Shahid Kapoor’s last outing on the silver screen, ‘Kabir Singh’ was a blockbuster and expectations are also high from his latest flick ‘Jersey’. Like his last film, ‘Jersey’ is also a remake of a hit Telugu film of the same name directed by the same director, Gowtam Tinnanuri. When accepting a remake, the actor always knows he/she will have to deal with comparisons to the original. But how well the actor holds up to it and/or surpasses it in the remake is the big question.
‘Jersey’ is the story of Arjun Talwar (Shahid Kapoor), a Ranji cricket player, whose ultimate dream is to play for India. At the age of 36, Arjun has given up on this dream and is busy focusing on his son (Ronit Kamra) and wife (Mrunal Thakur). It is when his son asks for a jersey, that his whole world changes.
Unlike other sports movies which focus more on the sport, ‘Jersey’ is an emotional drama, set in the 1990s, that’s more about a father-son relationship and how taking a second chance can completely change someone’s life. Accused of corruption, Arjun is suspended from a government job and loses a career that would have taken him to great heights. He is now dependent on his wife (Mrunal Thakur) and his life seems to be in limbo. Then appears a second chance at the age of 36. Will he succeed this time around? Will he make his wife so proud?
In the last few years, Shahid Kapoor has chosen diverse films to showcase his acting prowess and this film too seems to be in line with that thought. The character of Arjun has a beautiful emotional arc (from the age of 26 to 36) which ranges from frustration, pain, and guilt to defeat and finally, success. The father-son bond and Arjun’s need to fulfill his son’s desires have been explored well and Shahid comes out on top. This would be one of Shahid’s best performances and he hits a six.
Coming to the film itself, at 171 minutes it is a little too long to hold your attention every minute. Director Gowtam Tinnanuri could have trimmed the remake down by 30 minutes to give this emotional sport drama more pace. In the making of this film, he has stuck to the original in the flow of the narration and there are definite lags as a result. Some of the scenes have also been a little too exaggerated for an effect that hampers the seriousness of the film.
All movies have a hero and a villain and in this film the hero and the villain seemingly co-exist in Arjun himself. The psychology of this flawed man has been explored in depth by the director – Tinnamuri succeeds when it comes to the father-son relationship but fails when it is the husband-wife one. Vidhya is blamed for Arjun’s issues but then she is also shown as helping him when the need arises. Clearly, mixed signals.