Tag Archives: Jugni

Streaming Video News: May 25, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with one new addition to the catalog, just in time for the long Memorial Day weekend. The Hindi biographical drama Rang Rasiya is now available for streaming, although it’s listed in the Netflix catalog under its English title Colours of Passion. The screenshot below seems to indicate that Netflix itself isn’t sure what to call it.

Rang Rasiya started on the international festival circuit in 2008 before running afoul of the Indian censor board, which delayed its theatrical release until 2014. I remember my disappointment when it didn’t release in US theaters. I looked back through my posts to read what I wrote about it at the time, only to find this gem from 2011 that ruined my day:

As if the eight Indian films showing in Chicago area theaters this weekend weren’t enough to keep you busy, the second annual Chicago South Asian Film Festival opens tonight with a screening of 2008’s Rang Rasiya, followed by a Q & A session with the movie’s stars, Nandana Sen and Randeep Hooda. Actor Gulshan Grover, whose film I Am Kalam screens on Saturday, is also expected to be in attendance at the opening night gala.

RANDEEP WAS IN CHICAGO, AND I DIDN’T GO SEE HIM. BRB, gotta build a time machine so I can yell at myself for being a lazy dope.

Also worth noting are the ten Hindi TV shows and movies expiring from Netflix on June 1. It’s last call for the films Neerja, Jugni, Kajarya, and Rebellious Flower, and the shows Stories by Rabindranath Tagore, Dharmakshetra, Dariba Diaries, Kahi Suni, Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyan, and Sanrachna. Of course Neerja is great (Jim Sarbh!), but I really enjoyed Jugni as well. Fans of Radhika Apte will want to check her out in Stories By Rabindranath Tagore while they can.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with a few new additions, including Halla Ho (Punjabi), Black Stallion (Malayalam, Hindi-dubbed), and Belli Don (Kannada, Hindi-dubbed). For everything else new on Prime — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

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Movie Review: Jugni (2016)

Jugni3 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the movie at Amazon or iTunes
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon or iTunes

Writer-director Shefali Bhushan makes a promising debut with Jugni. Despite some plot hiccups, Bhushan’s film shows her knack for characterization and her passion for music.

The plot issues are present from the beginning. As the opening credits run, a woman travels from Mumbai to Hasanpur, a small town in Punjab. It’s a full twelve minutes before we learn that the woman is named Vibs (short for Vibhavari), played by Sugandha Garg, who’s gaining recognizability with roles in Patang, My Name Is Khan, and the Tere Bin Laden films.

Vibs is a rookie music director looking for fresh talent for a movie soundtrack. Her target is a lauded classical singer named Bibi Saroop (Sadhana Singh), but Bibi’s son Mastana (Siddhant Behl) gets to Vibs first. Mastana is also a singer, though his tastes are more modern than his mother’s. For example, the lyrics of his biggest hit on the local party circuit rhyme “kidney” with “Sydney”.

The amount of time Vibs and Mastana spend together rankles Preeto (Anuritta Jha), Mastana’s de facto girlfriend. She and Bibi worry that Mastana is reading too much into Vibs’ interest in him, letting Bollywood dreams cloud his vision.

Mastana is used to being the big fish in his small pond, so he’s certain his local fame will translate to success in Mumbai. Even when their song is a hit, Vibs cautions Mastana about the fickleness of the industry. Promises made in Mumbai don’t mean as much as they do in Hasanpur.

This city-versus-country conflict is at the heart of Jugni, not just in the way it governs careers but relationships as well. Preeto and Mastana aren’t officially girlfriend-boyfriend because they don’t need to be; it’s just a given that they will get married someday. On the flip side, Vibs shares an apartment with her boyfriend, Sid (Samir Sharma), but recent problems have rendered their relationship essentially an open one.

A night of passion between Vibs and Mastana holds different meaning for both of them. While Vibs treats it as a fling, Mastana considers it the foundation for a romantic relationship. Much like his dreams of success in Bollywood, he also envisions a future with Vibs and pushes Preeto aside to make way.

Refreshingly, Bhushan doesn’t take the side of either character, presenting them as complex young adults at a critical stage in their lives. Mastana is naive, but is he wrong to view sex with Vibs as a significant, possibly life-changing event? Vibs is nonchalant, but why shouldn’t two adults be able to have fun without it requiring a commitment?

One side-effect of this balanced presentation is a blurring of who the film’s main character actually is. That then clouds the ultimate goals for each character, making it hard to get a sense of where we are in the story at any given point. Not every movie needs to rigidly follow a traditional structure, but Bhushan shows enough familiarity with that structure that certain deviations just make things confusing.

As for the performances, Behl — who also gets an associate writer credit for Jugni — imbues Mastana with a mixture of innocence and arrogance. Garg has a challenging job because Vibs spends a lot of time listening to other people play music, and it’s hard to make that look interesting onscreen. Garg is good at portraying Vibs’ internal conflict, making her vacillation understandable without coming across as manipulative.

Jugni is an aesthetic delight for both eyes and ears. The movie looks lovely, thanks to cinematographer Divakar Mani. Clinton Cerejo provides a terrific soundtrack, with contributions from luminaries like A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj.

There’s an awful lot to like about Jugni. I’m really interested to watch Shefali Bhushan grow as a filmmaker.

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Streaming Video News: June 1, 2016

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with eight (!) additions to the streaming catalog. The reincarnation revenge movie Makkhi returns to the service, along with seven movies new to Netflix. Highlights include two India-only releases from earlier this year — Jugni and Rebellious Flower — and Talvar (listed at Netflix as “Guilty“), one of my favorite films of 2015. Here’s the full list of newly added titles: