As I watch jersey I wondered if ott platforms had rendered the frame to frame remake obsolete in 2019 writer-director Gautam tinanuri made the jersey a rousing saga about a failing frustrated Ranji cricket player who makes it a comeback at the age of 36. The story moves back and forth from 1985-86 to a decade later and we see two distinct versions of arjun the brash flamboyant cricketer whose signature move is stretching his hand out with the bat and rotating his shoulder and the defeated aimless washout who’s been suspended from his government job. The release date of the movie is 22 April 2022 and the budget of the movie is INR 100 crore (US$ 13 million).
The star athlete now dulls his anguish with cigarettes on the company of deadbeat friends Nani, who played Arjun in the Telugu Film is superb. He nails the spectacular highs and abject lows of Arjun’s life. Jersey is a three hanky weeper with child artist ronit kamra who plays arjun’s seven-year-old son dialing up the emotions with his dimpled smile and innocence. He reminded me of jugal hans raj in masoom. His face is enough to make you want to hug and protect him. Go to TamilYogi to see the RRR movie review.
Jersey won two national awards one for best editing and one for best film in Telugu which brings me back to my original question, why did we need a retread Jersey. The hindi version is also directed by gotham but he doesn’t enlarge or significantly alter the story he merely transplants it from hyderabad to chandigarh the original and the remake are almost identical including dialogue situations and even frames like the aerial shot of arjun at the interval declaring his intention to play cricket again and stepping out into the cricket field the relocation of city language and culture isn’t explored in any deeper way punjabi colloquialisms like mayawe and chaktefattea sprinkle.
Throughout there’s a line about the layer paji ke ghane but the punjabification of the narrative is largely superficial there’s little sense of a story rooted in that soil shah kapoor’s last release Kabhi Singh was also a nearly frame to frame remake of a Telugu Film by Arjun Reddy but there director Sandeepanga managed to effectively translate the disturbingly seductive love story of a damaged man.
Jersey is more like a xerox copy exactly the same as the original but with less color vibrancy and soul which stems more from the generic storytelling and less from Shahid’s lack of trying. The actor does a fine job Gotham brings Ronit back as Arjun’s son perhaps hoping for a replay of the earlier magic shahid scenes with the child actor are some of the best in the film. The father-son story is what gives this underdog sports story its beating heart there’s a lovely scene in which kittu first watches his father play and does this bowing down gesture from the stands later in the film when Arjun asks him whether he should continue to play ketu says he should and adds that when his father’s on the field he looks like a hero to him arjun’s cricket becomes his path to redemption especially in the awestruck eyes of his son.
There’s also the pleasure of the other father-son bearing watching Shahid work with Pankaj Kapoor, who plays coach Bali, Arjun’s biggest cheerleader. Pankaj is a veteran of the less is more school of acting and his sheer presence saves the character from becoming a supportive coach cliche. Renault Thakur is vidya arjun’s wife who’s struggling to understand the man arjun has become. This is the least convincing character in both films despite Arjun’s success. She staunchly opposes his return to cricket. She dismisses it as an impractical dream but why? playing cricket gives Arjuna a sense of purpose.
It feels inconsistent that her character who starts out as a fan girl can’t see that. The film also suffers from a sense of deja vu the cricket matches will take you back to 83 like in that film here to a windshield breaks because arjun knocks a ball out that far but Anirudh Ravichandra’s background score and Sachet Parampara’s song especially “Maya Menu” and “Mehram” help to heighten the drama and lift the storytelling. The second half is stuffed with math sequences as the punjab team moves up the ranji trophy table and soon enough these become eye glazing.
The matches are accompanied by commentary which insists that tension is building that there’s tremendous pressure at the moment that this is a nail-biting finale and there are goosebumps everywhere but we as spectators feel little of it. Thankfully the emotional drama is heightened and the twist at the end about what happened to Arjun will make you tear up. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with the original. it’s very likely that if you haven’t seen that this one will work better for you but for admirers of nani’s jersey like me this jersey isn’t fresh or invigorating enough you can watch the film at a theater near you.
Cast of Jersey
- Shahid Kapoor as Arjun Talwar
- Mrunal Thakur as Vidya Talwar, Arjun’s wife
- Pankaj Kapur as Madhav Sharma, Arjun’s coach
- Ronit Kamra as Karan Talwar aka Kittu, Arjun’s son
- Geetika Mehandru as Jasleen Shergil
- Shishir Sharma as Atul
- Rudrashish Majumdar as Rudra Juneja
- Rituraj Singh
Note: Filmyzilla, is not responsible for the accuracy of the cast list.
The movie got very positive ratings from all over the Internet. Over 1k people rated this movie 7.8/10 on IMDb, which Is a very good ratings for a Bollywood movie right now. Indian Express rated this movie 2.5/5, which is decent normal.