STORY: Abhay Singh ( Sidharth Malhotra ) runs a syndicate of kidnapping greedy grooms, who demand dowry in Bihar’s Madhopur. He then, forcefully marries them off to the girl, calling it a ‘surprise party’. But when his childhood sweetheart Babli ( Parineeti Chopra ) re-enters his life, he must choose between love and his long-term ambitions.
REVIEW: Prepaid kidnappings followed by Shotgun shaadis – this is the dowry central of Bihar where grooms and goons are the only two, who mint money. Abhay Singh is at the top his game ensuring no dulha demanding dahej is spared of becoming a Jabariya Jodi (forced couple) – a real problem in parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar where it’s called pakadwa shaadi. Director Prashant Singh and writer Sanjeev K Jha try to tackle these serious societal issues with a pinch of humour. They succeed in making you chuckle quite a few times in the first half with hilarious punches like ‘ rukawat ke liye khed hai, tumhara kidnap prepaid hai’ and ‘yeh toh emotion ka loose motion lagta hain’. This ensures that the first half remains breezy and light, even though a lot of it doesn’t make much sense. However, the writing in the second half is all over the place and banal. The story becomes increasingly melodramatic, robbing the film of its humour or the impact for the message that it tries to deliver.
Film’s leading man, Sidharth Malhotra makes the frame look good, but feels like a misfit in the role of a small town gunda. Even with colourful shirts, dark scarfs and tacky sunglasses, he doesn’t quite make the cut as a menacing goon that he is supposed to be. Ditto for Parineeti, who is always glammed up in chic designer wear, even when she’s in an emotional turmoil. Her character starts off being quite feisty, earning the moniker ‘Babli Bomb’ for publicly beating up her boyfriend, for being stood up. But her transition from a ‘bomb’ to a bechari isn’t convincing at all. While both the actors put in their best, with Parineeti getting the Bihari accent bang on, the writing is what eventually lets them down. Among the character actors, Javed Jaffrey and Sanjay Mishra are impressive and entertaining. Aparshakti Khurana, as the forever friendzoned lover is decent, but his character seems way too good to be real.
Jabariya Jodi starts on a promising note, but loses steam along the way. It tries to throw light on serious issues with lighter moments, but gets tangled in a melodramatic and unrealistic narrative that doesn’t feel all that jabardust.