Jail did not quite gel..

Posted: November 12, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

In the course of my elaborate explanation of eating a Rajdhani Thali, I did share the fact that we saw two movies, back-to-back on the Sunday. Let me quickly share my views on these movies.

I was seeing Jail with a fair bit of expectations, given my general respect for Madhur Bhandarkar, and the type of movies he makes, where he goes deep into a subject, and makes it very informative and usually engrossing also. While I had no doubts that Madhur would give us an excellent understanding of what Jail life is all about, I was hoping that there would be a good story behind it as well. In the past, I have appreciated his Chandni Bar, Corporate and Fashion for having a good mix of both – information and story – but found Page 3 to be more of a documentary. So I was going into Jail with that question in mind.

As it turned out, I was justified in my concern. As expected, Madhur does a fantastic job in showing us the realities of jail life. Far different from the glamorous views of jails that we might have seen in other movies (Angrezo ke zamane ke jailer, Dr. Dang ki thappad ki goonj and many others come to mind!). Unless you are a celebrity inmate like Ketan Parekh or Ramalinga Raju, the real jail that you are likely to see if God forbid, you have to land there some day, is more likely to be the one that Madhur shows us in Jail. And which is extremely crowded (inmates packed like sardines), largely uncaring, poor barracks, hopeless sanitation, terrible food and the like. Not to speak of the elements around.

So one thing that Jail will succeed in doing is to make people shun all kinds of crime. You really don’t want to land up in a jail like the one seen here!

So this part of Madhur’s agenda is successful. The information sharing.

In terms of the actual film and story and other details, unfortunately, it falls short. By a lot. For many reasons, I think:

1. He has not been able to get a good performance from Neil Nitin Mukesh. I am consciously NOT saying that Neil is NOT a good actor. I think he delivered a good performance is Johnny Gaddar. But in Jail, where he had a phenomenal opportunity with a powerful role, he is only good in parts. In fact, for the first half, he is terrible in dialogue delivery. Like someone reading out a paragraph from paper, and not emoting! He could have done a lot better.

2. The other characters are not built much. There are small flashbacks to few of the fellow inmates in jail, for their stories, but that’s about it. For the rest of the time, those characters just make up the numbers on screen.

3. Unlike Neil, for Mugdha Godse I am feeling now, that Fashion was an exception, and otherwise, she is a poor actress. In All The Best, they tried hard to “hide” her on screen. In group scenes, in dances, she was almost purposely kept in the side frames, or had long shots taken of her. Now we know the reason. Here in Jail too, she shows that she cannot really emote!

4. And as for the mother (of Neil in the film), she is still in her TV soap opera state. Nothing much to write about.. !

5. But the most important factor could be the subject itself. Jail is where life stops. You don’t go out to party, you don’t keep meeting many new people, you don’t have much room to suddenly fall in love and go dancing around the trees, etc. Unlike in a Fashion industry, or in Chandni Bars, or on Traffic Signals, or in a Corporate setting, for example. So the subject is largely limited in its expanse. You can talk about this main character, show a bit of flashback of other characters, show the pitiable life there, and then show the morose faces that go from hope to hopeless. That’ s about it.

So under these constraints, the film at best is an average fare. If you are a Madhur Bhandarkar fan and must see all of his films, please see this one too. If you like to understand different aspects of society, and are interested in Jail life, then also see this one. For the rest, you may comfortably give this a miss, and wait for “Kurbaan” whose preview provides a lot of hope of good cinema!

  1. Sorav Jain says:

    what do you mean by “(inamtes packed like sardines)” is it inmates?

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