Director: Suresh Triveni
Cast: Vidya Balan, Shefali Shah, Rohini Hattangady, Manav Kaul, Surya Kasibhatla, Kashish Rizwan, Mohammad Iqbal Khan
A hotshot journalist, her handicapped son, mother, an extremely useful maid and hit-and-run accident have all been poured into a huge cauldron and stirred to make a broth. Quite distasteful and immensely confusing and unconvincing. This, Jalsa, is Amazon Prime Video’s latest offering that comes after a string of such poor films. Sadly, the streaming sites have become a dumping ground for garbage in recent months, and, Suresh Triveni’s work despite two good actresses in Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah, falls into the same rut of wanting to fill the plate with too much with the result that none of it has any meat. A script that is put together without any thought leaving gaping holes in the plot premise and unimaginative direction have made Jalsa a huge disappointment. I had hoped that the Balan and Shah starrer would be a decent watch, but no.
One late night, Balan’s Maya Menon leaves her office after a swig with her boss (!). She is dead tired and sleepy. Finding it difficult to keep awake and with her reflexes down, she hits a young girl running out into the road. The kid, Aliya (Kashish Rizwan), falls on the pavement bleeding, and our journalist, whose media house believes in truth, flees the scene, hoping that she would not get caught. A rickshaw driver takes Aliya to a hospital, and when Maya realises that the kid is none other than her maid, Ruksana’s (Shah) daughter, the journalist is filled with guilt and remorse, and gets her admitted in a top hospital.
But the cat does not remain in the bag for long with a young trainee at Maya’s office wanting to investigate this (particular?) hit-and-run case and bring to light the person behind the dastardly incident. With a physically challenged little son, Ayush (a wonderful Surya Kasibhatla), and an upright mother in Rukmini (Rohini Hattangady), Maya’s woes seem like a long, lonely road that does not end.
The narrative is fraught with confusing conjectures and incidents that do not connect the dots. Here is one glaring example. After the accident, we are told that the CCTV cameras were not working at the accident site, but yet the trainee gets hold of the footage which clearly shows Maya in the car! There are other potholes on the road which are difficult to navigate.
The movie may appeal to fans of Balan and Shah.