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Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal


Review: Straight up – Jeena Hai Toh Thok Daal (JHTTD) is a nightmare. My strongest objection to it is its extreme violence in language. Foul-mouthed films aren’t new. Filmmakers often use cussing for shock-value, rude energy and to add believability to scenarios. Godard’s done it. Kubrick’s done it, on occasion, Anurag Kashyap too. But in JHTTD, expletives are used with a mindboggling frequency that actually makes the film’s dialogues totally unbelievable – and unacceptable. Chu****, ma-or-behen****? Baby-talk for JHTTD, clearly hoping a thin storyline, weak acting, shaky music and ridiculous situations can be masked by doling gross abuse all over these.

The film is also reprehensible for portraying Biharis in their worst stereotypes. Criminal-minded, sex-starved and abhorrently filthy are apparently only some shades to Biharis – here, gangsters Chandrabhan (Kishen), Atka (Vatsalya), Mahkoo (Sharma) and Bitwa (Kumar). The foursome, making just enough to enjoy item numbers that heave ‘Palangtor jawani’, get hired by local cop Hanumant Singh (Sharma, usually eye-catching, overshadowed by the squelching abuse here) for a hit-job in Mumbai. Haryanvi arms dealer Rana (Saxena, entirely unconvincing) wishes to take revenge on Maratha media mogul Pawar (Namdev – ditto) by having his daughter Srishti (Crowney, pleasantly unfettered by any need to act) killed.

The Biharis reach Dadar station – a remarkably uncouth attempt at comedy involving masturbation occurs here – and Pawar’s home where Chandru falls in love with Srishti. Her father, amazingly, sacks the other help and employs the four felons to guard and live with her alone. She prances about wearing a towel and making salad for them, the latter trying to shoot her and repeatedly failing. The frustration grows.

As does the viewer’s revulsion to what might’ve been a passable plot, but gets utterly subsumed by intricately foul swearwords. The few snatches of music are welcome not for any quality but the break they give one’s ears from the dialogue.

Kishen is club-like, both heavy and wooden. Vatsalya presents a creepy performance but is so muddy-mouthed, you don’t care. Sharma’s hit an unimaginable low while some little comedy is provided unintentionally by Kalsekar, the IG who growls, “If you can’t save the innocent, always kill the bastard.”

As JHTTD finally closes with more mud, blood, even a possible rape, you’re repulsed at this massacre of a movie. Why the star? For the two words which made this film bearable – the end.

Story: Four Bihari criminals hit Mumbai for a hit-job. One falls in love with the victim – what explodes?

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