- Does his winning streak last? Is he able to buy a “jersey” for his son? Worth watching once to find out.
“Jersey” is a Hindi remake of a 2019 Telugu film inspired by the life/lives of senior cricket players. The title “Jersey” was a bit cryptic, I thought it pertained to a match held in Jersey City, N.J., but it was about an Indian cricket team jersey.
Who does not love a story based on cricket and the life of an Indian cricketer? We all have enjoyed movies like “83,” “Lagaan,” “Dil Bole Hadippa” and “MS. Dhoni.” Written and directed by Gowtam Tinnamuri, Jersey is too long at 2 hours 50 minutes because the excitement does not build up. The movie has an unexpected ending but it does not prepare the viewers for it.
Arjun Talwar (Shahid Kapoor ) is a star cricketer and an amazing opening batsman in Ranji Cricket in his 20s. Baali (Pankaj Kapoor, Shahid’s father) plays an old-school coach who is heavily vested in his favorite protege. Everything is going swimmingly for Shahid. His game is awesome. He falls in love with a lovely Vidya Talwar (Mrunal Thakur). Gets married. Lands a government job and a small apartment. He is also blessed with a son.
But suddenly, he gets balled out of the game and also loses his job. This turn of events plunges him into depression. Now as a celebrated Ranji trophy ex-cricketer he struggles to make ends meet. He is very fond of his son and spends playful days and evenings with him, as a stay-at-home dad. When his son Kitu (Ronit Kamra) asks him for a birthday gift: a cricket jersey, he tries to procure the gift in every way.
But as the script commands, he is unable to find the small sum of Rs. 500 to buy the jersey for his son. He plays a charity match to earn a few rupees but despite playing well, he receives no funds for his effort. He is offered the job of a coach but he wants to play cricket.
Dismal domestic circumstances force this 36-year-old man to try out for cricket again. Despite repeated snubs by the selection committee he manages to put his foot back in the game. He takes lady luck once again into his own hands. He yields to his passion. Cricket. The game he loves with all his heart and soul. He hits a century — a massive score in Ranji cricket and his sixers were compelling! Talwar is unstoppable till he is not. Does his winning streak last? Is he able to buy a “jersey” for his son? What happens to his friendship with a young reporter Jasleen (Geetika Mehandru), whose cheek he kisses spontaneously? The main actors deliver.
I like Shahid in a few light-hearted moments and he is convincing on the crease. He looks fit. But his despondency as an unemployed sportsman is depressing. As is the lack of gainful occupation by his three childhood friends. The movie does well to showcase the fact that there are so many able-bodied young men in India and around the world who lack the spark of enthusiasm.
I wish that all of them could learn any skill. There are so many. Cooking, gardening, reading, carpentry. football, chess, design, exercise, gymnastics, accounting, design… the list is endless. Everyone cannot become a stellar cricketer but apart from applauding the sixers, everyone can have another unique area of interest. This interest may lead to a vocation, and definitely to a better life. Worth watching once.
With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, and essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM and the Princess Theater.