Trailer Review: ‘Judgementall Hai Kya’ Too Wacky For Its Own Good
I’m not a believer in “style over substance,” if anything I think Bollywood movies should have more style. It’s what makes great films memorable. However, going from its trailer, the Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao starrer Judgmentall Hai Kya looks like it could be case of too much style and some confusion over substance.
The Judgementall Hai Kya trailer starts off with the basic premise of the film: there’s been a murder and there are two suspects. Both have the police flummoxed and neither can be charged. Then we are introduced to the two suspects a.k.a. the two leads of the film. First, Bobby played by Kangana, looks like the latest in a line of quirky Bollywood heroines. She is described in the voiceover as ‘atrangi.’ But something is a bit off.
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Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know about the controversy Judgementall Hai Kya had been mired in. The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) had objected to the film’s original title, Mental Hai Kya, and the first posters which featured Kangana and Rajkummar indulging in some outré behaviour with tag lines like “Sanity is Overrated.” This lead to the film’s trailer release being delayed by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and its title changed.
Now, a keen eye can tell you that Kangana’s character is meant to have an undisclosed mental health issue. You can see glimpses of it in the trailer. Another character tells her, “Bahut complexes hain tumhe! Normal nahin ho tum!” At one point she is seen playing with a bottle of the anti-depressant Zoloft. In another scene, she is sent to an asylum by a judge. The choppy cutting in this portion of the trailer hints at last minute changes by the filmmakers to play it safe.
Next, we are introduced to Rajkummar’s Keshav, who happens to be Kangana’s neighbour and obsession. He has a “normal life, normal job” and a girlfriend. Kangana can’t help desire everything about him.
Then there’s the twist. The murder. We see Kangana desperately try to convince the cops that Rajkummar is not who he seems. He has another side, a secret life. He says she’s crazy. Thus begins a cat and mouse game where both characters are trying to suss each other out.
Here’s the part where the trailer gets muddled. It can’t decide if it wants to be a dark comedy or a sincere thriller. You can’t tell the tone of the thing at all. There are randomly-inserted scenes ending with Kangana enunciating the strangest “I will expose you!” In short, there is an overdose of wackiness mistaken for style.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think Kangana and Rajkummar are great actors and I’m especially excited to see Rajkummar play a scummy character. However, part of the fun of a film like this is if the audience genuinely does not know who to root for. Here we have a sleaze-ball going against a woman whom the trailer describes using every euphemism except, well, ‘mental.’ The scales are a bit tipped
I haven’t seen director Prakash Kovelamudi’s Telugu language films, but have appreciated writer Kanika Dhillon’s work. The trailer for Judmentall Hai Kya is strange enough that I want to see the film, but I’m cautious. Hopefully the film doesn’t have to suffer the harsh cuts the trailer seemingly did, and hopefully it doesn’t end up proving the IPS right. After all, Bollywood doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to mental illness.
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