Jugni Movie Review



Mustard fields do occasionally loom in the backdrop – that is inevitable – but Jugni has a glow that instantly sets it apart from the average Punjab film that Bollywood produces.

It looks, feels and sounds different. It has no Bhangra routines, no wedding songs, no inane lyrics, and no semi-clad floozies.

What the beautifully nuanced Jugni film has is a meaningful, if somewhat thin, plot peopled with eminently relatable characters.

The story is in the main set in a tangible world where Sufi poetry and music hold sway. The songs and scenes are rooted in the soil.

First-time writer-director Shefali Bhushan conjures up a specific place and culture with admirable precision.

The film’s opening sequence itself, which unfolds with a lilting folksy song (in the voice of Vishal Bhardwaj) in the background, sets the stage for the free-flowing tale.

The superb musical composition and the unfussy unveiling of the essence of the story and its milieu – a Mumbai composer arrives in rural Punjab looking for an unsung folk singer – immediately establish the film’s texture and tenor.

Into the central premise of a free-spirited girl’s voyage of discovery, the director weaves several other thematic strands that enhance the depth of the tale.

Jugni alludes to the plight of impoverished folk artistes, takes swipes at an exploitative music industry, delves into the complexities inherent in a clash of cultures, and subtly addresses notions of morality.

The protagonist Vibhavari (Sugandha Garg), the female firefly of the title, undertakes a dual journey – one takes her away physically from her comfort zone, the other draws her steadily into a deeper understanding of her own being.

She is a music director at a loose end, unable to deliver what the director of her first big break in Bollywood wants.

So Vibhavari takes off in search of Bibi Saroop (Sadhana Singh), an earthy voice that she believes will help her music soar into the big league.

But before she can find Bibi Saroop, she runs into the veteran singer’s equally talented son Mastana (played with impressive aplomb by debutant Siddhant Behl).

The latter’s zest for life and the striking quality of his voice instantly resonate with Vibhavari.

Mastana, who on his part is looking for an escape from his anonymity, allows Vibhavari a completely free run of his world, much to the consternation of Preeto (Anurrita Jha), the village girl who loves him.

The no-strings-attached encounter between Mastana and Vibhavari triggers a creative friendship that quickly gives way to a deep personal engagement.

Click here for more…