Jai Ho Democracy: Film Review- A slapdash satire

Remember Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro? Of course you do. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was a satire on society, builders and corruption. Jai Ho Democracy, on the other hand, is a contemporary satire on politics, the media and obviously, the democracy. The film relies on heavyweights like Annu Kapoor, Om Puri and Satish Kaushik to carry it to the masses. Puri and Kaushik were a part of the 1983 classic, and the director of Jai Ho Democracy, Ranjit Kapoor, was also the screenwriter for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. Coincidence!

Now, about the film. Jai Ho Democracy has a good cast- Adil Hussain, Annu Kapoor, Om Puri, Satish Kaushik, Seema Biswas and Aamir Bashir. It also has a good idea to back it- the satirization of border politics, media shenanigans and the ineffectiveness of the government. What it does not have is a coherent flow of thought, which makes the film feel like a hodgepodge of random scenes.

Jai Ho Democracy opens with a shot of no-man’s-land, between the Indian and Pakistani borders. Out of nowhere, both sides see a chicken in the area. They begin shooting at each other, since they both want the chicken, because why not?! Finally, the Indian forces send a jawan to retrieve the chicken, but the Pakistani soldiers begin firing at him, and he falls into a trench. The man cannot escape, and an emergency meeting is called by the top politicos of India, to rescue the soldier and the chicken. However, something as far fetched as a chicken in no-man’s-land doesn’t really impress and makes you shift uneasily in your seat.

Jai Ho Democracy does manage to throw a few good laughs your way, especially with its portrayal of the unscrupulous media honchos, who’ll do anything for a good headline and ministers who dilly-dally and get nothing done. However, the presentation of the proceedings in an official meeting is almost ridiculous, with ministers uttering profanities and making each other do sit-ups.

Adil Hussain delivers a convincing performance as Major Baruah, a disabled war veteran-turned-politician, while Seema Biswas is much too screechy on-screen, but mellows down in the second half. Annu Kapoor plays a South Indian judge, complete with a hammy accent, that seems much too fake, while Om Puri and Satish Kaushik, as always, turn in honest performances.

Why Should You Watch the Film?

All in all, Jai Ho Democracy is funny in places, but the team could have done much more with the powerhouse cast and issues which have so much potential to be rib-tickling, if satirized. Watch it over the weekend!

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