Jhund Review 4.0/5 & Review Rating
JHUND is the story of an unusual football team. Vijay Borade (Amitab Bachchan) teaches at St. John’s College. The educational institute is located next to a huge slum area. The youth in this area are not well educated and make a living from odd jobs. They even resort to stealing jewelry and cell phones and coal from moving trains. One day, Vijay sees some of these youngsters like Ankush aka Don (Ankush Gedam), Babu (Priyanshu Kshatriya), Angel (Angel Anthony), Vishakha (Vishakha Uikey), Yogesh (Yogesh Uikey), Raziya (Rajiya Kazi), etc. playing football with them an abandoned plastic box. He realizes that they have immense potential, but they waste their time committing crimes and using drugs. He goes to the slum the next day and meets these young people. He asks her to play soccer for 30 minutes. In return, he pays them Rs. 500. They agree. They have a gala time and after they finish their game Vijay presents them Rs. 500 as promised. It goes like this for many days. One day, Vijay doesn’t show up on the floor. These slum children then go to his house. Vijay tells them that he has no more money to pay them. The slum kids are now so used to the game that they agree to play for free. Gradually, Vijay trains them and soon they become quite better at their game. Vijay suggests to the principal of St. John’s that these kids play a friendly with the college football team. The headmaster reluctantly agrees. The St. John’s team coach (Kishor Kadam) despises these slum kids. He pressures the team to score 10 goals and not allow the Slum team to score even one. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The story of Nagraj Popatrao Manjule is great and beautifully combines sporting and social messages. The screenplay by Nagraj Popatrao Manjule is badass. However, entertainment comes first for him. The hustle and bustle gets a bit violent, but never depressing or too somber; He knows where to draw the line. In some places, however, the font is stretched. Nagraj Popatrao Manjule’s dialogues are chatty and quite funny in places.
The direction of Nagraj Popatrao Manjule is top notch. There were many films in this field like CHAK DE INDIA ABCD HICHKI , etc. But you don’t get a déjà vu, since Nagraj is set in a very real world and also because of the finer nuances. His storytelling is poised and entertaining, and the way he explores certain social issues is believable. The great thing is that he doesn’t let it become a niche product. The symbolism that he tries to convey at various points is easily understandable even for a mass audience. On the other hand, the film is too long at 178 minutes. The introduction to the setting and the characters is quite lengthy. Ideally, the film should be shortened by around 20-30 minutes. The first half is pretty punchy and the second half has its share of captivating sequences as well. The second half of the film touches on a different way of fighting the slum team.
JHUND starts off great and Vijay’s first interaction with Ankush is too good. Adding to the fun is the scene where he pays the kids to play soccer. The film gets better, however, as the creators convincingly show how the kids are adapting to the sport and are now willing to put in the time for no financial return. The soccer game with the college team makes up a large part of the first half and is quite exciting. The sequence in which these children discuss their lives with Vijay is moving and brilliantly executed. After the break, some sequences stand out, like the kids themselves cleaning up the college grounds, Monika’s (Rinku Rajguru) fight for her passport, and the courtroom sequence. The climax is nerve wracking.
Amitabh Bachchan has delivered several bravura performances in his long and illustrious career. Nevertheless, he amazes with his appearance in JHUND. He keeps his plot low key and it works great. Ankush Gedam is a big surprise of the film and gets considerable screen time. Priyanshu Kshatriya is hilarious as Babu. He ensures maximum laughs. Yogesh Uikey is great in the scene where he plays the banjo. Rajiya Kazi is decent. Kishor Kadam is good in the role of the antagonist. Angel Anthony and Vishakha Uikey don’t get much leeway. The same applies to Bhushan Manjule (husband of Raziya) and Chhaya Kadam (wife of Vijay). Arjun Radhakrishnan (Arjun; Vijay Borade’s son) is fine and confusing as he returns to India to be with his father. Surat Limbo (Khelchand; peon turned footballer) is doing well. Ashish Khachane (Jagdish; suicidal persona) is endearing, but his character suffers from the lack of a backstory. Sayali Narendra Patil (Bhavana) looks stunning and is passable. Nagraj Popatrao Manjule (Hitler) is wasted. Manik Babulal Gedam (Monika’s father) is good. Suresh Vishvakarma (shopkeeper asked to help with identification process) is funny. JHUND also plays the actors of SAIRAT, Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar (Sambhya), and both play very well.
Aamir Khan’s reaction to Jhund | Amitabh Bachchan | Nagraj Popatrao Manjule | Ajay Atul | Bhushan Kumar
Ajay-Atul’s music is decent. ‘Aaye Ye Jhund Hai’ is relegated to the background but is foot tapping. ‘Lafda Zala’ is well shot and reminiscent of the ‘Zingat’ Trace of SAIRAT. ‘Laat Maar’ and ‘Baadal Se Dosti’ are passable. Saket Kanetkar’s background score is much better and enhances the impact.
Sudhakar Yakkanti Reddy’s cinematography is novel and the slum and soccer scenes in particular are very well captured. The production design of Snigdha Katmahe and Pankaj Shivdas Poal is very realistic. Priyanka Gayatri Dubey and Mahananda Sagare’s costumes are non-glamorous as required by the script. Veera Kapur Ee’s costumes for Amitabh Bachchan are a bit boring, but it suits the character. The cut of Kutub Inamdar and Vaibhav Dabhade could have been tighter.
Overall, JHUND is an excellent social entertainer, with Nagraj Popatrao Manjule‘s writing and direction and the performances are his core strengths. It has the potential to grow significantly at the box office as word of mouth will surely be very positive. It also deserves tax-free status. Recommended!