Director Prakash Kovelmudi sketches weird and absurd characters amid a thrilling plot to still give you faith in sense and logic
How many times have you actually had characters and a narrative totally upside down with symbolic meanings in everything that you see? Probably the first of it’s kind flick Bollywood has ever seen, Judgementall Hai Kya turns your world around in how you identify your protagonists. Call it psychological thriller. Call it black comedy. Or simply call it madcap. The film right from the word ‘go’ takes you on a journey that will break conventional notions right till the end credits roll. Mind you, this is not your regular Bollywood thriller. Get ready for surprises.
Having had a traumatic childhood as a result of domestic violence in her home, Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) is an eccentric personality. She is a dubbing artist with a knack of relating herself with the characters she dubs for. She has a loving couple Keshav (Rajkummar Rao) and his wife Reema (Amyra Dastur) as her tenants. But she has her own reasons on believing that Keshav will kill Reema. Things twist when the murder actually happens.
It’s Kanika Dhillon’s writing. Story and screenplay both. Expect the unexpected. What comes across right in your face is the characterization. Intelligent and smart.
On one hand, Bobby has been given a backstory and a profession containing a universe of connotations. The voices she dubs, the character traits she relates to and eventually becomes one with them; topping it how it has been shown on screen treat your cinematic instincts so well that you are bowled over. Inclusion of cockroach, a beggar giving life lessons, and her origami only from newspaper cuttings of rape and murder news- give her character an edge. On the other hand, you have Keshav, the more sane one, but still having a world full of intrigue and puzzles. And to note, they aren’t partners. Dhillon has etched the supporting cast also too well that you get a feel worth a lifetime.
Primarily, it’s a thriller and literally keeps you on the edge of your seats all throughout. The suspense keeps on building and building till you reach the zenith of your excitement. And all this, while you are still decoding what the characters’ mannerisms actually mean. The scenes crafted are sharp and pacy and situations mixed with dark humor, intellect, and not-so-routine behavior.
With a whole lot of references to Ramayana in modern twist and making you move along with the suspense part of the film, the film is unlike other typical thrillers. But still very much enjoyable. The protagonist seeing the world upside down in her introductory scene, notions of society towards a person exhibiting erratic behavior, graffiti on the walls conveying emotions, and the color coding of the scenes taking the narrative to a different level- all make the film exclusive.
Only thing, as with all psychological thrillers worldwide, there’s always a section of audience that is put off by the narrative. Comprehension requires you to get into a zone. And that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. This film also will witness people who’ll rub the film off instantly.
Rajkummar Rao is in top form, as always, literally. Is there a role he can’t ace? He instills confidence in him yet again where he hits a masterstroke every time he occupies the frame. Keshav is a secretive character and Rao leaves no space for you to root for him at any moment. You doubt Keshav at all points, and that’s where Rao emerges a winner. And yes, he looks amazingly handsome too.
Kangana Ranaut. Take a bow. No doubts about her acting genius. She does it once again. It’s her character right from the beginning that has you in awe of her. Things that she does and more importantly, how she does those is a delightful feat. She’s just out of an asylum. Backstory. Profession of dubbing voices. Symbols. Characters she lives and aspires to become. Connotations. Kangana brings a certain likability to Bobby that you adore her and also disgust her, but can’t ignore her.
Hussain Dalal has Bobby’s manager cum boyfriend (that’s what he believes at least) is a charmer. He makes all his scenes belong to him and only him.
Amyra Dastur is good too, with an inherent sweetness she brings in the plot amidst the otherwise mad people. Amrita Puri too has her moments and makes an impression.
Jimmy Shergill in a very different avatar is a great surprise. You’ll fall for him. Brijendra Kala too delivers a decent act. Satish Kaushik is fine, underutilized in Fact.
Music is hit already. The songs however don’t contribute much to the narrative scheme in that sense. The background score by Daniel George is exemplary. Simply outstanding. Had it not been for such an amazing score, the spirit would not be even half. It creates an aura and binds the film as one fun ride.
Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography is to pay special attention to for the messages it conveys through stylized lighting. The color palletes, shot compositions, and the framing are all in sync with basic notion of the film being quirky in nature. He’s the Tumbbad guy. Need we say more about his commendable genius? Visually, it’s a piece to be cherished and finding cinematic granduer in almost all sequences. Thanks to the rich production design by Ravi Srivastava.
Editing by Shweta Venkat, Sheeba Sehgal, and Prashant Ramchandran is brilliant. The flow in the sequences of the thrilling plot, transitions from one point to another and making the entire film a definitive structure is beautifully done. As the film nears climax, it’s impeccable editing that does the job.
Films like these are rarely made. If you are a cinema buff, this one’s for you. For all the cinematic aspects playing together. If you are a casual cinema goer, this one’s definitely for you. For all the elements that are shown so differently. This one is a must watch. An unusual film.