Jubilee review: Palpably nostalgic, fascinatingly crafted and astonishing performed tribute to the magic of cinema
What: Jubilee starring Prosenjit Chatterjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Aparshakti Khurana, Wamiqa Gabbi. Sidhant Gupta, etc is a fascinatingly crafted and astonishing performed tribute to the magic of cinema. Vikramaditya Motwane makes it palpably nostalgic for the lovers of the moving pictures.
It's Circa 1947. India is about to get its freedom. Srikant Roy (Prosenjit Chatterjee) is an owner of a famous Bollywood studio. Binod Das (Aparshakti Khurana) is his trusted aide. Wife of Srikant Roy - Sumitra Kumari (Aditi Rao Hydari) is the top actress and partner in Srikant Roy’s own studio.
Srikant is on the verge of launching a new face in the industry that is going to create a storm. Theatre actor Jamshed Khan (Nandish Singh Sandhu) is the chosen one who will be launched as Madan Kumar with all fanfare by Srikant Roy.
Big film financier Shamsher Singh Walia (Ram Kapoor) is betting high on Srikant Roy’s Madan Kumar.
But there is a twist, Madan Kumar aka Jamshed Khan is having an affair with none other than Sumitra Kumari and the theater actor is reluctant to leave the theatre.
Srikant Roy sends his trusted aide Binod Das to bring both Madan Kumar and Sumitra Kumari to Mumbai for the launch.
Madan Kumar has already made a promise to a theatre group in Lahore by the name Khanna theatre group owned by Narain Khanna (Arun Govil). Narain Khanna’s son Jay Khanna (Sidhant Gupta) is coming to Lucknow to bring Jamshed Khan aka Madan Kumar to his father’s theatre group in Lahore. In the same train Binod Das is also travelling to obey the orders of his master Srikant Roy and bring back Madan Kumar and Sumitra Kumari.
The deadly fire of partition is catching up and after a series of shocking incidents, Binod Das gets launched as Madan Kumar.
What happened to the real Madan Kumar?, Where is Jay Khanna?, will the financer Walia and the public in general accept a simpleton like Binod Das as their heartthrob?. Will Sumitra Kumari remain silent after the news of Madan Kumar gone missing?. Part 1 of Jubilee consists of five episodes written for screen by Atul Sabharwal on a story by Vikramaditya Motwane and Soumik Sen answers some while leaving the rest for its remaining episodes releasing next week.
Imagining a phenomenon like ‘Jubiliee’ in today’s time in the Film Industry when a reportedly historic blockbuster like Pathaan released in 25th January 2023, started streaming on Prime Video on March 22, 2023 is next to impossible.
Inspired from the word ‘Jubliee’ the term used when a movie crossed 25 weeks of uninterrupted run in theatres and was celebrated as silver jubilee to begin with followed by Golden (50), Platinum (75), Vikramaditya Motwane has shown his rich palpable love for the golden era.
Jubilee by Vikramaditya Motwane is an intriguing mix of Guru Dutt drunk in Shakespeare’s wine smoking Giuseppe Toranatore’s cigar and dancing to O. P Nayyar and C. Ramchandra’s tune.
So ringing out the blood and gore from those Sacred Games and more, ringing in something retro and old that gives a surprisingly fresh feeling in the atmosphere like his 2013 Lootera starring Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha.
Jubilee is everything, a period drama, a musical, a thriller, a homage to the Bollywood of mid 40’s, (according to the first five released today from the 10 episode series, I have a feeling that the remaining five may enter the colour era or even go beyond).
Writer director Vikramaditya Motwane with his co-writers Atul Sabharwal and Soumik Sen have created a fabulously enjoyable entertainment that restores faith in cinema’s continuing ability to find new surges of energy, so what if it goes back to the black and white era.
The movie is set during the period of 1947 and is engulfed right from the word go when we see Srikant Roy watching the audition tapes of Madan Kumar and hooked by Jamshed Khan’s performance ( so are we).
The magic of those classics gets reminded. Vikramaditya Motwane remarkably accomplishes the tough task by making this absorbing period drama. He successfully makes the audience root for a hero with grey shades – Binod Das and at the same time also wins in asking them to respect the pious simplicity of theatre owner Narain Khanna played by the evergreen Prabhu Shri Ram of the small screen - (Arun Govil).
Robbed of his wealth, house and theatre burnt and forced to stay in a refugee camp. The devastated Narain Khanna keeps a calm posture and spreads hope and happiness by doing puppet shows for kids in the refugee camp. While his son Jay Khanna (Sidhant Gupta) is frustrated and angry.
This meticulously crafted web series feels note-perfect with fine detailing. Set design by Mukund Gupta and Aparna Sud. Art direction by Priti Gole and Yogesh Bansode and costumes by Shruti Kapoor are in sync. Alokananda Dasgupta's background score is appealing. Cinematography by Pratik Shah is outstanding. Editing by Aarti Bajaj is perfect. Songs by Amit Trivedi give you the feeling of nostalgia.
Prasenjit Chatterjee is fabulous as the shrewd owner of a popular studio.
Aparshakti Khurana gets his career best opportunity and he gives full justice to his role.
Aditi Rao Hydari as the charming and cunning bollywood actress is fabulous.
Wamiqa Gabbi as Nilofer gets a lot of scope to improvise and add nuance – a tough role which she manages to pull off nicely.
Sidhant Gupta as Jay Khanna is a surprise for me. Imagine Sashi Kapoor in his early days who can dance very well and is a bit slimmer. Jay Khanna gave me a glimpse of the legendary gentleman actor Sashi Kapoor in his early days.
Ram Kapoor as Shamsher Singh Walia is brilliant.
Nandish Singh Sandhu as Jamshed Khan is fabulous. Its sad to see a talent like Shweta Basu Prasad getting wasted. She does very well but… she may have more dimensions in future episodes I guess.
Other actors also chip in with fabulous support, be it Tushar Phulke as Janak Mehta the distributor, Narottam Bain as Maqsood the makeup artiste. Edward Sonnenblick as the Russian. Sukhmani Lamba as Kiran Singh the girl in the refugee camp. Alok Arora as Raghu Jhalani.
And last but not the least, Arun Govil as Narain Khanna is simply superb.
Slipping easily between modes (drama, thriller, musical) Jubilee contains superb moments that restores faith in cinema – this moving picture moves. It’s retro but modern, Jubilee is a worship of cinema, ambition and dreams that comes with a thing of grace and joy. A tribute to the golden era of the Big screen interestingly and for some ironically on the small screen. But the magic cannot be denied.
Jubilee is streaming on Amazon Prime Video from April 07, 2023.
Please note: the series is A rated. Contains foul language