teary scenes in public. No, Neetu’s power comes from her controlled tone as she deals with a cheating husband and her son, who is also on the verge of divorce.
Her relationship arc puts the focus on the reality of many married couples in India — being married but essentially living separate lives. Perhaps the other characters should have been allowed to follow suit in terms of performance (along with drastic dialogue changes of course), and then Jugjugg Jeeyo could have been far more impactful. At the moment, the film is the most Bollywood-ised interpretation of divorce, with a big fat Punjabi wedding in the backdrop, and a series of jokes that feel like husband-wife WhatsApp forwards.
Divorce and infidelity is comedy
Jugjugg Jeeyo revolves around two couples, Kuku-Naina and Kuku’s parents Bhim and Geeta, played by Anil Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor. There’s bitterness between Kuku and Naina as she is far more successful than him. Resentments have been brewing and neither could communicate it to each other and finally decide on a divorce. As Kuku tries to tell Bhim about his impending divorce, he learns that his father also wants to separate from his mother and is having an affair with a woman named Meera. Rather than tapping first a son’s confusion and anguish at his father’s infidelity, we’re forced to hear a lot of sexist banter and taken through some hare-brained zany schemes to get his father to fall in love with his mother again for the sake of comedy. Finally, Kuku does struggle to face his emotions, but it’s too little, too late.
There is much deception and betrayal in Jugjugg Jeeyo, but it’s all played for laughs for the most part. At the end, Anil Kapoor’s character is such a blatantly selfish man-child that you wonder why Geeta hadn’t left him before.
Kuku and Naina’s reasons for divorce aren’t clear till halfway through the film as every second scene is played for laughs. So, when they engage in a heated fight, it makes one sit up. Finally, Naina explains her reasons, and it’s an emotional scene that Varun and Kiara deserve credit for, but you almost wish that there had been a better build-up to this fight. Another problem with Kuku and Naina’s story is that they’re looked upon as ‘kids’ for wanting divorce quickly, dismissed as a ‘modern relationship’ rather than actually delving into the swimming sea of hurt that’s between the two of them. It’s an archaic way of looking at current relationships and dilutes the actual dynamics between a couple.
It’s Bollywood, so everything gets tearfully resolved in court, in front of everyone. Bhim cheerfully tells Kuku at the end, “Teri ma ko pata lunga.”
The “other woman”
 The ‘other woman’ in Bollywood is usually a caricature, mostly presented as a facetious woman, who is either using the man for his money, or loves him so much that she goes completely insane. Tisca Chopra in Jugjugg Jeeyo was intended for comic purposes clearly, judging by her practised laughs and it’s almost as if she is to be judged for wanting to be independent. Despite Bhim’s claims that the love between the two of them is real, it falls flat later. There is no seriousness here either; it feels as if this story was written to induce some laughs from the audience. This makes Bhim’s character look even more ridiculous and absurd.
That one Neetu Kapoor scene
Neetu Kapoor, with her quiet dignity and grace as a heartbroken woman, is the star of this mess. While she belongs to the old-school of thought who believes that divorce isn’t a solution, she is thrown when she learns of Bhim’s deeds. It’s a raw and painfully real monologue, Neetu Kapoor brings out the problems that have ailed so many marriages from previous generations: Staying together for society. This is the essence of what Juggjugg Jeeyo was trying to portray — being trapped in a loveless marriage, with no way out. Neetu doesn’t sob in this scene or has a breakdown, the pain of lost years is reflected in silent tears. This is one of the very few impactful scenes of the film, and it’s a pity that there weren’t more like this. Neetu Kapoor’s Geeta was relatable and powerful and she doesn’t need her husband’s validation to know that she is doing the right thing by divorcing him. It would have been best had they just parted ways, without a chance for reunion.
Jugjugg Jeeyo had the right themes, but it derailed by delving into trite, sexist comedy and utilising age-old Bollywood tropes for a story that was intended to be progressive. When will Bollywood learn?
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Lakshana N PalatLakshana N Palat has been in the media for over five years, covering e… read more

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