Inside a mother beats a heart so fierce, that she will go all out to ensure the safety of her daughter; even if she has to turn black into white. This is exactly what Sanjay Gupta's JAZBAA (a remake of the Korean film Seven Days) is. JAZBAA puts mother in the forefront as she breaks all rules to see the safety of her only child... and seek revenge.
Anuradha Verma (Aishwarya Rai) is a criminal lawyer who wins all cases. There's no penetrating her defence, even in an 'open and shut' case. Her daughter is kidnapped and the person on the other end of the line wants the convicted criminal in a case of rape and murder to be set free. He should not be hanged or jailed. She has just seven days to file the appeal.
Why would someone want a criminal, who is convicted with all odds stacked against him, set free? After all we are talking about a brutal rape and murder here. Who are the people behind this? And why would they want their man out?
Anuradha's every move is stalked and she is forced to shrug off the police who are trying to help her out in getting her daughter back. Even her best friend and suspended police officer Yohan (Irrfan Khan) is kept in the dark about the kidnapping.
However, when Yohann learns the truth, he works parallelly to solve the case. The case, as it progresses, does not seem like a simple open and shut case. There's more muck that flows out as the court proceedings get going. The turn in the end is truly baffling. This is a whodunit that does not allow you to guess but wants you to wait till the end for the 'suspect' to reveal self!
Gupta establishes the credentials of Anuradha as a single mother with a tough exterior managing home and career within the first few frames. He also establishes Yohan's character brilliantly. This is slick. There is an underlying chemistry between Yohan and Anuradha which Gupta executes cleverly. It snowballs in the end when the two meet for a final scene.
Irrfan outshines in JAZBAA playing the crack cop with a soft heart for Anuradha and her daughter. He delivers his one-liners stylishly and also carries off his swagger to a nicety. It would have been so easy for him to carry off the role as the CDI investigating officer from last week's TALVAR to JAZBAA. He does not. There is a distinct deviation from the two characters although they go after the same element-truth. He is truly top class here, stylish and full of power. His last dialogue at the end of the film is sure to bring in the ceetis. As he lets Anuradha go away (meeting her after a long time), his friend asks him: ''Aaaj bhi jaane diya?
'' to which he replies: ''Yeh to mohabbat hai, isiliye jaane diya. Zid hoti to baahon mein hoti.''
Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan coming on screen after GUZAARISH makes a strong statement with her impeccable performance. She balances well the role of a tough lawyer and a mother. It is she and Irrfan Khan who move the story forward. Their intensity catches you off guard and their underlying love nudges at your heart.
The suspense is taut as Gupta keeps oscillating from the courtroom to the crime scene to establish the motives and alibis of the different characters. What is jarring though is Jackie Shroff's character as a powerful politician. That aspect is a weak link in this whodunit.
Overall, JAZBAA is a well-made film true to its genre. It has a message and it has a motive!