Direction: Nandini Reddy
Do you think there is anything funny in Siddharth being chased by Shakuntala with a sword in hand because he has not paid the loan amount due to her? Can anything be funny, remotely funny, in Dharmavarapu Subrahmanyam playing an effeminate dance master for no reason or rhythm? What kind of a comedy film can be made with Sid portrayed as a semi-literate swindler who speaks in broken English and who owes money to every second person he meets in Hyderabad? It can only be a second-rate gags fest inspired by god-knows-how-many second-rate Bollywood and other comedies.
Nandini Reddy delivers just that for us. Imagine a life full of roses and nothing else. Jabardasth looks like a thematic sequel of Life is Beautiful, which too had characters for whom everything fell in place just in time lest they have to undergo travails. It is one thing to make an insubstantial, asinine comedy with an Allari Naresh. It is another thing, downright unforgivable, to make one with two talented actors (Sid and Samantha) whose characters live in a middle-class India inhabited by you and me. We always thought only Bollywood, where the poverty of imagination is worse than that in Southern cinema, is capable of churning out costly comedy debacles. Our director has proved that a Tollywoodian can be a trend-setter in that.
Byrraju (Sid) and Shreya (Samantha), two complete strangers till some days ago, harvest gold when they set up an event management company. Shreya had googled and found out middle class weddings are yet to be tapped. (Middle class people affording to pay lakhs for event management is a very unrealistic idea in real life.) VVK (Suresh), a billionaire, likes the idea of wedding private parties with corporate branding and instantly offers them a Rs. 1.50 cr deal. Offers worth crores fall in place for them in a jiffy (after they part ways, one side completely finishes the other just as easily, as if only two event management companies exist in the city). Nobody in Hyderabad is as resourceful as this bunch of stupid comedians (barring Shreya), who are shown doing nothing worthwhile even during the events.
It is time for Shreya to propose to Byrraju, but the businessman in Byrraju has other views about her and women themselves. He thinks they are all senti fools, who can be easily won over by gifting them materialistic things. The second half is about how they part ways and how they patch up all over again.
The scenes have been botched up. The owner of 13 star hotels finding the idea of celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of his parents under the gaze of Hussain Sagar’s Buddha beautiful is just an instance of how the director believes childish ideas will hold the audience in awe. Sayaji Shinde’s role is another bore. Does treating a leg injury cost so much that one has to sell a sumo? The episodes in Malaysia (where Sri Hari is introduced as a dreaded but funny and ultra-emotional don) fall flat despite the appearance of Vennela Kishore and Duvvasi Mohan here and there. Tagubothu Ramesh has never looked so artificial when he drooled.
There is only benign conflict and nothing else. The comedy is badly inspired and the scenes are utterly predictable. The dialogues (by Veligonda Srinivas) are bland and lifeless.
While Sid has been asked to indulge in gawky-gangly acting chops, Samantha looks deeply unsettling in a role that needs her to go overboard at a few places. They will do well to strictly avoid one-dimensional roles. Nithya Menen’s role adds some spice, but she looks routine in her expressions.
Technically, SS Thaman’s music is good, but the songs are not a bit exciting. The choreography could have been much better to better use the rhythmic songs well. The cinematography is just about ok. There are no traces of Kona Venkat’s additional screenplay.
If you are someone who likes to Sid in a full-fledged comedy role, go for Jabardasth.
Verdict: An insipid screenplay and poor acting performances, matched by a banal storyline, come in combination to add to our woes. If you have watched Band Baaja Baarat, avoid Jabardasth. Otherwise, watch it with minimum expectations.