Review: Shahid Kapoor’s ‘Jersey’ Comes Alive When It Moves Away From Action

Shahid Kapoor's 'Jersey', directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, is a remake of a Telugu hit of the same name.

Movie Reviews
3 min read

Jersey marks the Hindi directorial debut of Gowtam Tinnanuri who remade his own 2019 Telugu hit by the same name. It tells the story of Arjun Talwar, a failed but talented cricketer, who wants to make a comeback to the Indian cricket team in his late 30s to fulfill his son’s wish.

It wouldn’t be incorrect to consider Jersey a sports film considering it doesn’t deviate much from the tropes one has come to associate with the genre.

The underdog’s fight for redemption and honor, a tough coach, training montages and a nail-biting last ball victory— all have been obediently incorporated and yet Jersey truly comes alive only when it moves away from the cricketing action and match sequences and explores the relationship dynamics that form the beating heart of the story.

Shahid Kapoor as Arjun Talwar in Jersey.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

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Arjun played by a wonderfully restrained Shahid Kapoor has the body language of a man defeated by fate and circumstance. The world might judge him harshly but Arjun wants to be the hero his son believes him to be. The scenes between him and Kittu played by a young Ronit Kamra are beautifully crafted and moving, giving us an insight into the only validation that an otherwise dejected player needs— to be the best dad to his son.

Shahid Kapoor and Ronit Kamra in Jersey.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The other thread running parallel is between Arjun and his wife Vidya. We see their relationship grow as the story progresses. From two people barely able to keep their hands and eyes off each other to a marriage punctured by lack of intimacy and unexpressed resentment.

Mrunal Thakur has a calming, angelic presence and while we have seen her play similar characters this one is a more chiseled role which she nails completely.

Mrunal Thakur as Vidya in a still from Jersey.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

Vidya isn’t just an inconsequential member of Arjun’s cheerleading squad. She has a mind of her own and the constant friction between them and their opposing points of view adds texture to the narrative. Pankaj Kapoor as Shahid’s fastidious coach delivers another knockout performance.

What strikes a discordant note is the constant urge to set up a premise to justify the actions. As a result, we have an overwrought plot that seems more contrived than organic.

Every few minutes we are reminded of the jersey which young Kittu wants for his birthday and how Arjun is unable to arrange for a mere Rs 500 to buy it. This is repeated so many times that one is almost tempted to take out the money from our wallet and get done with it!

Jersey could easily have been 20 mins shorter if only it was edited better. The cricket action and match sequences are routine and predictable but what remained unmatched was Shahid’s performance. As long as Jersey remains an intimate exploration of a father-son relationship, it holds us. But as it gets subsumed by the overarching theme to make a grand statement it’s on a sticky wicket.

Rating: 3 Quints out of 5.

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