July 26, 2019 / 10:38 AM / a month ago

Movie Review: ‘Judgementall Hai Kya?’

Handout still from “Judgementall Hai Kya?”

Prakash Kovelamudi’s “Judgementall Hai Kya?” begins with a tragedy. Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) struggles to cope with the trauma of witnessing her parents’ abusive marriage as a child.

High-strung, eccentric and paranoid, she prowls the corridors of her sprawling bungalow at night. A voice artist who dubs films, she seldom completes assignments. She gets into fights, she walks out on projects.

While the film does not say what mental illness she’s suffering from, she turns fragile after the arrival of a married couple, Rima (Amyra Dastur) and Keshav (Rajkummar Rao), the new tenants of her bungalow.

Rima’s death in a freak accident sends Bobby into a spiral. She is sure Keshav has killed his wife, but has a hard time getting the police to believe that the grieving husband is just acting. She is institutionalized. Keshav disappears.

Two years later, a much-improved Bobby visits London, only to discover that Keshav has married her cousin, Megha (Amrita Puri). Bobby is convinced he will harm one of the few people she holds dear, while Keshav tries to convince Megha that her cousin is bad news.

Ranaut and Rao are good at acting their way around the craters in the script. Ranaut is especially effective as Bobby, garnering sympathy for her character’s often inexplicable and erratic behavior.

But the cluttered script, by Kanika Dhillon, runs at a manic pace, zig-zagging from scene to scene with abandon. Bobby dreams of herself in scenes from films she’s dubbed, fusing and melting these dreams into real life. In one sequence, she is Sita, the catastrophically misunderstood wife of Lord Ram in the Ramayana. It’s not hard to see that Bobby feels the same way – like Sita, she is expected to prove herself against all odds.

Lively efforts like this unfortunately fall flat, in part because the film seems unsure about where it wants to go. Kovelamudi stuffs his scenes with absurdist elements and dark humour, but the script is too shallow to support these devices. At best, “Judgementall Hai Kya?” is an ineffective thriller with an obvious villain.

(The opinion expressed in this article is the author’s own and not of Thomson Reuters. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission.)

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