Jalsa is a Tamil film with a cast of mostly newcomers. The plot revolves around three students from different social backgrounds in Travancore, India, who come together to protest for the rights of their caste and work each other’s marriage prospects.
Director Suresh Triveni delivers a casting coup of sorts with the fantastic cast, while also chronicling a relatable and compelling story about how a self-righteous attitude fails in the face of adversity.
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Jalsa Movie Review (2022)
If you come to a decision or a possible narrative after watching the trailer, let me shatter your bubble. The teaser is quite deceptive, and it was done on purpose. Everything will be turned upside down in the film. Vidya and Shefali are two women who are going to turn this world upside down. God, I can’t stop gushing about how amazing these ladies are and how important it is for us to value them!
It’s difficult to talk about Jalsa without giving away the plot, but I’ll try for the sake of cinema. Triveni is listed as a director, writer, actor, music composer, and producer on IMDb. Is there anything else? Following Tumhari Sulu (a fantastic slice of life film), the filmmaker wrote Jalsa with collaborator Prajwal Chandrashekar. Jalsa is an enigma that is completely contradictory and 10 times darker than usual. Two women from different social backgrounds are at odds on the brink of collapse for reasons that are both personal and societal.
The characters are not drawn to be perfectly one shade in any given scene and often shift between colors. Maya (Vidya) is portrayed as a woman who truth and helps those she envisioned herself needing help. However, when the time comes for her to act selflessly, starts running away instead. But later on, regrets what she’s done and breaks down from the guilt. Ruksana (Shefali) works for Maya but belongs to the discriminated section of society that faces many difficulties. She has big aspirations for her children, and she does not force the “Gully” accent on them, which is wonderful. When she’s bribed to keep quiet about the case, she asks for more money but also wants to know who the culprit is. So it’s a morality play in which everyone gets tested.
The author with the crew integrates the writing in real life and by the start of the film, these characters become three-dimensional for the audience. Alia-Ranbir’s connection or how journalism functions now connect viewers more strongly. After a time, you forget this is a movie you’re watching because it becomes natural to believe in what happens next.
The Jalsa writing is designed to have a domino effect at some point. The writers so effectively place characters in the context of events that their influence may be felt around 40 minutes later, when everything would make sense. Every single frame is interfered with and serves a purpose. Even if it’s a police officer who claims to be the most honest and is about to retire, or one who takes a bribe and justifies it, every person has an objective. Every minute has a function to perform.
The dialogue in this film is smart, and it helps the protagonist make his point in a more blended manner. The commentary about journalism is crisp, showing class division without seeming preachy. However, it also seems a bit underplayed. Exploring the divide between the two classes would have made the drama more intense.
Jalsa’s humor doesn’t come from a separate place, it comes out of the seriousness of the situation. something that isn’t supposed to be funny for the characters turns into a joke for the audience. It’s enjoyable to watch how naturally a joke can land, and it only has enough life to register itself without pulling the audience away from the required darkness.
Jalsa is title comes from a story arc you can’t predict without watching the film. The movie is about a filmmaker growing and two very famous actors exploring their art form—maybe even surprising themselves in the process. And what came out of all this exploration was not just something new, but also an example of how to make a noir film differently.
Prajwal Chandrashekar, Abbas Dalal(dialogue), Hussain Dalal(dialogue)
Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah, Rohini Hattangadi