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Jitendra Kumar’s Jaadugar is poison ivy in wrapping paper: Here are 5 things that are terribly wrong in the film

Also starring Javed Jaffrey and Arushi Sharma, the movie is now streaming on Netflix.

Jitendra Kumar’s Jaadugar is poison ivy in wrapping paper: Here are 5 things that are terribly wrong in the film
Jitendra Kumar/Instagram
  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 01.52 PM, Jul 19, 2022

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Jaadugar starring Jitendra Kumar, Javed Jaffrey and Arushi Sharma was released on Netflix last week. Set in a small football loving town, the movie follows Meenu (Kumar), a man who was born in a football loving family but hates the game. His love on the other hand, is magic and he aspires to become a magician. He falls in “love” with the new girl in town and has to try and win the local football tournament with his team of misfits to impress her father.

Yeah, sounds like an interesting plot line, doesn’t it. And it has football in it, so it has to be an interesting watch as well, right? To give the movie some credit, Jaadugar is a decent watch that could make you laugh a few times, and that’s all thanks to Kumar. But while the movie has decent making and an interesting way of storytelling, this sports comedy drama gets a whole lot of things wrong. It confines to the age-old romantic story that crosses the line into harassment, and just ends up becoming yet another Indian movie that feeds into all the wrong ideas about love and relationships. So let us look at all the things Jaadugar got wrong, and how it just turns the movie into a horror show.

This is not love, this is harassment

Stalking. The unwanted and repeated attention that you receive from another person, which renders you uncomfortable and is considered harassment and intimidation. Or in terms of classic Bollywood, “Shuddh Desi Romance”. When Meenu falls in love with Dr. Disha, who he has just met, the movie’s writers are forcing the biological phenomenon that occurs because of a few chemicals called “infatuation” down the viewers’ throat as “love at first sight’. And the scary thing is, this is not uncommon in Indian cinema, which still wants its viewers to think that stalking is indeed romance, and a stalker making his victim uncomfortable is him wooing her.

Meenu ends up following Disha, time and time again. He keeps coming back with one childish plan after the other, even after she makes it abundantly clear that she is feeling uncomfortable. While Bollywood still wants us to believe that this is love and All is fair in love and war, it is not. This is harassment and it has nothing to do with love.

Meenu - A selfish manchild

Jitendra Kumar is a funny guy. And Jaadugar is just more proof for this. He has a way of dealing with comedy and it works just fine. But with his character in Jaadugar, the writers get it horribly wrong once again. The character is a manchild who has no sense of personal space, manners, empathy, or a sense of direction. While this may define a few people you may even know, it is still their actions that define them. And in case of Meenu, there are more than one instance that sheds a dark light on him, but thanks to the miracle of Bollywood, he ends up being shown as the knight in shining armour. From stalking to pushing a man to suicide, he has no sense of idea about what is happening around him. His selfishness not only drives him, but it also affects others around him.

We are also reminded a few times that as a boyfriend, he is self-obsessed to a certain degree, that he often does not even listen to whole conversations he has with his girlfriends. Now that is not how any healthy relationship works. But then again, thanks to the power of cinematic storytelling, this can be turned into just another comic moment, and that’s the end of that.

Despite what you think, it’s a one man show

The movie has an array of supporting cast, including an entire football team of 12 other people. But that does not stop Jaadugar from being a script that terribly lets down all these characters. We are introduced to a football loving uncle, who has taken over Meenu after his parents passed away. He is a man who has dedicated his life in trying to win the local football tournament. All this sob story lasts for the first 30 minutes, after which he just ends up becoming yet another lifeless mannequin placed around Meenu. Forget character arcs or character depth, he does not even get to have a singular moment in the movie that does not end up being focussed on Meenu.

Now coming to the football team. There are 12 other players in Meenu’s team and all of them have their own individual peculiarities. One has an obsession for pleasing his brother-in-law while another has big glasses and is basically branded a loser. While one would expect in a movie that is close to three hours long, these characters would at least get some depth. But this is not the case. Jaadugar once again is happy solely focusing on Meenu, whose latest idea to creep into a woman’s heart, is by just creeping her out.

The football! Oh boy, the football

For a movie which has football as one of its core elements, Jaadugar ends up being a hilarious reboot of Shaolin Soccer, which was at least trying to be as over the top as they could. The football in Jaadugar is a disgrace to the beautiful game because it just ends up doing whatever they felt like with it. To be honest, this has been the case with most movies with some kind of sport in it in India for a long time. From Mohanlal’s Mahasamudram to Vijay’s Bigil, Indian cinema keeps doing football dirty. Forget scripting the game to your liking, Jaadugar goes the extra mile. Jaadugar goes from fictional to outright fantasy towards the end of the final football game, and it is annoying, especially if you love the sport.

Meenu, who has never hit a shot on target in his life, ends up putting the ball in the back of the net thanks to magic. Yup, they really went there. Meeu goes the The Karate Kid route (not the original, but the less superior one starring Jaden Smith from 2010), as he hypnotizes the goalkeeper using his magical abilities, to score a penalty past him. While the movie never really cared enough to give any credibility or originality to football, this just takes everything to a new level.

At that point, you are just left wondering if there would ever come a time when cinema finds a way to show some ounce of originality to the beautiful game.

If you are a movie hero, you are always the hero

Meenu ends up sabotaging his football team and ruining every chance of his teammates and coach achieving their dream, because he wants to show his lover’s father just how much she means to him. And once the teammates and his uncle/coach find out that he has been trying to ruin their chances of winning from the very start, they decide to come together, and forgive him. Even better, the writers have a long and touching speech prepared as a reason for this act of benevolence, because if it’s emotional, it has to work.

But then again, if the makers can make a grown man who has no real concept of love and is just a stalker into the hero, they can most certainly keep him as the hero for trying to ruin a plain old game of football.

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