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'Jogi’ Review: Diljit Dosanjh Shines in an Intense But Dawdling Film

'Jogi' starring Diljit Dosanjh is currently streaming on Netflix.

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When films are based on horrifying moments in history, they have a responsibility towards the people whose stories they’re telling – to create an authentic and honest retelling. Diljit Dosanjh’s Jogi manages to catch on to that thread. 

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The film opens in India in October 1984 – we’re already prepared for what is to come, especially after the brief recall to Operation Blue Star. Instead of jumping right into the horrors of the 1984 Sikh riots, director Ali Abbas Zafar sets the scene with Dosanjh’s Jogi's family at breakfast.

The serenity of the scene serves to remind the viewer of the chaos that is to follow and to show a glimpse into what is at stake and what will inevitably be lost to violence. 

When it comes to the depiction of violence against Sikhs by mobsters, Jogi manages to create both tension and empathy. Through Jogi’s eyes, the viewer watches as people are killed or burnt alive, cluing in to his helplessness and fear. 

Diljit Dosanjh in a still from Jogi.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

As the lead, Dosanjh proves his mettle as an actor and he is also hoisted by an able cast surrounding him. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub (as Rawinder Chautala) shines in his role as a police officer who decides to go against his superior to help Jogi in his quest to protect his family and neighbours from the relentless mob. 

Their mission isn’t an easy one naturally because they’re not only facing a mob but also an inactive police department and a hateful local politician Tejpal Arora played by Kumud Mishra.

A still from Jogi.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The way Jogi shifts between scenes of Delhi being set ablaze and Arora nonchalantly going about his day is commendable. 

Within the chaos is confusion – an unnecessary love story derails the film for a while, also taking away time that could’ve been used to flesh out Jogi’s relationship with the people around him. 

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Rawinder is Jogi’s friend and Hiten Tejwani as Lali is his enemy, but the story didn’t leave any place for the audience to truly understand these dynamics beyond the characters’ actions. 

The film isn’t using any new visuals or themes but they’re mostly heartbreakingly effective. Remember the scene in Laal Singh Chaddha of Mona Singh cutting a young Laal’s hair in an attempt to save his life? Jogi brings in similar sentiments but somehow makes them even more effective than the latter. 

A still from Diljit Dosanjh-starrer Jogi.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

As Jogi drives a truck across Delhi with his Sikh friends waiting inside with bated breath, the stakes are at an all time high. The background music by Julius Packiam keeps at a pace that’s comfortable for the viewer while also creating the right atmosphere for every scene. 

However, by the time the film lulls to its ending, it has been too long. We get a fleeting glimpse into Arora’s motivations which is disappointing considering the sinister nature of it deserved more screen space. 

Focusing on human nature to tell stories of human interest is natural, and sometimes crucial, but there is a balance required to escape the trope-ism of cinema and Jogi doesn’t strike that balance. 

A still from Jogi.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

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Jogi isn’t a perfect film –  there are scenes that seem unrealistic or half-baked –  but it is an honest film. And with the story it’s trying to tell, honesty goes a long way.

Jogi starring Diljjit Dosanjh is currently streaming on Netflix.

Rating: 3 Quints out of 5

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Topics:  Diljit Dosanjh   Jogi 

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