Good Luck Jerry review: Janhvi ‘Jerry’ Kapoor is too smart for the desi Toms

Writer Pankaj Matta, director Siddharth Sen assimilate different cultures in Punjab to produce a fine, hilarious adaptation of Nelson’s dark Tamil comedy, Kolamaavu Kokila [2018].

Language: Hindi

Rating: 3.5 / 5

By Mayur Lookhar

A Jerry outwits a Tom, but only in a cartoon. In the big bad world, the Jerrys are easy prey. Cornered in a tight spot, Jaya Kumari aka Jerry [Janhvi Kapoor] seizes the only opening. It’s one that brings her in the ambit of the notorious drug business of Punjab. After riding her luck early, the Bihari migrant unearths the cold truth of the dirty business. Jerry ki jaan khatre mein [Jerry’s life is in danger] but a true Bihari is not one to give in easily.

Director Siddharth Sen’s Good Luck Jerry [2022] is the official Hindi remake of the 2018 Tamil black comedy Kolamaavu Kokila. As often, the south gives way to a northern setting. Punjab, with its drug menace, fits the bill perfectly. Sen retains the core plot from writer-director Nelson’s original Tamil film. Expectedly, he tweaks few things for the Hindi remake. Writer Pankaj Matta assimilates different cultures in Punjab to produce a fine, hilarious adaptation of Nelson’s dark comedy.

Even if you watched the original, it won’t dampen your experience of the Hindi remake that shines for its true Punjabi flavor. Add a bit of Litti Chokha and Nepali Red Sauce, and it sure will leave a unique taste on your palate And it’s the Momo that binds the three cultures. We don’t recollect the exact words, but Jerry finely quips, “Out here, Nepali paka raha hai, Bihari bail raha hai, aur Punjabi bech raha hai. Sarbati [Mita Vashisht], the Bihari widower from Darbhanga and her daughter Jerry, make ends meet in faraway Punjab by selling Momos. Of course having learnt the delicacy from the Nepalese community in the vicinity. The Punjabi Anil ji [Neeraj Sood] helps the poor Bihari family in their endeavour but he also crushes over Sarbati.

What’s likable about Good Luck Jerry is how it stays clear of stereotyping other communities in Punjab. This hospitality is strangely shown by the baddies in Good Luck Jerry. Timmy [Jaswant Singh Dalal] questions Jerry over how many people in her family intend to sell drugs? A henchman warmly informs Timmy that In Bihar, I is referred as Hum [We].

The biggest local lord here is Daler [Sushant Singh] who reminds the Bihari migrants, “Come live, earn, enjoy in Punjab, but just don’t mess with us”. Worryingly for Jerry, she has many desi Toms chasing her. There’s Timmy, the man who hired her as a drug courier. He also has some feelings for the Bihari girl. After tackling few moles within, Jerry finds herself being chased by the distributor Malik [Saurabh Sachdeva], the producer Daler, and Timmy, too, turns against her. While Inspector Lal [Rajendra Sethi] is on the prowl to hunt down the local drug mafia.

If that wasn’t enough, she is constantly bugged by her neighboring Romeo, Rinku Khanna [Deepak Dobriyal]. Her young sister Cherry [Samta Sudiksha], too, is stalked by one Romeo who often turns up in his wedding outfit in the hope that she will accept his proposal. Ah, the Bihari ladies have plenty of nuisance to deal with. Just when you think the women would become easy prey, the trio spring a surprise.

Sushant Singh as Daler in Good Luck Jerry [2022]

Good Luck Jerry’s humour stems from its cultural mix, where the Punjabis naturally take the lead. Though nosy, Deepak Dobriyal’s Rinku has you in splits with his wit and SRK-mannerism. Sushant Singh braves to unleash the Punjabi wicked sense of humour. “I’m not violent, but work is worship,” says Daler just before shooting a man. Singh is intimidating and amusing in equal breath. Saurabh Sachdeva’s Malik embodies the jovial spirit of Crimemaster Gogo [Shakti Kpaoor’s iconic funny villain in Andaz Apna Apna [1994]. Maybe, he’s too weird and nice for a drug distributor. Him restoring to sign language at a critical moment eases the tension for all and sundry. It rekindled memories of the comical contactless, noise free fight between Crimemaster Gogo and Salman Khan.

Sahil Mehta as Jigar in Good Luck Jerry [2022]

Jaswant Singh Dalal is not funny, but his troubled neck amuses his boys. Of all the Punjabi characters, we were particularly intrigued by Sahil Mehta. Jigar, or Jigrey [Mehta] as he is fondly called, looks frail, doped but he’s the most dangerous criminal in Timmy’s gang. Mehta plays his role with full conviction. He gets the most disruptive funny line. “Humne police ko chaaro taraf se gher liya hai (We’ve surrounded the police from all sides). Oh how the tables have turned in an Hindi film.

The veteran Daddu [Mohan Kamboj] likes correcting people that his name is Mahinder Chandal, not Chaandaal. Anil ji [Neeraj Sood] is the good hearted but slightly nosy Punjabi neighbor. While it might not appeal the Hindi speaking audience, but credit to the director who keeps few conversations between the Punjabi characters in the native language.

A good dark comedy is one where the humour comes through its tense moments. The baddies in the film are very natural in expressing their frustrations. What’s also appreciable is how every key character gets to leave his/her impression. Dobriyal, Sachdeva, Sushant Singh, Mehta, Kamboj will cherish their Good Luck Jerry experience for a long time. Mita Vashisht proves her class yet again. Even young Samta Sudiksha gets to show her mettle when Cherry gives a mouthful to the two nosy Romeos – Dobriyal and Navpreet Singh. It would be unfair if we miss out on the menacing show by Bablu [Vinod Tharani], the goon who tries raping Jerry. The mention of so many actors bears testimony to Mukesh Chhabra’s good casting.

It leaves us with just one person – Janhvi Kapoor. Given her Punjabi, Telugu roots, we were not sure whether Janhvi could pull this one off. The young actress gets hauled up over nepotism regularly, but with every film, she continues to impress us with her sincere efforts. Don’t look for a chaste Bhojpuri as that would have ended up as a farce. Also, don’t miss the importance of the Christian names. Perhaps the Jerry name was given at the massage parlor where she works. It is common for a masseuse to not reveal their real names to voyeuristic customers. Maybe, Chhaya, too, has reasons to be called Cherry.

What’s likable about Kapoor is how she does well within her limitations. Jerry starts off as feeble character, but the vagaries of life bring out the brave Bihari in her. It’s that innocence, vulnerability that works to her advantage. You are left shocked when the petrified girl gesticulates Timmy to take out the other suspected mole in the gang. Janhvi gets into the skin of her character and delivers a fine performance.

The quirky songs are nicely ingrained into the corresponding situation. The humour content builds consistent engagement, but maybe, Jerry tries one trick too many. A Jerry escaping trouble from all ends in a cartoon film is fine, but the director gets carried away with the prowess of his human Jerry. The climax stretches a bit. However, the good luck in the title is there for a reason. Also, a premier instant noodles brand may have reservation over its representation by the ‘LEAD’ actress.

It’s sad that the Covid wave in the past forced the producers – Mahaveer Jain and Color Yellow Productions, into opting for a digital release. Neverthess, watch Good Luck Jerry [2022] with the entire family from the comforts of your smart TV/ other devices.

Good Luck Jerry [2022] will be streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from today [29 July]. Watch the trailer below.

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