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Jai Mummy Di, Review: Absence of substance

Two middle-aged women hate each other for reasons unknown to their spouses and their children. One of them as two sons and the other has a daughter. In a modern day, pretentious comic re-working of Romeo and Juliet, the elder son of one of them and the daughter of the other are madly in love with each other, a fact that they have kept secret from their parents. Jai Mummy Di is for audiences who find this premise and its manifestations really funny, and such viewers might be hard to find.

Puneet and Saanjh are neighbours in Delhi, go to the same college and love each other. Their mothers, Lali and Pinky respectively, are sworn enemies, nobody really knows why. Fed-up of daily bickering, Lali’s family decides to move to another house, far from Delhi. Meanwhile, Saanjh, who has had enough of dating and sex with Puneet, proposes to him in classic style, but Puneet is not ready for marriage. Disgruntled, the smoking drinking Saanjh puts on a god girl façade and agrees to marry a boy of her parents’ choice. Likewise, Puneet agree to marry a girl of his parents’ choice.

As the wedding draws close, the two begin to feel that they cannot live without each other, and decide to elope. They pack their bags and head for the court, to have a registered, legal, marriage but develop cold feet, and call it off. A series of incidents brings tem close again, but they realise that they cannot marry unless their Mummies patch-up. In order to achieve that state, they need to know what happened between tem that caused them to develop such hatred towards each other. Somehow, they manage to trace the roots to 1991, when the two of them were college friends. But nobody they know was around to recall what transpired. Meanwhile the wedding date fast approaches. To bid time and evade marriage till a rapprochement is attained, the two pretend to possess traits and handicaps that would make their prospective in-laws to reject them. As D-Day approaches, the two families find that they have booked the same venue on the same date for the wedding and the reception! Did anybody say, “What a co-incidence!” Not me.

Since both the credits, for writing and direction, are taken by Navjot Gulati (wrote Running Shaadi, made shorts and web series, including Mother’s Day film called Jai Mata Di, which means Hail Mother), he must take it on the chin. Disguised as a romantic comedy, Jai Mummy Di (which also means Hail Mother in Punjabi), Gulati’s feature debut, has neither any worthwhile romance nor any laughter generating comedy. Suggestive dialogue about having sex, and with multiple partners too, stormy kissing scenes out of the blue, women smoking and drinking as symbolic of the hep crowd, Mummies known by epithets like Mogambo (Lali) and Gabbar (Pinky), both names belonging to iconic villains of the 70s, a reference to Sooraj Barjatya’s films and sanskaaree (morally well brought-up) characters therein do not make for comedy by any stretch. Likewise, Punjabi/Sikh (Navjot is a Sikh) diction, Punjabi songs and Punjabi idioms, including repeated references to underwear, fall flat, in the absence of substance. Moreover, Navjot seems to unaware of the rudiments of film direction, with suspect frames, camera positions and cutting points. Plus, he serves us verbose pieces of dialogue at breakneck pace, with evidently little idea of the visual use of the cinematic medium.

Sunny Singh (Akash Vaani) has a naturally conversational style of dialogue delivery and an uncomplicated acting method. Sonnali Seygall (Setters, High Jack) is unconventionally beautiful, with a long face, and her approach to acting seems to be more clinical. There is the bare trace of chemistry between Sunny Singh and Sonnali, following their pairing in Pyar Ka Punchnama 2 and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. Poonam Dhillon cast as Pinky and Supriya Pathak-Shah playing Lali, heroines in their time, are wasted in roles that give them a lot of footage, with very little to do. Veer Rajwant Singh plays Vineet, Puneet’s younger brother, and does an average job of it. Rendering support are Shiwani Saini, Tina Bhatia, Neha Kakkar and Jassi Gill, the last two appearing in the music video ‘Lamborghini’, a rehash of the song Lamberghini.

Songs are like any other Punjabi music videos or item numbers and are composed by Amartya Bobo Rahut, Tanishk Bagchi, Meet Bros, Parag Chhabra, Rishi-Siddharth and Gaurav Chatterji. There are as many as eight numbers, going into one-fourth the films running time. Background score by Hitesh Sonik goes hammer and tongs and is out to get you. Cinematography by Sanket Shah and editing by Dev Rao Jadhav and Chetan Solanki are undistinguished. Even at just103 minutes, Jai Mummy Di is boring and uneventful.

Even if you are a Mama’s boy or girl, and strongly believe in Hail Mummy, keep away from this damp squib. Calling it romantic is comedy.

Rating: * ½