Star Cast: Vidyut Jammwal (in an all-new avatar, doing ‘action), Pooja Sawant (A fiery Mahout who cusses the bad guy by calling her ‘Kasaai’), Asha Bhat (who acts with the only ‘hope’ of getting character arc), Makrand Deshpande – Atul Kulkarni (WHY?)
Director: Chuck (It) Russell
What’s Good: Imagine a good jungle ride with a very boring friend! What will you miss the most about that trip? The picturesque locations and NOTHING ELSE!
What’s Bad: That boring friend gets worse as the trip progresses!
Loo Break: It’s jungle all around, make yourself comfortable at any place you want!
Watch or Not?: Only if you’re ‘wild’ enough to take such risks!
The movie starts with taking us through an Elephant sanctuary in Odhisha jumping directly to Mumbai. An animal doctor Raj (Vidyut Jammwal) is approached by a journalist Meera (Asha Bhat) who wants to interview Raj and his father for maintaining an Elephant sanctuary. Raj, who is separated from his dad since years, realises he’s wrong and goes back to his home town to attend his mother’s death anniversary.
On reaching there, he sees everything is changed and there aren’t many people left to take care of Elephants. He meets with his few old friends in Shankara (Pooja Sawant), Dev (Akshay Oberoi) and Bhola the Elephant who’s now the king of the jungle. Having the mightiest tusks ever on an Elephant, Bhola is hunted by the tusks smugglers of Taiwan. Whether or not Raj will be able to save the jungle from the bad guys is what the rest of the story is all about.
Junglee Movie Review: Script Analysis
What’s more shocking than how mediocre this film is that it took four writers (Rohan Sippy, Charudatt Acharya, Umesh Padalkar, Ritesh Shah) to pen its story. It’s the same old template of saving the jungle and its animals, with a very done-to-death twist of adding the bad guys as animal’s body parts smugglers. A lot could’ve been achieved with this template by not following the tradition of what already has been done before.
Mark Irwin’s camera is way too much in the air than required; the aerial shots just get out of hand after a point of time. The story drags a lot, hence even the (at times) good cinematography is unable to hold your attention. Many things such as the subplot of Raj’s deceased mother and Meera being the accompanying journalist add no value to the narration; they’re just the unnecessary clutter added to the jumble.
Junglee Movie Review: Star Performance
Vidyut Jammwal is there, yes he’s just there and we know he can perform some astounding action sequences but still ‘he is just there’. When you know an actor masters in a certain department, you’ve to optimise it and when he’s your main guy you just cannot leave his character sketch half-painted. Vidyut does everything he has done multiple times before (going through a small window in a chasing sequence), and you just expect him to bring something new to the platter (he just brings freshly-baked disappointment). The talent of Atul Kulkarni and Makrand Deshpande is brutally wasted.
Pooja Sawant looks hot but her role limits her to do nothing apart from being on the screen. She has been shown as this fiery Mahout but gets zero chance to showcase the other-than-soft part of her character. Asha Bhat lands up in a needless role and hence never touches the mark to impress. Akshay Oberoi in a cameo is just about good and he shares a well-choreographed action sequence with Vidyut.
Junglee Movie Review: Direction, Music
Oh, Chuck My Chuck! Why every Western director is obsessed with Indian gods? Chuck forces a cameo of Lord Ganesh and that doesn’t even make any sense (till that point I wasn’t even expecting any). From someone who has given us The Mask & Scorpion King, this is surely the best of his worst. If the story and screenplay are at fault, the direction isn’t top-notch too; everything just drags to the finishing line.
Tanuj Tiku & Sameer Uddin’s background score blends in very well with the action sequences. Special mention for the BGM in Vidyut’s Kalaripayattu sequence in the start, and how amazing it’s edited on the music. From the songs, Dosti clicks the best as it builds the connect with Raj and Bhola’s friendship.
Junglee Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Junglee doesn’t offer anything drastically new. It’s slick and stylish but unfortunately pales when it comes to the narration. Could be a timepass television watch but definitely unbearable to sit throughout for even 115 minutes in the theatre. A golden opportunity lost!
Two Stars with a sigh!
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Junglee releases on 29th March 2019.
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