Monday, January 25, 2016

Review of Jugni

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Cast: Sugandha Garg (Vibhavari), Sadhana Singh (Bibi Saroop), Siddhanth Behl (Mastana), Aniruta Jha (Preeto), Samir Sharma (Sid), Chandan Gill (Jeeta Jazbati), Devinder Daman (Babaji), Kartick Sitaraman (Nishant)
Direction: Shefali Bhushan
Produced by: Karan Grover, Manas Malhotra, Shefali Bhushan
Written by: Shefali Bhushan
Music: Clinton Cerejo
Cinematography: Divakar Mani
Edited by: Navnita Sen
Production Company: Dhun Productions
Distributed by: PVR Pictures
Release Date: 22nd January, 2016
Duration: 1 hour 54 minutes
Language: Hindi

Jugni, a romantic musical film, is written and directed by debut filmmaker Shefali Bhushan. It is a beautiful film, well-crafted with soulful music and great performances. Jugni in Punjabi means “Female Firefly”. Another meaning, which is assigned to the word Jugni is in the context of poetry, is that this word is used for an observer from whose perspective that specific poetry is written. Also, Jugni means the ‘Spirit of life’, the essence of life in spiritual poetry. The best thing about  Shefali’s film Jugni is that, her film has ‘female firefly’ in the form of Vibhavari, the lead protagonist; ‘spirit of life’ as well as Sufiyana kalam depicting essence of life. Terrific film with soulful music clubbed with free spirited and natural performances. The film explores the power of music and power of love. Music has the power to strike chords between hearts of two entirely different people. Very neatly scripted film, which clubs the sanctity of music and love. Love is neither an emotion to be apologetic about, nor an emotion which should make one self-centered. Jugni talks about the love, which is not selfish in nature, but in turn, it liberates the one who is in love. Jugni also talks about the moral dilemmas which one faces due to non-clarity existing in relationship. Love, at times, is also about ‘letting go’. Jugni is definitely going to win your hearts with its Sufiana Music clubbed with its plot and performances.

Jugni begins with Vibhavari aka Vibs’ (Sugandha Garg) interaction with her live-in partner Sid (Samir Sharma). The spark missing between them is definitely bothering both of them, but Vibs wants to focus on music composition for her film project Dhun, which could give her break in the music industry. The director Nishant (Kartick Sitaraman) wanted some different kind of music from Vibs. Following a spat with Sid, she starts her journey to a village called Hassanpur in Punjab in search of singer Bibi Saroop (Sadhana Singh), hoping that the freshness of rural folk songs through Sufiana Kalam singer Bibi Saroop’s singing could do wonders for her music. Before she could meet Bibi Saroop, she happens to meet her son Mastana (Siddhanth Behl), who is also a singer. Vibs’ go-getter attitude does reflect through different ways, be it her travel in general class compartment of the train or to stay in a hut arranged by Mastana. Mastana is shown to be a very free spirited guy, who aspires to make it big in the music industry. Both Bibi Saroop and Mastana are local stars, they sing in various occasions viz. festivals, puja, marriages, gatherings etc. In spite of being a very talented singer, Mastana sings what people want to listen to. He feels that traditional music does not sell, so, he ends up singing ‘modern’ songs, away from the roots of traditional sufiana kalams. Vibs instantly got connected with Mastana, Bibi Saroop and with Mastana’s girl friend Preeto (Aniruta Jha) and her brother Jeeta Jazbati (Chandan Gill).

It is amazing to see two souls getting close together through their common love, i.e. love for music. The bond between Vibs and Mastana gets stronger. What happens next? How the entanglement of relationships are handled in the film? What happens to Vibs’ relationship with Sid, who are lovers as well as great friends too? How does Preeto respond to Mastana’s getting closer to Vibs? How does Vibs’ relationship with Mastana shape up, keeping the fact intact that their worlds are so different? Is Vibs able to record Mastana and Bibi Saroop, the purpose for which she had come down to the village? Does the music which Vibs composes give her first break in the industry?

Shefali has managed to take a very non-judgmental take on love. Her film also talks about the kind of talents we have in our country; many of the talented folk singers who are lost in the web of anonymity; importance of respecting such artists, whose music is soulful, close to the roots. Jugni also takes a dig at the hollow and exploitative music industry. Beautifully handles the whole concept of morality, ethics.

Sugandha as Vibhavari is absolutely like the title – a female firefly. She has blended herself so well with Vibhavari. Her love, passion for music reflects so nicely. Siddhanth Behl as Mastana is awesome. Siddhanth has projected Mastana’s free-spirited nature, love for music, eagerness to break the ties of anonymity, retaining the innocence of the character, fighting to beat the guilt etc. so nicely. Sadhana Singh as Bibi Saroop is so natural. Aniruta Jha as Preeto is also very good, Preeto’s envy, love and possessiveness for Mastana, understanding his dreams are very well depicted. Samir Sharma as Sid had less screen time. Probably his character could have been explored a little more.  

The music is exceptionally good; soulful and earthy feel reflects in Clinton Cerejo’s work. The title song sung by Javed Bashir, and other songs like Dillan de saudey by Javed Bashir, Dugg Duggi Dugg by Vishal Bhardwaj, Lakhon Salaam by AR Rahman are very good. Listening to Zarre Zarre mein noor bhara sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is absolutely divine. The Western-Sufi fusion song ‘Hatt Mullah’, when started with western rendition, kept me wondering, how it would fit the film, but later on, the jugalbandi created magic. This song is inspired from Bulle Shah. The film specially mentions Bulleh Shah at various spots, who had practiced the Sufi tradition of Punjabi poetry – Kafi (Kafi music is devotional in nature).

Watch Jugni, a beautiful and well-crafted romantic musical film. It has the amalgamation of soulful Sufiana music, a great plot, and powerful free-spirited performances. It celebrates the power of music, which connects two souls whose worlds are different. It also celebrates the power of love, the love which liberates one. Enjoy this musical journey.  

                                            Rating: 3.5/5 (Good +)  

Rating: 3.5/5 (Good +)