Jogi Movie Review: Ali Abbas Zafar is in a different zone altogether right now. Done with turning Salman Khan even more badass in Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, Ali Abbas Zafar turned to OTT with Taandav and courted plenty of controversies with the political web-series. And now, he comes out with Jogi, a Netflix film that revisits the scars of the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, a horrifying aftermath of the then PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination by her two Sikh bodyguards, which left thousands of people from the community massacred. Say what, despite dealing with terrorism and religious intolerance in the past, Jogi is Zafar’s gutsiest and most mature work to date, even if it does lean to the trappings of a mainstream film later on. Jogi: Diljit Dosanjh Opens Up About His Upcoming Netflix Film, Says ‘Important That a Story Is Said in a Credible Yet Sensitive Manner’.
Diljit Dosanjh plays Joginger aka Jogi, a young Sikh man living in a mohalla in Delhi who finds his peaceful existence shattered, along with many others of his community, on the day Indira Gandhi was killed. They are hounded, stabbed or burnt alive by hooligans hired by the opportunistic politicians of the political party. The representative of those villains is Tejpal (Kumud Mishra), a councillor who has brought in the police to help out the rioters, using voters’ list to target each and every Sikh in the city.
As a desperate Jogi races against time and death to save his family and other surviving Sikh residents of his lane, he gets support from his two friends, a conscientious cop Rawinder (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) and a Muslim owner of transport business Kaleem (Paresh Pahuja) in his rescue mission.
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Jogi is set across three days and is packaged as an intense thriller. Like with the recent Rocketry – The Nambi Effect, the movie begins with Jogi’s family having this fun playful moment with each other in their home, but the scene changes for the worse when some of them step outside their home oblivious to the news that a few kilometres away, the PM is shot down and there is an anger brewing against the Sikh community. Jogi and his father get heckled in the bus, while his brother-in-law gets burnt alive in his own shop by the rioters. That’s the terrifying start to an ordeal, which thankfully, the director doesn’t exploit for ‘effect’ sake, and yet doesn’t flinch away from depicting how horrifying the situation is for the victims.
A few scenes make you tether on the edge of your seats, like when Jogi and Rawinder go to Tejpal’s warehouse to collect diesel with a truck of hidden escapees. Or their clash with toll attendants near the border of the state. Even the emotional scenes work. Like, when Jogi had to cut his hair for the sake of the greater good; the emotional turmoil that he goes through is well-depicted.
Another aspect that Jogi harps on is how the protagonist is helped in his rescue mission by his Hindu and Muslim friends (the actors who play them are Muslim and Hindu respectively in nice, heartwarming switcheroo). Particular focus is on the equation between Rawinder and Jogi, with the former rebelling against his bosses to help his friend, while the latter, under the extenuating circumstances, expects his friend to turn against him any time. It is hard not to empathise with Jogi in his suspicions, after all, as a character says in the film, their attackers are people they have known all their lives and were friends with them for all these years.
Hiten Tejwani plays Katiyal, one such friend, a cop who keeps betraying Jogi and Rawinder, and who had turned against Jogi much before that fateful day., using the genocide for his personal revenge. While the former Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi breakout star does a decent job here, his arc, and especially the flashback that explains the animosity, felt weaker towards the latter part of the film. The flashback gives a needless breather to the tense proceedings till then, and also felt like an unnecessary, melodramatic tool to explain tension between two characters. In a time when people turn against their own friends based on merely WhatsApp forwards, because the hatred is inherent with them, do we really need such a feeble explanation for why Katiyal acts the way he does? His volte-face in the final act is predictable and underwhelming as well. Rocketry – The Nambi Effect Movie Review: R Madhavan as Nambi Narayanan Excels Over Maddy the Director.
Similarly disappointing was how Jogi treats Tejpal in the climax. Kumud Mishra had done a excellent job of bringing forth the despicability of his character, flaming riots across the city to earn a seat in the elections, while keeping his family disconnected from the chaos. However, the final act turns him into a filmy villain, thereby taking away some of the realism from his vileness.
While Jogi does end of a whimper after a strong first and second acts, I feel the intentions of the movie deserves some praise. The movie reminds us how it is easy for politicians to engineer a calculated genocide within this country, how easy it is to spread flames of hatred and how they do so with the help of the law & order system that is supposed to prevent it from happen. Jogi may have taken place in 1984 and puts the present opposition party in the scanner for its involvement, but History has taught us that the template can be replicated anywhere and by anyone. And like the end-message of Jogi reiterates, it is in these times, that we need to construct our friendships stronger. Jogi has heart and well-intentions, and it deserves love for that.
Love also goes for Diljit Dosanjh’s effective performance as the hero forged by the circumstances. Save for a couple of shouting brawls, it is a restrained act from the singer-actor, who shines particularly in the most intense of the scenes. Like, when he cuts his own hair, or when he gives Katiyal a reality check about what happened in the past between them. Giving him a perfect foil is ever-dependable Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as the loyal and selfless cop determined to do the right thing, no matter what. Mishra is chilling as the antagonist, though I wish the finale wouldn’t have turned him into a snivelling villain. Also found the music to be very pleasant.
– Diljit Dosanjh
– Supporting Cast, Especially Ayyub and Mishra
– Few Intense Sequences
– The Third Act
While the final act could have been stronger, Jogi comes across as an intense drama that chillingly depicts the horrors of the 1984 riots, with all the needed sensitivity. The sincere performances of Diljit Dosanjh and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub are also commendable. Jogi is streaming on Netflix.
(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Sep 16, 2022 01:26 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website freshheadline.com).