Good Luck Jerry: Did Janhvi Kapoor pass her litmus test of acting?
Janhvi Kapoor stars in Good Luchk Jerry: a remake of the hit movie Kolamavu Kokila

Good Luck Jerry is an official remake of Kolamavu Kokila that had Nayanthara essaying the protagonist and was considered one of the best dark comedies of 2019. I haven’t seen that film and my review of Good Luck Jerry will solely be an appreciation and criticism of what I liked and disliked about this film. While the ones who have seen the original will undoubtedly draw parallels of this film with that in terms of the story, execution, and performances, I, thankfully am not burdened with that knowledge and hence can judge this film from the perspective of someone who walks into this without any priors with the story or the characters.

Jerry (Janhvi Kapoor) is having a hard life coping with financial troubles and getting herself a decent job after the sudden demise of her father. Her mother, Sarbatti makes momos for a living and detests Jerry’s choice of working as a massage therapist. Her younger sister Cherry is apparently studying but spends most of her time on the mobile and getting the better of the local boys. Things turn grim for Jerry and her family when her mother is diagnosed with lung cancer and a huge sum of money is required to save her life. Jerry has a chance encounter with Timmy and his gang who peddle drugs in the city and she realises that working as a drug mule might just give her the chance to earn enough to finance her mother’s treatment. Sadly things don’t go according to plan and her situation escalates from bad to worse pretty quickly.

Good Luck Jerry is directed by Siddharth Sen who understands how to construct intriguing gangsters that can be a variation of serious and darkly comic depending on the situation. He is also someone who knows where to draw a line between comedy and seriousness and hence is able to ensure that his gangsters never feel cartoonish and devoid of seriousness. This is one major aspect of Good Luck Jerry that works in its favour. The gangsters here are dangerous and at the same time, they are so stupid in certain situations and are so vulnerable to their own weaknesses that they turn out to be uproariously funny from time to time.

This is the biggest source of comedy for the film and Siddharth Sen makes fantastic use of this element of the film. Jaswant Singh Dalal who plays Timmy falls in love with Jerry and his love for her and her success as a mule casts such a looming shadow over his judgment that he doesn’t think twice before gunning down his own men when Jerry expresses her doubt about them being police informers. He is so smitten by her that he can’t even see that she is getting the better of him and his gang. It is only when she decides to move out of the business that he sees through her foxy ways but by then it is already too late.

Sahil Mehta plays Jigar, the right-hand man of Timmy and he is uproariously funny. His character is hyperactive and is always very sure of what he is doing. More than that, he looks down on others who he believes to be of lesser intelligence leading to some really funny altercations. In reality he is one of the dumbest guys in Timmy’s gang and his actions often leave the entire gang exposed. I loved the scenes where he is supposed to tail Jerry and her family as she transports a huge cache of drugs. Jigar is constantly harassed by different people enrout and he is unable to respond in his trademark style due to the delicate situation. This causes him immense pain. The expression of this bottled-up rage on his face was priceless.

Deepak Dobriyal plays a subtle variation of his much-loved character, Pappi from the immensely popular Tanu Weds Manu series. While it might feel repetitive for many, I just loved his rendition. It cracks me up every time. I just loved how Dobriyal portrays the character’s inability to accept the truth that Jerry doesn’t care about him and how he creates a fictional world around him wherein Jerry loves him and they are in a relationship. This fictional world blows up in one sensational release of all the bottled-up frustration that Dobriyal was documented carrying throughout a journey wherein he learns how badly he has led himself to be used and sidelined by Jerry.  

Sushant Singh in a cameo is effective. Saurabh Sachdeva as Maikl in a minuscule role is hilarious. The veteran acting powerhouse, Mita Vashisht is natural and effective as Jerry’s mother.   

That brings us to the biggest point of discussion in the film’s review — Janhvi Kapoor, the actor whose performance could make or break the film. She is not only the titular character but is also expected to carry the bulk of the load of keeping the audiences intrigued and making them relate to the tragedy of her character thereby rendering the character likable and relatable. She is successful in doing that. While the internet is ripe with comparisons of her portrayal of the character with that of Nayanthara’s rendition of the same character, I didn’t have any precedence with the character and was able to judge Janhvi Kapoor’s performance objectively.

I felt that she hit the right notes with the character and was able to evoke comedy and fear effectively. As the story progresses, she grows in confidence and is able to do things and show character traits that are in keeping with the metamorphosis of the character due to the situations that she and her family are thrust in. While she is constantly pushed to the wall and forced to do others’ bidding, she effectively finds a way to get what she wants and she does so in the most unassuming manner possible. Janhvi Kapoor was able to convey the right expression for depicting the character traits of Jerry and I was convinced of the things that her character is shown doing and saying. Thus she ends up being one of the strongest aspects of the film and this should prove to one and all that she can act well when given the right direction.

Having said all that, the film also has its share of issues.

After the initial setup, the story becomes very repetitive. Jerry is incessantly chased by the drug dealers and she outsmarts them in every step. Sadly, how she does this is too much to digest. The situations feel repetitive and so does the action of the characters involved. While believability goes for a toss and the writers appear to have run out of ideas, the film culminates hurriedly without ensuring a proper release for the audiences. The climax is inadequate for a story of this nature and should have been an outrageous and hilarious affair. It must also be noted that while this film aims to be a dark comedy, the comic elements only work as long as the story and the suspension of disbelief are on track. Towards the end of the film, even the constant and well-executed comic moments start getting thinner resulting in the film turning tedious and somewhat boring.

Good Luck Jerry needed a few re-writes to iron out some of the major issues in the writing. It also needed more comedy in the second half. Janhvi Kapoor is quirky, funny, and engrossing and that in itself might be a big surprise for many. The entire supporting cast does a phenomenal job and many of them help in keeping the audience’s attention away from the gaping holes in the narrative. I had a good time with this film and that I believe will be the case with most of the audiences who walk into this film with an open mind and no preconceived notion of its leading lady’s inability to act.  

Rating: 3/5 (3 out of 5 Stars)   

Also read | Review: ‘Vikrant Rona’ is good but falls short of being great

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