Ever been on a dreadfully long road journey and had the voice of the annoying but endearing Donkey from Shrek scream: “Are we there, yet?” over and over again in your head? Jalebi, with the odd tagline “ever-lasting taste of love”, did just that. It’s a struggle to shut out the donkey’s voice as Pushpdeep Bhardwaj’s love story chugs along at such an excruciatingly slow pace with no destination in sight.
This flavourless Jalebi attempts to spin a quintessential Bollywood love story where writers gleefully swap plot and thought, for eyelashes and hot-pants. Where a pregnant girl appears like she’s walked straight off the ramp. Or, when she rides off with her man, only to have her helmet magically move from her head to the rider’s side, possibly to keep her curls intact.
In here, the boy is a guide for Old Delhi who wants to “stay closer to his roots” while the girl wants to be a writer and walks into most frames with a book or a cigarette in hand. They do all things that a Bollywood couple in love do, some make it to our screens in the UAE, some don’t (and we are thankful for that). Unfortunately, editor Devendra Murdeshwar wasn’t as insightful.
The director throws no insight into their personality, their tussles or romance, nor the cities where the love story unfolds. Instead, he tweaks the narrative from “then” to “now”, with a half-baked talk on destiny and love thrown in the fag end. There’s humour even, or the lack of it, where a pretty girl thinks “book-reading sessions” means going to a different city and reading a book! As time goes by, the boy’s stubble grows into a full-blown beard, and the girl’s shorts get swapped for salwar kurtis.
The leading pair - Rhea Chakraborty and Varun Mitra – are neither talented nor charming to elevate the film from doom. What they do have, however, is perfect white teeth! There’s also a bunch of artists stepping into the support the couple, but each end up overacting and dragging us down further.
It’s a miracle, really, to walk out unharmed. This ‘Jalebi’ will most definitely leave you with a bad aftertaste.