'Jalsa' movie review: Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah are phenomenal in this gripping drama

'Jalsa' movie review: Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah are phenomenal in this gripping drama

The story is more about Vidya’s character but Shefali equally grabs attention if not more.

It takes barely a few seconds to turn someone’s life upside down. Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Jalsa’ is about that and more as a hot shot journalist’s life goes through a 180 degree flip when she gets involved in the accident of a minor girl, who happens to be related to her. How the event disbalances her life, the tussle between truth and false are just some things that the writers-director touch upon in this intense drama film.

Directed by Suresh Triveni, starring Vidya Balan as Maya Menon, the prime-time news anchor who the entire city knows very well and Shefali Shah as her house help, Ruksana Mohammed, who takes care of her home and physically challenged child – the film is divided between these two leading ladies who are the anchor of the film. They keep the momentum high, emotions flared and the audience wanting for more every time they face the camera. You feel every beat of their dishonesty- loyalty, helplessness-ambition with each passing frame. The story is more about Vidya’s character but Shefali equally grabs attention if not more.

The film is paced well and doesn’t bore you at all. Even though it hints at societal disparities weighing Shefali and Vidya’s life choices, it still doesn’t become preachy or loud and lets you think what you want as an audience.

The supporting cast is great in their portions but we hoped the story let them flow freely for a bit more. We know what Manav Kaul is capable of, he should have had more scope as the estranged husband. Same is true for Maya’s mom Rohini Hattangadi as Rukmini who needed a bit more leg space in the character to shine.

'Jalsa' movie review: Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah are phenomenal in this gripping drama
Amitabh Bachchan greets fans outside Jalsa on his birthday

‘Jalsa’ is written like a contemporary film that lets the audience interpret the ending and decide whether what the protagonists did was right and define that ‘right’ for them. The climax is thus open-ended but has clarity. It doesn’t leave you with the feeling of having been left hanging at crossroads. It’s intelligent cinema and we are here for it!

‘Jalsa’ is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, 18th March onwards.

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