Jalsa Film Review: In Suresh Trivani’s film, Vidya Balan is a journalist and Shefali Shah is her son’s caretaker. A lot is said and written when the project in front of women is presented to the audience. And in Suresh Triveni’s meeting, you will see two such strong and radiant female characters leading the film. It’s obvious to expect a lot of strong dialogue, emotional turmoil, and dramatic events, and yes, you get plenty of them.
But the speed, or the way things are, disturbed me completely. Somewhere, I lost the pre and post entry switch in the statement. And don’t get me wrong, the climax can be very frustrating. The questions that came to my mind after watching the movie are: Is Bollywood ready for such a brave and experimental cinema? Is it appropriate to leave it to the audience to understand the ending the way they want? Under the guise of breaking the rules of traditional cinema, is the meeting making things a little more complicated for the audience than entertainment?
However, one thing that works in favor of the meeting is that it is not trying to make social comments, correct preaching or informing the audience about the existing divisions among the classes. There may be many subtle references to these differences in society, but never let it bother you.
The meeting tells the story of a famous journalist Maya (Vidya Balan) and her cook Rukhsana (Shefali Shah), who also takes care of Maya’s specially disabled son Ayush. Things get even worse when Rukhsana’s 18-year-old daughter Alia is involved in a horrific hit and run accident. This unfortunate incident confuses Rukhsana and Maya and they both try to deal with this situation with some lies and secrets which cannot be uncovered.
Throughout its 128-minute runtime, director Suresh Triveni seems to be in a hurry to wrap up the film without bothering to turn over several pages. Whether it’s the stories of the actors, their traits or why they behaved in a certain way or just the presence of certain characters in the story – much of it is unknown.
For example, we are never told why Maya and her husband (Manav Kaul) separated, why Maya’s mother (Rohini Hattangadi) lives with her, what medical condition her son is in, how much Rukhsana She has been working in Maya’s house for a long time. Is there anything else between the intentions of Maya and her fellow and trained journalist Rohini George (Vidhatri Bandi) – these details, no matter how small, must have added to the story and given depth to the narrative.
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The meeting begins on a strong note, and in the first few minutes, it successfully engages you, leaving you curious to know if justice will be done. In the search for truth, we come across many flaws in the police, politics, media and rich system. And then, how less privileged people are left to choose with barrel scraping.
Travini, who co-wrote the film with Prajwal Chandrashekar, Abbas Dalal and Hussain Dalal’s dialogues, focused on how the story unfolded. But in the midst of all this, the makers did not pay much attention to the character arcs. They seem to be mostly half-baked and extremely one-dimensional without having to explore too many layers.
Despite the sketches of such half-hearted characters, it is the performances that impress the audience. Vidya Balan is in top form. Sassy plays her role as a boss, weak as a caring mother and rebellious as a daughter. The scenes in which she is screaming or trembling with fear tell a lot about her character. Shefali Shah, who completes it beautifully, offers a limited performance. It is incredible how the king expresses emotions with his eyes and impressions. She is not speaking for the film most of the time, yet you are most concerned about her role. The struggle she fights against, but still keeps it to herself, is moving forward.
As mentioned, other actors have short but important parts and they do justice to the story that is expected of them. The role of Rohini George, if properly portrayed, could have helped the film a lot. However, the meeting leaves you with a lot to think about, guess, understand and draw conclusions from. Watch it on Amazon Prime Videos from March 18.