Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, Hiten Tejwani, Kumud Mishra, Amyra Dastur
Rating: 3.5 stars
Over the last decade, Ali Abbas Zafar has left a mark with big screen entertainers like Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Gunday, Sultan, Tiger Zinda Hai, and Bharat. He forays to the digital space with Jogi fronted by Diljit Dosanjh and as expected, he brings his own touch to this medium of entertainment. Jogi is set against the backdrop of 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, and Ali treats the subject with the utmost sensitivity and yet manages to keep the tone of narrative cinematic rather than opting for a docu-drama route.
The pioneer of Jogi is the writing by Ali and Sukhmani Sadana. While the film starts on a darker note with a visual representation of the 1984 Riots, it then switches gear to a thriller template by focusing on the evacuation of the Sikh community from Delhi. The biggest victory of the film lies in the fact that it makes you cheer for the victory of the characters in the narrative. The intermission block i.e. when the first truck reaches Punjab despite all troubles – is a claptrap moment. Another heart-warming moment in the narrative is when Jogi goes out of the way to get a bottle of milk for a new-born baby in the most adverse scenario. It’s a metaphor used by Ali to celebrate the triumph of the human spirit over hate.
Of course, Jogi isn’t free of flaws. While the love story does bring a different dimension to the tale, it acts as a hindrance in pre-climax. The filmmaker could have gotten done with the placement of flashbacks in the first half. The pace dips at times, but it’s a smartly written screenplay that gets back on track before spilling to far from the core conflict. Despite the flaws, it’s a film made with the right intentions thereby touching the right chords of emotion. The production values are top notch and it’s rather surreal how Ali and his team managed to recreate era gone with such perfection in pandemic times. The cinematography by Marcin Laskawiec is fine whereas the background score by Julus Packiam is another hero of the film. The BGM alone elevates the impact of certain sequences. The editing is crisp, but as mentioned above, some of the sequences do hamper the pace.
Talking of performances, Diljit Dosanjh lives the character of Jogi. He underplays it in the earlier portions, but explodes on the emotional front as the story progresses. Watch out for the moment when he sacrifices his hair for larger good of his community. He is phenomenal in that moment. Zeeshan Ayyub as does well as Jogi’s friend, whereas Hiten Tejwani is fantastic in the role of a cop with grey shades. Kumud Mishra is menacing and ruthless as a politician whereas Amyra Dastur is sincere in her brief appearance.
Overall, Jogi successfully manages to marry the drama with thrill. Despite some flaws, it has its heart in the right place thereby leaving an impact.