“Bholi si surat, jugaadu si seerat!” wrote Janhvi Kapoor about her character in an Instagram post, which she plays to a tee in Good Luck Jerry. The power of ‘jugaad’ is what comes to mind when watching Janhvi’s Jerry in the Siddharth Sen-directed dark comedy that started streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from July 29.
Good Luck Jerry is a remake of the 2018 Tamil film Kolamaavu Kokila, with some digressions from the original plot, and has Janhvi in the lead role of Jaya Kumari. Fondly called Jerry, Jaya is the eldest daughter of a family that moves to Punjab from Bihar and, after an unexpected turn of events, is left to fend for her younger sister Cherry and mother Sharbati.
At its heart, Good Luck Jerry is the story of millions of migrant families that leave their homes in villages and smaller towns, hoping to find a livelihood in bigger towns and cities.
Here’s what you can expect from the two-hour film.
A racy second half, but with a dark ending
Good Luck Jerry opens with a short-animated montage that shows Jerry, her parents and sister Cherry (Samta Sudiksha) moving from Darbhanga in Bihar to somewhere in Punjab. The family’s big move is met with failure as their Litti Chokha food stall fails to attract customers, and then Jerry’s father gets mowed down by a car.
With the patriarch of the family gone, the mother, Sharbati (Mita Vashisht), makes vegetable momos to earn a living, while Jerry works as a masseuse despite her mother’s objections. When Sharbati is diagnosed with cancer and there’s not enough money for her treatment, Jerry stumbles upon an unlikely method of making a quick buck – by becoming drug mule for the local drug mafia. And that’s when the film picks up pace after a rather slow first half.
Jerry basks in the glory of being the most successful drug mule the mob boss has ever hired. But a close call with the police drives fear into her heart, making her want to leave the life of crime. What follows is a nail-biting sequence of events that involves Jerry’s family, police, mobsters and 100kg of cocaine.
Jerry manipulates the kingpin of the drug racket and gets into a cat-and-mouse chase with both him and the police. The twists and turns make the second half engrossing, and the endless switching of drugs till the big reveal keeps us guessing. But the fact that Jerry walks away unscathed at the end, despite the dead bodies that she leaves behind her, can be disconcerting. You wouldn’t like to come away with the feeling that committing crimes is okay, even if it’s by the film’s heroine, would you?
A feisty she-gang led by Janhvi Kapoor’s Jerry
Janhvi combines her wide-eyed naivety with her snappy personality to bring Jerry to life. As the eldest child, Jerry tries to keep her family going by working as a masseuse. Once she’s into drug dealing, she uses her doe-eyed beauty to come across as the last person you’d suspect to be involved in a crime.
On the other hand, Jerry is ruthless enough to demand two men be shot by the drug racket kingpin when they are suspected of being informants, and her intelligence goes under the radar of the gangsters who underestimate her.
Janhvi is convincing both as the helpless victim and the cunning mastermind that takes down the drug ring and escapes the police. Outwardly, Jerry is shown to have a scared sheep personality which belies the wiles that she is armed with.
Samta Sudiksha as Jerry’s younger sister Cherry and Mita Vashisht as their mother Sharbati also show wit and gall in the face of danger. Samta and Mita help build a realistic family dynamic between the sisters and the mother. Keeping up the façade of being helpless, the three women beat a mobster to a pulp and destroy the drug ring.
A strong supporting cast
Apart from the three women, the movie banks heavily on the performances of the supporting cast. Neeraj Sood plays Anil, the nosy neighbour who is smitten by Sharbati, and Deepak Dobriyal delivers a rib-tickling performance as the roadside Romeo Rinku who has fallen for Jerry. The drug boss Timmy, played by Jaswant Singh Dalal, helps pit Jerry as a formidable force. Even actors in smaller supporting roles, like Sahil Mehta as the henchman Jigar, leave their mark.
But this is no joke
The Bihari and Punjabi folks are not the butt of jokes in the dark comedy world of Good Luck Jerry, but the Northeast people are. Some of the dialogue refers to the looks of the delivery workers at the ‘Arjeeling Momo Company’ to which Sharbati supplies momos. Like when Cherry asks two distinctly different-looking Northeast men if their mother is able to tell them apart. Hope the film’s makers wake up to the fact that such jokes have long stopped to be funny.