Film review: Jia aur Jia
You know all those inspirational road trip stories like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and exhilarating films such as Thelma and Louise and Bombay To Goa? Well, Jia Aur Jia is none of the above.
Two girls who are chalk and cheese—or vanilla and chocolate as one Jia describes them—become unlikely companions on a holiday in Sweden. They are matched randomly by an online holiday portal and for some reason they are hitched to each other every step of the way. If Jia Garewal (Kalki Koechlin) is messy, free-spirited and rather silly, Jia Venkatram (Richa Chadha) is her polar opposite. She is so ‘propah’ she even wakes up with her make up in place and seems shocked at Garewal’s every unplanned move. Let’s just say if one shops at Anjuna flea market, the other shops from a local copycat designer.
Both the Jias are harbouring some secret. There was potential in this set up, but Mudassar Aziz’s story is packed with clichés and director Howard Rosemeyer’s storytelling hardly manages to move along a tacky effort. Jia and Jia’s travels around Sweden are so poorly shot and documented that the movie does not even showcase the Nordic country in an enticing way.
As the truth behind each one’s reason for travelling solo to Sweden is revealed, we also see a deep bond blossom between them. Garewal also gets besotted with Vasu Bergman (Arslan Goni), an unkempt local artist. On this unending journey, luggage appears to be of no concern, as the two Jias have a new look every day. The budget for costume seems to have been exhausted on the two ladies, leaving Goni with some bargain basement leftovers.
Within the amateur writing, cheesy dialogue, shabby cinematography (the camera, colouring and lighting do the girls no favours) and the untidy direction, two capable actors—Chadha and Koechlin—are left floundering, delivering performances that add little to their repertoires.