Jubilee: A Gripping Saga That Transports Viewers To The 1940s

Incredible performances by actors and strong technical aspects add to the immersive experience of the audience in director Vikramaditya Motwane’s latest offering.

The show shines the brightest in the technical aspects.
Jubilee (Hindi)
  • Cast: Aditi Rao Hydari, Aparshakti Khurana, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Ram Kapoor Wamiqa Gabbi, and Sidhant Gupta
  • Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
  • Producer: Dipa De Motwane
  • Music: Amit Trivedi
  • Episodes: Midseason 1 to 5
  • OTT platform: Amazon Prime Video

Filmmaker Vikramaditya Motwane’s web series Jubliee is out on Amazon Prime Video. The ace director has once again proved his directorial capabilities with this complex historical saga.

Period dramas have always been a safe bet to draw in the audience, primarily because of the curiosity of the viewers, as they know very vaguely of the periods which these dramas deal with.

The viewing experience becomes greater when a director like Vikramaditya Motwane helms the project. He already proved his capability with the likes of Udaan (Flight) in 2010 and Lootera (Robber) in 2013. He also co-directed the first season of Sacred Games (2018-19).

The show is set in the 1940s with the main focus on the film industry (Bollywood) with the backdrop of the independence movement and the partition.

For example, you have a refugee from Pakistan who wants to make it big in cinemas. It is a complex plot filled with several themes.

The director does a good job of sustaining the audience’s interest. As a viewer, you look forward to the next set of episodes.

The web series is broadly inspired by the lives of yesteryear film personalities like Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani.

Synopsis

Srikant Roy (Himanshu Rai’s role played by Prosenjit Chatterjee) is a filmmaker and also the head of a studio called Roy Talkies in this fictionalised version.

Sumitra Devi, also a star (Devika Rani’s role played by Aditi Rao Hydari), is the wife and co-owner of his production company.

he plot revolves around Srikant Roy who is on the hunt to launch a new face for his next film. After numerous auditions, he narrows upon a Muslim boy by name of Jehangir Khan (Nandish Singh Sandhu).

But conflict arises when Sumitra has an affair with Jehangir Khan. They even make plans to escape to Karachi.

Binod Das (Aparshakti Khurana) is the most trusted aid of Srikant. He is given the responsibility of making sure that Jehangir Khan doesn’t elope with Sumitra.

The situation takes a drastic turn when Jehangir Khan completely disappears and no one is aware of whether he is dead or alive.

There is also the parallel track of Jay Khanna (Sidhant Gupta), a Pakistani refugee who is desperately searching for work in Bombay. Courtesan Niloufer Qureshi (Wamiqa Gabbi) is also in the same city hoping to land a film role.

They both are street-smart and end up striking a friendship. They want to find their footing in the city as well as in Roy Talkies.

Performances

Most of the characters have been written with many layers and this makes the web series more nuanced. Particular mention must be made of the characters essayed by Sidhant Gupta, Wamiqa Gabbi, and Aparshakti Khurana.

The interaction between Niloufer Qureshi and Jay Khanna and the progress of their relationship gives the show some of its best moments.

Niloufer is a courtesan who has big aspirations. To fulfil those dreams, she takes all the possible routes. Some of it is questionable as well but at no point, Niloufer comes across as compromising.

Wamiqa Gabbi as Niloufer effortlessly portrays all the shades of her character. Her dances are also wonderful to watch. The best example of her dancing skills comes in the mujra titled “Woh Tere Mera Ishq Ka”.

Jay Khanna as Sidhant Gupta gets the best character of his career so far. Sidhant perfectly portrays the pain and also the spirit of a young man who has suddenly become a refugee in what recently was his own country. As viewers, you root for Jay.

Till now, Aparshakti Khurana has been seen in light-hearted roles. But here, he does a complete U-turn.

Binod Das who starts as a spot boy lands up in an unexpected new situation. It is a role that is filled with grey shades and the actor aces it.

Prosenjit Chatterjee also deserves a mention for his performance as the head of the studio. He plays his part with a certain panache.

Technical crafts

The show shines the brightest in the technical aspects — the sets are authentic, and Vikramaditya Motwane does a great job of recreating the 1940s. He has assembled a first-rate technical team and has drawn some solid work from them.

The art direction by Priti Gole and Yogesh Bansod is top-notch.

Similarly, Pratik Shah’s cinematography adds to the immersive experience of the viewers.

Amit Trivedi’s music is also in perfect sync as his tunes instantly take you back to those times.

The flaws

Jubilee has also got its share of flaws. One of them is the not-so-powerful characterisation of Aditi Rao Hydari’s character. Her interactions with Nandish Singh Nandu needed to be written far better.

The character of Jehangir Khan also comes across as mostly flat. As a result, his disappearance doesn’t register strongly.

Some cuss words don’t gel with the show.

Verdict

Above all this, Jubliee is worth a trip down memory lane.

(Views expressed are personal.)

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