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Jia Aur Jia  : Silly Aur Senseless
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Friday, October 27, 2017
Howard Rosemeyer
Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadha

Rajesh Khanna and Hrishikesh Mukherjee who made a brilliant Anandin the 70s, would turn in their graves if they saw Howard Rosemeyer’s version of the cheerful cancer patient.


And what a waste of a beautiful country like Sweden where strangers and co-travellers Jia and Jia who share a common name turn out to be predictably opposite in temperament. They share hotel rooms and drive around in a trailer with childish arguments cropping up now and again. One is carefree, the other is careful. Jia Garewal is lively to the point of being annoying like brushing her teeth and spitting the mess out of the window. Jia Venkataram is uptight and neat and can’t stand it when Garewal loudly crunches on food at 4am and breaks her sleep.


An Indian boy called Vasu is added at some point to break the boredom.


With the old number ‘Jiya ho jiya  ho jiya kuch bol do’ playing in the background to not-so-subtly drive home the point that this is essentially the story of two Jias, the natural splendour of Sweden is lost because ofan inept narration.


The premise of one girl who wants to die while the other is doomed to die could’ve been interesting and emotionally stirring with tight, effective writing. But the flat story-telling has no heart-in-the-mouth moments except for one scene where Jia Venkataram has an accident. Her back story which should’ve been gripping lacks dramatic impact. Similarly, the twist that Garewal’s full-of-life character takes doesn’t make one sit up with surprise or feel sympathy for the situation.


The dialogues make weak attempts at profundity. Happiness is not like pizza delivery, goes one line. Another dialogue between Jia and Vasu about growing old together and having kids which is designed to be a tear-jerker is like a clumsy school play.


Kalki Koechlin as the over-cheerful Jia and Richa Chadha as her brooding namesake go through their parts professionally but without inspiration. Arslan Goni cast as Vasu is the real dampener with his inability to handle a range of expressions or dialogues.


There are signs of compromise like when Richa Chadha takes the wheel, there’s not a single shot of her actually driving the trailer. Also, writer Mudassar Aziz doesn’t seem to have done his homework on liver donors. Donors don’t have to give up their lives to donate a part of the organ, you know.


For an immature and ill-informed story, Jia Aur Jia gets a 1.5* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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