Top lawyer and single mother Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan)’s school-going daughter is kidnapped to force her into defending the appeal of a criminal (Chandan Roy Sanyal) on death’s row for rape and muder…
With Jazbaa, Sanjay Gupta finally attempts to turn legit by official adapting the Korean film Seven Days. But even with solid enough base material that could have made for an engaging film, Jazbaa is yet another mediocre effort from him. Overstyled, overblown and overacted by its lead performer, the film fails to work and by the time the final twist comes at the end, you don’t really care. Gupta focusses too much on the stylistics, flashy editing (the film looks highly over cut) and its look – a weird green and yellow tint – at the cost of the human moments present in the inherent story, thereby weakening it all the more.
The script too has its shares of loopholes. A big question that strikes you in both films – why would you go out of your way to get a criminal about to be hanged anyway released and then kill him in one shot? In any case, no matter what the situation and what stake you have, can personal vigilanteism outside the arm of the law be really justified? With Anuradha deciding to defend the killer in the end, the film seems to indicate it is actually fine to do so. True, there is much to be desired in the functioning of the law here, but this is a dangerous statement and one I didn’t agree with in A Wednesday as well. To make things worse, elements like female infanticide are added into the plot to appear concerned about such issues but end up feeling clumsily forced in and fall flat.
The film is designed, of course, as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s comeback film and Rai, who returns to the screen after a five year hiatus, gives it her sincere best but sadly, only ends up reaffirming her shortcomings as a performer. And when she is surrounded by actors like Irrfan Khan and Shabana Azmi, they steal ever scene from right under her nose rather effortlessly. Irrfan, playing a wise-cracking, suspended rogue cop, who also loves Rai, has the additional benefit of some witty one liners aimed at the gallery that he delivers with customary deadpan flair. Jackie Shroff is just about OK in a small role, though Atul Kulkarni and Abhimanyu Singh are wasted.
The technicalities are in your face and the less said about the background noise, the better.
All in all, Jazbaa is not quite the right comeback vehicle for Asihwarya Rai Bachchan. For one, she needed a better director to guide her as her limitations as an actress too show up rather more than she would have hoped.