A simple, unpretentious and wide-eyed country boy is trying to be apologetic to the girl he’s been with all night under the same sheet. Local liquor brand can be held responsible but the girl is taken aback, “Sorry? What for?” “For everything”, the boy is in deep guilt. “Not for everything. Say sorry only for why you left me alone there.” The girl is definitely more independent, free and open, and emotionally less complicated. So is Shefali Bhushan’s JUGNI. It likes to have its own sense of rhythm with melodies that induce extreme likeness and energy in you to match up with the beats life throws at you.
Vibhavari [Sugandha Garg], a small-time music director from Mumbai lands in a small village in Punjab in search of soulful Sufi music that might give her all the recognition and respect she wants from the world. Her spell with the local talents greatly reminds you of Sneha Khanwalkar’s stint in MTV’s SOUND TRIPPIN. Old timer Bibi Saroop [Sadhana Singh] and her son Mastana [Siddhant Bahl] are her best bets. Where Bibi Saroop is more into earthy, emotional and expressive Sufi music, her son loves to be the man of masses. His songs can be as weirdly enjoyable as having rhyming words like ‘Kidney-Sidney’. The bonding over the music collaboration slowly starts overlapping on the relationships on both the sides. Mastana’s loudmouthed girlfriend Preeto [Anurrita Jha] knows for sure that no city girl can ever be trusted. The live-in partner of Vibhavari, Sid [Samir Sharma] still doesn’t understand much about her recent decisions in life.
Shefali, in her first directorial venture gives us a fresh breeze of storytelling that is highly enriched with melodic tunes, believable characters, some real good performances if not great, an eye-pleasing cinematography and a writing that never settles for being a regular. The music sessions filmed in/for the film are undoubtedly the best moments in the film. The participation of celebrated names like A R Rehman and Vishal Bhardwaj makes sure this small ‘all heart’ musical doesn’t remain small in terms of giving you a good time in theatres. Watching Sadhna Singh making a great comeback is a different pleasure all together. She is still very much skilled to enthuse life even in a dull frame. Anurrita Jha is effortless. Samir Sharma plays it as neat as it should be.
Siddhant Bahl impresses with his ease and energy. The job was to look a high-spirited, ever-excited and over the top character that wears more colors than the shade-card of any Paint manufacturing brand at any given time. And Siddhant is always at it. The other two names that make JUGNI work are Shellee and Sugandha Garg. Shellee’s dialogues range from being madly rustic to finely consequential. Sugandha on the other hand provides a solid support to the story with a character-sketch that can promptly ask for a quick financial help from her boyfriend soon after throwing at him a hint of break-up. She looks every bit of the free-spirited Vibhavari.
Overall, JUGNI comes as a pleasant surprise that leaves you wanting more of its fresh approach in storytelling, likeable characters and a celebratory session of refreshing music. Some loose ends and an uneven screenwriting can always be overlooked if you are leaving the theatre and thinking of how soon you can get these soundtracks on your phone playlist. If not for anything else, for your EARS only! [3/5]