Jersey Review: Shahid Kapoor hits it out of the park with a phenomenal act; Mrunal Thakur and Pankaj Kapur ably support him
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Mrunal Thakur, Pankaj Kapur, Prit Kamani, Ronit Kamra
Director: Gowtam Tinnanuri
Rating: 4 stars
While Jersey essentially is established as an emotional tale of an ageing cricketer and his desire to return to the sport, to fulfil his son’s dream – getting the Indian team jersey for him, Gowtam Tinnanuri’s directorial is much more than just that. It’s definitely a beautiful story of the bond between a father and son, an emotional rollercoaster about a once-upon-a-time star player’s ambition to be back in the game. But Jersey is also about the fading love in an almost love-less and respect-less marriage; it’s also a story of a guru who wants to see his treasured shishya back doing what he does best. And that’s exactly what works for the film. Read Jersey review here:
The story opens with an older Kittu (Prit Kamani) talking about his father – the celebrated cricketer Arjun Talwar (Shahid Kapoor). You look at Arjun’s story through Kittu’s eyes – and the director infuses life with flashbacks of two different Eras. Arjun also has a beautiful wife Vidya (Mrunal Thakur) who’s left her family to be with him and is then torn between her love for him and her wish of getting him back to work. Their worlds – that once were beautiful – collide and their foundation that was once built on love, support and a lot of respect suddenly starts to crumble. Kittu wishes to own an Indian team jersey and asks for it as a present on his birthday. With no money on him, Arjun tries every means to get him the jersey but fails. But it’s this failure, as a father, that hits him the hardest and he decides to return to his first love – cricket, with a little help and a lot of encouragement from his coach (Pankaj Kapur). But will a 36-year-old be able to spell the same magic he did 10 years ago? Will he be able to regain the same respect from his bickering wife? Will he be able to fulfil his child’s only wish? That’s exactly what the film is about.
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Gowtam Tinnanuri spells magic on screen with his story-telling. Jersey isn’t a film, it starts and ends as an emotion. Yes, the filmmaker does take us through the emotional wringer, more than a couple of times. But you realise that it’s not just for effect. The director, who has also been the Force behind the original (Nani starrer Jersey that the film is a remake of), spins it beautifully with the Hindi version too.
Shahid Kapoor is phenomenal as Arjun. As the hitman raging young Arjun, he’s fire. As the jobless, hungry for respect 36-year old, he’s a marvel. You feel for Shahid in the littlest of scenes. The beauty with an actor like Shahid is that every time you think he’s delivered his finest performance, he surprises you with his next. Jersey will remain one of his most honest and endearing performances. He, of course, isn’t as magnetic as Kabir or as unconventional as Tommy, but Arjun plays to the gallery and tugs at the emotional heartstrings in a way only Shahid could. He smashes it straight out of the park with this one, too. He makes sure Arjun connects so well with the audience that the ones watching start understanding his pangs, his angst, his anger, his despair and that only is proof of his craft.
Mrunal Thakur is brilliant as Vidya. Yes, for most parts of the film, she has been played out as this bickering housewife who doesn’t stand by her husband. But what could have otherwise turned out to be an almost negative role, stands out because of Mrunal’s earnestness. She humanises Vidya and her shortcomings too, giving more reason to the audience to realise why Vidya is the way she is with Arjun. Parallelly, she not only plays Arjun’s biggest strength but also one of his weaknesses and it stands out. And her finesse is visible in the scenes where she breaks down – the audience cries watching her cry and that’s the work of a fine artist.
Their chemistry is outstanding – watch out for that particular scene where Shahid is applying ointment on her burnt finger, right after a massive argument. These little moments make Jersey what it is – an emotional joyride that makes you smile, albeit with a tear rolling down your eyes.
That Pankaj Kapur is fantastic as coach Madhav Sharma is almost like a no-brainer. He is like that adhesive that binds the broken pieces of Arjun’s life together. The legendary actor ably supports his son’s performance, much like his character on screen and their scenes together are a riot. It’s unmissable to see how similar Shahid is to him, in a few scenes.
Ronit Kamra is perfectly cast. Prit Kamani as the older Kittu shines right through. Despite having such fantastic performers around you, to stand out in such a terrific crowd takes guts and immense talent. The industry needs to watch out for this boy! Prit stuns in the scenes he has and drives it home comfortably in the climax scene.
The songs have worked well. They grow on you as the movie progresses. Other supporting casts whether it is Geetika Mehandru or Anjum Batra are also good. The screenplay works for the major part of the film. But the film could have been easily trimmed by another 20 minutes. Nevertheless, at no given point, does Jersey bore you or make you reach out for your phones. Comparisons with Nani are bound to happen but one thing is for sure – if there’s anyone in Bollywood who could have delivered it, it’s only Shahid.
Overall, Jersey is an emotional roller coaster ride that will make you laugh, cry and also cheer for Shahid. Watch it for the stellar performances and Shahid’s incredible effort. He’s truly the best this generation has got…
Watch the trailer here:
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