Lost in transit
Film: Judgmental Hai Kya
Director: Prakash Kovelamudi
Writer: Kanika Dhillon
Cast: Rajkumar Rao, Kangana Ranaut, Satish Kaushik, Varnisha Kapoor
First thing first, the film is not an extension of the trailer. There are no experiments with blades on the tongue, no steamy sex scene, in fact, nothing controversial that will get you in a tizzy.
Second, after watching the film I feel that the altered title is more suited for the story than the original Mental Hai Kya.
A little girl skillfully cuts birds out of paper and dresses up her room; she is accustomed to isolation, accustomed to violence at home so every time a fight ensues between the parents, she curls inside the desk cupboard waiting for the shrieks to diffuse. Sometimes she challenges the abuse and that day the ugly fight ends forever!!
20 years pass by…
Bobby Batliwala/ Kangana Ranaut works as a voice-over artist during the day travels by rickshaws and in the evening, creates birds out of old newspapers! Once a while she does work out to stay fit and when her manager escorts her, attends to her grocery shopping at a nearby mall. She is spunky and life is fairly uncomplicated or so it seems.
You sense the first crack when Keshav/ Rajkumar Rao and Rima/ Amyra Dastur arrive as tenants at her vintage home and the next time when they quit the place after a tragedy!
The first half is a cluster of disturbing images as cats and cockroaches crawl all around the frame. Bobby lives the characters she lends her voice to and documents these films indulging in elaborate photo shoots.
You are clueless about what is going on except that the protagonist is awake most of the night staring into the rainy street wearing her binoculars. Post interval the story shifts to London where Rajkumar Rao is now Shravan and Varunisha Kapoor is pregnant Megha.
Bobby has been out of work for some time and Tauji has requested Megha to invite her to the city and cheer her up, so Megha has an assignment for her cousin to be an understudy of Sita in the new Ramleela staging soon.
There are some beautiful moments at the workshop when Jimmy Shergill playing director conducts trust exercise and Kangana is unable to submit to her team member, another time when she visits Megha to share a secret but is unable to.
The duration is only two hour but the film drags endlessly. It addresses Mental Health but without responsibility. It refrains to define/ describe the ailment of the character. There is no detailed diagnosis, no line of treatment and no history of a family physician acquainted with the patient’s history.
In the quest of building suspense, the writer misses out essential back-stories and detailing. The opening credits prepare you for a compelling watch but ends in a confusing climax where the protagonist is grossly out of character.
Then must you watch Judgemental Hai Kya? I will say ‘yes’ for the unconventional experience in terms of frames and sound effects. For the understated cameo of Satish Kaushik, for Rajkumar Rao who embraces the most complex characters with amazing ease and most importantly, for Kangana Ranaut and her mastery of craft. Ranaut serves us yet another marvelous performance.
JHK had the potential to become a trendsetter but got lost in transit. I rate Judgemental Hai Kya with 2.5 stars.