Sammer Saxena's 'Jaadugar' is an Earnest Effort That Wins Hearts Like a Good Magic Show
Elements of football and magic are brought together by Sameer Saxena in this film with a coming-of-age story
The storyline is interesting, as the hero in this case does not have the guts and gumption of the magical wand. In any other Hindi film, our hero would have been born with the same. Meenu is aware of the ideal situation; however, he fails to reach there with his initial efforts. He is surrounded by misplaced confidence in every sphere of his life. He is not even aware about the difference between stalking a girl and approaching her. He loses a girl whose name was Ichchha, which means desire in hindi. After that, he seeks direction from a girl called Disha, played by Arushi Sharma
Jaadugar by Sameer Saxena, which was recently released on Netflix, is an engaging slice-of-life film. The film is an appreciative effort into steering off the clichés. The film approaches the complex issues of love and commitment in a charming manner.
Sameer Saxena brings elements of football and magic into a junction called Neemuch. It is a town on the Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border. The people of this town are die-hard football plans. The director develops a beautiful coming-of-age story, which makes us fall in love with the people of Neemuch.
The film is crafted with some original writing, which provides a free flowing stream of folk and literary humour. The writing is a fusion of the both. This kind of writing is however, starting to diminish with time, according to critics. The reason behind this may be the constantly changing profile of screenwriters.
Sameer, along with screenplay writer Biswapati Sarkar, has worked for a long time with the The Viral Fever (TVF). The influence of the same reflected in the dialogues of Jaadugar. It had the flavour of Panchayat and Kota Factory. However, as the film is of a short length, it ensures that the goal is achieved much before the verbosity gets under the skin of the audience.
The primary storyline of the film states that it is about a magician who has no talent in football. However, due to circumstances, he has to win a local tournament for love and his family.
Coach Pradeep, played by Jaaved Jafferi, vows to win the local football tournament of the region after his goalkeeper brother dies in an accident. Winning the tournament was apparently the dream of the coach's brother. A lot of obstacles and curveballs await Pradeep, who was determined to win the tournament. Even Meenu (Jitendra Kumar), Pradeep's late brother's son is more interested in learning magic instead of playing football.
Meenu is a messy, flawed character. He is always ready to lose his heart. He is naïve and believes that love probably is like one of his magic tricks. He desired to follow in the footsteps of his guru Magician Chhabra, played by Manoj Joshi. As stated by his guru, Meenu believed firmly in the idea that only a true magician can perform true magic. However, Meenu was having a hard time trying to practice the dictum.
The storyline is interesting, as the hero in this case does not have the guts and gumption of the magical wand. In any other Hindi film, our hero would have been born with the same. Meenu is aware of the ideal situation; however, he fails to reach there with his initial efforts. He is surrounded by misplaced confidence in every sphere of his life. He is not even aware about the difference between stalking a girl and approaching her. He loses a girl whose name was Ichchha, which means desire in hindi. After that, he seeks direction from a girl called Disha, played by Arushi Sharma. Disha in hindi means direction. However, his self-seeking ways tend to ruin it. A situation arises where he has to decide between saving his love or the family name in football.
The performance of Jitendra Kumar is very honest as a social chameleon. However, despite his efficiency, his performance in Jaadugar can possibly give one the feeling that he is doing the job of a machine. He is doing what needs to be done with the character, but he is lacking in the X-factor. His performance in this film seems to lack the element that takes such character to mass acceptance. The players that constitute the team of Adarsh Nagar however casts this spell. In every instance when the film came back to the football field, it light up. From the loutish librarian Madan (Imran Rasheed) or the rakish insurance agent Lali (Raj Qushal), the characters in the team were crafted well and in a colorful manner.
The solo female player (Raksha Pawar) in the team, who was married, breaks the barriers of the societal norms. Another character in the team is a struggling lyricist who becomes very important to the team. Doctor Doshi, played by the director himself gives a humorous commentary of the football matches and Nema (Rajeev Nema) provides a lot more than just the details of the game.
The film does not inflict direct preachy sermons. The film has references ranging from Dronacharya-Eklavya to Chekov Kulfi. From mythology to literature, many elements are beautifully woven into the screenplay. Just as a good magic show doesn't always appeal to the mind, but the heart tries to appreciate the earnest attempt, Jaadugar tries to do the same.