Jia Aur Jia Review

  • Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Richa Chadda
  • Director: Howard Rosemeyer
  • Rating: 1 Star

‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ but looks like no one did on this trip!

 ‘Jia Aur Jia’ is about two girls who are strangers, thrown together on a budget trip to Europe. Banker Jia Venkatraman (Richa Chadda) and Baker Jia Grewal (Kalki Koechlin) become travel partners on roadtrip in Sweden as neither can afford a trip by themselves and when they finally meet at the airport – it becomes apparent that besides their names, they have nothing more in common. And so it starts, one personality type at loggerheads with another personality type trying to adjust in twin sharing rooms and a trailer.

While Jia Venkatraman is quiet and pretty much likes to keep to herself, Jia Grewal is the more outgoing and bubbly one. Both however are nursing deep secrets that tumble out as the film proceeds.

So the prospect of watching two spunky actors – Kalki and Richa – who have long proved their acting mettle – get together on a female bonding film set in picturesque Sweden seemed quite inviting at the outset. But unfortunately the notion of having any fun on this road trip is thrown straight out of the window – right from the time Kalki’s character is shown spitting from her balcony while brushing her teeth in a bid to show her as the cool, carefree type. And of course, she dances while packing and drinking her morning coffee. On the other hand Richa’s character packs a few books, never mind that she is never shown reading any of them on the trip – to cement her character type. And then there are more stereotypes in a film one would have hoped to have broken some. Kalki’s Jia smokes, drinks and wears off shoulder tees and shorts. And ya, she steals for fun. And Richa’s is uptight – she wears jackets over her tank tops or flouncy chiffon dresses and in fact even tells off the other Jia for wearing short clothes and in a fit of anger even calls her a slut for chasing after boys. And later apologizes. Well, whatever.

Both Kalki and Richa seem ill at ease with their roles. For some reason, Richa says her dialogues with a deadpan look and tone perhaps to bring out the fact that her character dealing with a painful past she has left behind back home. But it falls so flat, that instead of sympathy for the character, it only elucidates amusement. And so do many other portions of the film, which trigger unintended sniggers even after issues like terminal illness, suicide and organ donation come to the fore. Kalki tries too hard to infuse her character with all the ingredients of being bubbly, fun but it comes off as contrived.

But the most cringe-worthy moments in the film come from a forced and weak romantic track between Jia Grewal and Vasu Bergman – Arslan Goni in an insipid debut performance. It does not help that the girls bump into him when he looks very stoned on the streets of a small town and the next day, he proceeds to show them how to have a good time – by drinking and dancing on the beach of course – in a tackily shot song and dance routine. Vasu Bergman is clearly no prince charming but for some inexplicable reason he manages to sweep Jia Grewal off her feet. And why oh why drag Bergman in to this? The genius filmmaker must have turned a hundred times in his grave for this!

Simply put Jia aur Jia is a shoddy affair – the dialogues are an ear sore, the screenplay and narrative is weak and often looking for something to hold on to, the production values look tacky – there are actual scenes where Richa Chadda’s make up looks like a myriad of colors – from yellow to purple! The remix of the Bollywood hit song – Jia Oh Jia falls flat. Even the emotional manipulation is not pulled off deftly. And neither has Sweden been beautifully shot to lull you in for a few moments.

And as every minute of this 92-minute film becomes excruciatingly difficult to sit through, it’s obvious no one is having fun on this trip and definitely not us – the audience.

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