STORY: A group of four friends, who work in different professions, share a close bond from childhood. Ananta, a fashion photographer lives in a rented house. Things go awry when all four are forced to live together at Ananta’s rented home. Their lives are disrupted when their landlord catches them red-handed with his wife and forces them to vacate.
REVIEW: Director Ravi Kinagi’s Jio Pagla can be summed up easily enough: A madcap caper about four couples that drags on and on. Drag being the operative word here. The two-and-a-half-hour-long movie could easily have been 40 minutes shorter and audiences would have appreciated it all the more for it. The movie deals with the lives of four childhood friends, two of whom are forced to cross-dress in order to secure lodging for themselves in a city where most landlords are looking for married tenants.
The movie starts off as most movies in this genre do — with a set piece song and all the eight main characters dancing to the thumping beats of the title track. We learn that Ananta (Jisshu), a fashion photographer by profession, lives in a rented room at a house owned by landlord Khogen Mal. However, his carefree life is interrupted as three of his close friends (Soham, Hiraan and Bonny) land up at his doorstep, looking for a place to crash. The four of them soon find themselves in hot water after an episode with Mal’s wife and are forced to vacate the premises.
Unable to find any lodging for bachelors, they come up with a plan to dress up Soham and Bonny as women so they can rent a house. The film then follows their hijinks until it all falls apart hilariously. It’s not a bad film, but you’d be hard-pressed to call it good. Entertaining is the perfect word for it. Slapstick is usually hit or miss. But here, the director treads a fine line, as do the actors. Soham is easily the funniest of the lot — even in drag. His mannerisms, comic timing and body language all hit the spot. He has an energy that is infectious and the director banks on his efforts to sell ludicrous scenes and ideas. Jisshu, Hiraan and Bonny all play along well enough, but Soham steals the movie.
The women, Srabanti, Rittika, Koushani and Paayel, are there as eye candy. Period. There is no effort in the script to give them interesting story arcs or funny lines. They are, unfortunately, of no consequence whatsoever, other than being the love interest of the ‘heroes’. It sometimes seems that the director, not being confident of the female talent, decided to turn his heroes into heroines.
Overall, the film entertains, but is let down by an average script and direction. The background score is so loud and busy in its attempt to generate ‘funny’ sounds that it drowns out the dialogue in some scenes. Watch this film if you have two and a half hours to spare and if you appreciate slapstick. Else, wait for it to come out on TV.
— SRIJOY MUKHERJEE