Judgementall Hai Kya (2019) Review: A Well-Crafted Quirky Whodunit
Quirky. Eccentric. Thrilling. Entertaining. These words aptly suit Prakash Kovelamudi’s ‘Judegementall hai kya’ (2019). What may seem like another run-of-the-mill Bollywood film is not quite a ‘normal’ story.
Bobby Batliwala Grewal (Kangana Ranaut) has had a traumatic childhood. She has been an eye witness to her mother being abused by her father. She becomes an orphan at an early age and is partly responsible for her parents’ death. Her childhood experiences shape her personality and she grows up to be diagnosed with acute psychosis and dissociative identity disorder. Bobby is sharp-edged, unapologetic and abrupt. She believes in her ‘pet ki awaaz’ rather than her ‘mann ki awaaz’. Her choice of clothing and her hairstyle make bold statements about her lunacy. She works as a dubbing artist for South Indian films and gets too deep into the character she is dubbing for. While she wishes to be the actor of the film, she becomes the character of the film, frenzying around repeating dialogues and antics.
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We are just introduced to Bobby’s erratic behavior when the film gets crazier with the introduction of Keshav (Rajkumarr Rao) and Rima (Amyra Dastur), a couple who become Bobby’s tenants. Bobby with her imaginative and twisted mind begins obsessing over Keshav. Soon, Rima dies in a fire in the house and that’s when the mental part of ‘judgementall’ kicks in. Bobby believes that Keshav has murdered his wife and she begins a rampant spree to provide the police with evidence of the same. Keshav in his defense points out that Bobby, the psychotic is creating stories in her head.
The film, in the process of answering who the real criminal is, often wraps humor in informative dialogues, some of which are dark. What makes the audience more and more involved in the film is the film’s grammar and stylization. Storytelling is crisp and every scene moves the narrative forward.
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Motifs and symbols have been used quite well by Kanika Dhillon in her screenplay. In its quest to reach a conclusion, the film is a slight reminder of ‘Andhadhun’. Maybe that explains the special thanks to ‘Sriram Raghavan’ in the film’s opening credits.
The faces on the screen bring out very effectively what forms the base of ‘Judgementall Hai Kya’ – its characters. Kangana is no less than brilliant. She marvels every detail of Bobby’s character which seems to be tailor-made for her. Rajkummar Rao too fits into his edgy character very well. Amyra Dastur, Amrita Puri, Jimmy Shergill, and others as the supporting cast have also done a good job.
Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography stands out not so much in its camera angles but in its lighting. The low-key colorful lighting along with some visual effects aptly set the outlandish look that this kind of a psychological thriller demands. Fine and crisp editing add to the overall pace of the film, making it not once feel like a drag.
The soundtrack apart from the title track and ‘Kis raste hai jaana’, don’t fit in quite properly. The background music, however, works wonders in surprising and intriguing the audience. It would be incorrect to talk of the film without giving due credit to its art direction and costumes. Both stand out beautifully and contribute to the film immensely.
In this tale of a ‘mental’ character trying to prove that her ‘pet ki awaaz’ is correct, Kanika Dhillon subtly sneaks in a layer of an important message. The film plays upon the idea of mental health, sanity, and perspectives. With deep characters gift wrapped in entertainment, thrill, and craziness, ‘Jugementall hai kya’ even with its predictable end, hits your conscience. Call it whatever, a dark comedy or a psychological thriller, it is surely a well-crafted whodunit that takes the path previously untrodden by Bollywood. And hence it deserves to be watched, with all judgments aside.