Keeping everything aside, I would first like to talk about Surya Kasibhatla, the child actor who played Vidya Balan’s son in the film, Jalsa. What a performance! No, his cerebral palsy in the film wasn’t a performance but what he did regardless of the disability is praise-worthy. And a big round of applause to the makers of the film for casting a child with the same disability that the character in the film had. A standing ovation to the kid who proved that the makers’ decision was right.
Let us now move on to the Jalsa film review. Answering the most asked question first – Is Vidya Balan’s Jalsa based on a true story? No, it is not! Jalsa is a story that we will find in every corner of India. It’s about a hit and run case, but the twist given to it is interesting. That is what makes this film different from other hit and run stories.
Jalsa is a story of two mothers, Ruksana (played by Shefali Shah) and Maya (played by Vidya Balan). While Ruksana works at Maya’s home as a cook and caretaker of her specially abled child, Ayush, Maya works for a digital news channel as a journalist. Ruksana’s daughter makes reels on social media and hence leaves the house late at night to create content with a guy friend when she comes to know that her mother won’t come home from work as she needs to be with Ayush the whole night. On the same unfortunate night, Ruksana’s daughter is hit by a car. The car stops, looks at the bleeding girl, decides not to help, and rushes home.
The person who hit Ruksana’s daughter is none other than Maya. While Ruksana, even while transferring her daughter from one hospital to another, is still concerned about Maya’s son, Maya is unable to confess that she is responsible for the accident. As the days pass, Ruksana’s daughter starts recovering while the police take it upon themselves to convince the family to withdraw the case in exchange for money.
The only interesting twist in the film is when Ruksana gets to know that Maya is responsible for the accident. Till then, as Maya moves the victim to a good hospital and takes care of all the expenses, the family adores the boss. But as the truth unfolds, Ruksana picks up Maya’s son from their own house and disappears. Neither does the son, nor the caretaker answers the call. In return, what Maya gets is a huge sum of money from Ruksana.
Will Maya be able to find her son? Or will Ruksana take him away as revenge? The ending of Jalsa is what keeps you hooked to the movie. Otherwise, the film fails to involve you mentally or emotionally. The story also has many loopholes like constables trying to shut the case by offering money to Ruksana and family as they were caught peeing on the road in the same camera in which the accident was captured. This whole police angle was idiotic and made no sense at all.
When it comes to the ending, the only part of the film that I actually liked, the way it unfolded later is again something I did not like. All the tension build-up was for nothing. Maybe as a writer, I would have loved to shock the audience so that the story would have stayed with them even after the film ended.
To wrap it up in one line, Jalsa is a one time watch.
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Streaming On: Prime Video