Jogi Review 3.0/5 & Review Rating
YOGI is the story of an ordinary man who becomes a hero. The year is 1984. Joginder Singh aka Jogi (Dijit Dosanjh) lives with his parents at Lane no 6, Trilokpuri, Delhi. His sister Heer (Charu Kumar) is married to Tajinder (KP Singh) and they also live in the same area with their son Prab (Samarjit Singh Mahajan). On October 31, 1984, the Indian Prime Minister was assassinated by her Sikh guards. As a result, members of the Sikh community in the National Capital are being attacked, mainly on orders from higher government authorities. Tejpal Arora (Kumud Mishra), the Trilokpuri MLA, realizes that his chances of getting a ticket to the Lok Sabha elections would be better if he massacred Sikhs in his constituency. He commands Inspector Kuldeep and Inspector Chautala (Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub) to help the rioters in the massacre. The attacks begin in Trilokpuri. Tajinder is burned alive along with his shop. Jogi, his family, Heer and other Sikh residents of Lane No. 6 take refuge in a nearby gurudwara. Chautala is an old friend of Jogi’s and he doesn’t approve of the idea of killing innocent people. He meets Jogi at the Gurudwara and advises him to flee with his family to Punjab where he is safest. Jogi refuses and makes it clear that he will flee to the shrine with everyone present. Chautala gets his point. He forges an escape plan. With a heavy heart, Jogi cuts his hair short and takes off his turban so he doesn’t look like a Sikh. Both then approach their friend Kaleem Ansari (Paresh Pahuja), who runs a truck business. Kaleem gets a truck ready, and the trio fill part of the vehicle with weapons and other items. The truck is taken to the Gurudwara and Jogi orders the seniors and the children to get on the truck. He then drives it towards Mohali on the Punjab border. Chautala escorts the truck with his police vehicle so it is not stopped or searched. Meanwhile, Inspector Katiyal aka Lali (Hiten Tejwani), an old enemy of Jogi, learns of his plan. He complains about it to Tejpal. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
The story of Ali Abbas Zafar and Sukhmani Sadana is moving and yet has commercial trappings. There have been several films in Hindi and Punjabi cinema about the anti-Sikh riots, but JOGI stands out. The script, written by Ali Abbas Zafar and Sukhmani Sadana, is simple and captivating. However, the flashback portion slows the effect in the second half. Ali Abbas Zafar and Sukhmani Sadana’s dialogues are tough.
Ali Abbas Zafar’s directing is decent. The subject matter is a bit niche, but he treats it in a commercial way. He also doesn’t overdo it while making it mainstream. The riot scenes are well executed and the same goes for the emotional moments. It also adds to the thrill element nicely. The message of religious identity comes across convincingly. On the other hand, the first half moves at a slow pace. Ali also weakened a lot in the second half. When the tension is at an all-time high, he suddenly gets caught up in the flashback part with Kammo (Amyra Dastur). There is no doubt that this track was important in showing what went wrong between Jogi and Lali. But ideally the director should have started this film with the love trail. It would have helped to understand the equation between the characters. It would also have made sense to viewers why Lali embarrasses Jogi in front of the MLA.
JOGI begins with a brief introduction to the protagonist and his family. In no time the focus shifts to the assassination, followed by the riots. A few scenes that stand out in the first half are Heer denying her husband’s death, Jogi cutting his hair, and Jogi apologizing to his mother. The scene where Jogi, in order to escape the MLA’s thugs, is forced to enter his supply farm with the Sikhs hidden in his truck is a nerve-wracking one. The madness at the Karnal Toll Booth is thrilling. The scene at the Mohali police checkpoint is moving yet applaudable. Another gossip-worthy sequence is when Chautala skillfully gets the entire force to ambush the Gurudwara. The flashback part is nice, but like I said, it comes late in the day. Lali’s change of heart isn’t easy to stomach either. The final moves.
Yogi | Official Trailer | Diljit Dosanjh, Hiten Tejwani, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub | Netflix India
Diljit Dosanjh is best known for light-hearted roles. At JOGI he doesn’t put you in a bad mood and delivers a powerful performance. His personality and acting are such that he looks convincing while vulnerable and even when he chooses to fight back. Kumud Mishra is great as an antagonist. As expected, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub delivers a brilliant performance. Hiten Tejwani is decent. Amyra Dastur looks pretty and is fine in a cameo. Paresh Pahuja provides competent support. Neelu Kohli (Jogi’s mother) leaves traces. Arvinder Singh Gill (Jogi’s father), Charu Kumar, Samarjit Singh Mahajan, KP Singh, Apinderdeep Singh (Sukhi; Jogi’s brother), Harnoor Babbar (Tejpal’s daughter) and Noyrika (Shehnaaz; Kaleem’s wife) are fair.
The music goes well with the narration of the film. ‘Saiyyaan Ve’ is the best of all and comes at an important point. The rock feeling is catchy. ‘Teerfreejan’ meanwhile forgotten ‘Mittar Pyaare Nu’ is moving. Julius Packiam’s background music is one of the film’s USPs as it adds to the thrill. Marcin Laskawiec’s cinematography is appropriate. Paramjeet Dhillon’s action is effective and not disruptive. The production design by Rajnish Hedao, Snigdha Basu and Sumit Basu is reminiscent of times gone by. Red Chillies VFX and Netfx Mumbai’s VFX is rich. Loveleen Bains costumes are realistic. Steven Bernard’s editing could have been sharper.
Overall, JOGI tells a moving story in a sensitive yet mainstream manner and draws on the brilliant performance of Diljit Dosanjh. However, the weak second half weakens the effect somewhat.