Jai Ho! Democracy (2015): A satire on the opportunistic politicians and the irresponsible media

An attempt to unmask those corroding our democratic setup

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Jai Ho! Democracy, Directed by Ranjit Kapoor, starring Om Puri, Annu Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Adil Hussain and Satish Kaushik
Jai Ho! Democracy (2015) By Ranjit Kapoor
Our Rating: 7.0
IMDb Ratings: 6.0
Genre: Comedy | War
Cast: Om Puri, Annu Kapoor, Satish Kaushik
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Runtime: 85 min
Color: Color

Summary: A freak incident in an Indian camp along the LoC triggers a war of words with their Pakistani counterparts on the other side of the no-man's land. News of this standoff between the two camps gets leaked to a news reporter and in no time, spreading rumors on national television that India and Pakistan are on the brink of a war. The Home Minister, in a bid to buy time, sets up a committee meeting to discuss the situation, submitting that they will decide whether India should go on war or not.
Jai Ho! Democracy is an Indian satirical comedy co-directed by Ranjit Kapoor and Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar. The movie stars renowned thespians like Om Puri, Annu Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Adil Hussain and Satish Kaushik in pivotal roles. The central theme of the movie is the policy paralysis that the yesteryear Indian governments have been notorious for. Jai Ho! Democracy satirizes how the powers-that-be procrastinate things endlessly, choosing to play the fiddle while Rome burns to ashes. The movie also takes a dig at the media by highlighting its desperation to focus upon the trivial issues. 

Annu Kapoor as former Chief Justice Ramalingam, in Jai Ho! Democracy, Co-directed by Ranjit Kapoor and Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar
Annu Kapoor as former Chief Justice Ramalingam
Jai Ho! Democracy is an attempt on the part of Ranjit Kapoor—the mastermind behind the cult classic Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)—to recreate the old magic. Does he succeed? Well, the answer is Yes… and No. Yes, because he revisits the old motifs with the same honesty and precision. There are moments in the film that call for unbridled joy and laughter. There are some tender moments in there as well but the high humor quotient inevitably gets the better of them. No, because the sharp-tongued criticism, dark humor, and the ambiguously incriminating tone of Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro remains unmatched.

Om Puri as right-wing heavy weight, Jai Ho! Democracy, Co-directed by Ranjit Kapoor and Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar
Om Puri (left) as right-wing heavyweight Pandeyji
Jai Ho! Democracy is a straightforward satire that takes a dig at the opportunistic politicians who lack the intent to act fact and according to the needs of the time in the best interest of the nation. All they are interested in is power and once they get hold of it, by hook or by crook, they are too reluctant to wield it for the benefit of their countrymen. They are masters at filibustering and often indulge in meaningless debates (both inside and outside the parliament) to cause unnecessary delays. For these political parasites, democracy is a sham. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “Democracy is a great institution and therefore it is liable to be greatly abused.”

Satish Kaushik as Minister of State for Defence Harpool Choudhry, in Jai Ho! Democracy (2015), Co-directed by Ranjit Kapoor and Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar
Satish Kaushik as MoS (Defence) Harpool Choudhry
Media is often regarded as the fourth pillar of democracy. It is the duty of the media to act with great responsibility while dealing with issues of national importance. And yet we are witnessing an unprecedented rise in yellow journalism with the advent of 24/7 private news channels—there is a desperate urge in the electronic media to sensationalize trivial issues for the sake of TRP.  In Jai Ho! Democracy, we see how an overzealous reporter blows a news of a minor standoff between the Indian and Pakistani soldiers along the LoC out of proportion, thereby dragging India and Pakistan on the brink of a war. And, viola, a high profile committee is set up to decide over the future course of action in retaliation to the aggression shown by the Pak army!

A female army officer at LoC, sends a warning on loud speaker, in Jai Ho! Democracy, Co-directed by Ranjit Kapoor and Bikramjeet Singh Bhullar
A Still from Jai Ho! Democracy
Overall, Jai Ho! Democracy serves as a great eye-opener, a relevant satire on the opportunistic politicians and the irresponsible media. And while it fails to pack a punch like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, it nonetheless succeeds in its attempt to unmask the shifty politicians and the manipulative media corroding our democratic setup. It also succeeds in delivering a message of love to the people on both sides of the border. Jai Ho! Democracy certainly lacks the razzmatazz of a typical masala film from Bollywood but it more than compensates for it with its honest criticism and relevant social message. The movie both entertains and offers ample food for thought. However, the casual viewers looking for pop-cornish entertainment are bound to nitpick in want of some pretty faces and escapism.  

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below . As always your feedback is highly appreciated!  

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4 comments:

  1. Looks like something i would love to watch since it doesn't seem to be too much flashy (honest and with a social message).
    Good review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you liked it... I am sure you will enjoy it! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks a lot for sharing your enlightening thoughts... needless to say, as a proven authority on cinema, your approval means a lot to me. As for Steiger and Kinski, I have yet to exhaust their filmographies... I will certainly try to start with some of the films that you have suggested above!

    ReplyDelete

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