Jhund movie review: Amitabh Bachchan and his team of misfits are meant to stand out of the crowd
A college football coach forms a soccer team on discovering the talented youth dwelling in a slum in Nagpur. He trains these often ignored misfits to use their gift into transforming their life.
- Nagraj Manjule
- Amitabh Bachchan,
- Ankush Gedam,
- Akash Thosar and Rinku Rajguru
- Biographical sports drama
If you are not aware of the genius of National Film Award winning filmmaker Nagraj Manjule, his debut Hindi film Jhund should be an introduction that you ought to look forward to. The Marathi filmmaker who has been a champion of the downtrodden with his films continues the theme in the biographical sports drama based on the life Vijay Basre.
While Amitabh Bachchan ably shoulders the role of the sports coach Vijay Borade, it is the slum soccer team that he trains in the film that walks away with the cake. This team of misfits coming from the slums behind the college that Bachchan is sports teacher in and consists of characters who in real life are often invisible and those who you’d think twice before rooting for.
Fearless, ambitious and unapologetic this lot consisting of small time thieves, drug addicts and thugs is united on the football field by Borade belief that this lot can beat the odds and win against even a well trained team.
Nagraj Manjule beautifully builds up an exciting and entertaining first half showing how Amitabh’s Vijay Borade beats into shape a football team by paying the slum youth Rs. 500 everyday to simply take time each evening to play a friendly match among themselves which draws their attention away from trouble they’d otherwise be stirring.
While Borade’s colleagues frown upon him for taking these slum kids under his wing, he soon proves his point pitting his trained college team against an excited lot of his slum kids in a friendly match. Borade’s efforts invite the attention of underprivileged youth from all over the nation setting the foundation of something much bigger.
It doesn’t matter if you are a soccer fan or not, you’d enjoy Jhund regardless. Looking at the larger picture, the film in fact, is not at all about football but about the social discrimination that has shut the door of opportunities to the under privileged and has failed to see just how much talent dwells there.
The filmmaker takes his time with the plot resulting in the film being a lengthy watch. He puts the multiple character arches in order, taking his time telling the tale of some key players of Borade’s team. There’s a nail biting football match in the first half which is one of the biggest highlights of the film that is made enjoyable simply by not rushing past the goals and scoreboard.
The second half of the film is far more dramatic than the first yet Jhund never has you growing impatient with the slow build up to the climax.
Ankush Gedam who plays the slum soccer team captain Ankush Masram in the film gets a fair amount of screen time and manages to hold your attention with his pitch perfect act of a thug who uses the opportunity presented by Borade to turn his life around.
Amitabh Bachchan glides through the film with his consummate performance as the inspiring champion of the downtrodden. Rinku Rajguru and Akash Thosar, the stars of Manjule’s biggest hit Sairat also feature in the film in supporting roles. While there’s not much for their characters to do in terms of the plot, they are sincere with their portions and never hog the limelight which is rather applause worthy.
The music of the Jhund deserves special mention which gives the film its lively feel and makes it even more appealing. Manjule effectively uses visualization and cinematography to highlight the divide between worlds which heightens the impact of the messaging.
Jhund is one of those delayed Bollywood films which you can gladly say was worth the wait. It makes you both laugh and ponder deeply about the world around us and is a rare treat that definitely deserves your attention.