Web Series “Jubilee” Review: Amazing Winner! \ e entertainment
Jubilee-irresistible celebration of cinema in all of its beautiful, hideous, and deplorable forms.
Producer by: Andolan Films, Phantom Studios and Reliance Entertainment.
Created by: Vikramaditya Motwane & Soumik Sen.
Director by: Vikramaditya Motwane.
Screenplay: Atul Sabharwal
Cast: Aparshakti Khurana, Prasenjit Chatterjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Wamiqa Gabbi, Sidhant, Ram Kapoor, Nandish Singh Sandhu, Shweta Basu Prasad, and ensemble.
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Runtime: 5 Episodes, Around 60 Minutes Each
Watch JUBILEE official trailer on youtube here 👉 CLICK HERE 👈
Our subconscious minds may store memories from the big screen thanks to cinema’s irreplaceable quality. Behind-the-scenes drama and scandals that are experienced vicariously and permanently through rumour and grapevine become lore. In order to achieve a stunning feat of storytelling flourish and vintage verve, Vikramaditya Motwane’s Jubilee time travels into the heyday of black and white Hindi films. The 10-part series, produced by Motwane and Soumik Sen for Amazon Prime Video (five episodes are already available, and five more will be released the following Friday, April 14), goes far beyond a romanticised look at the era by revealing the deceit hidden behind the glamorous façade.
Jubilee starts as India is about to gain its independence, but the horrors of Partition and the general sense of uncertainty and unrest that followed them cut short the celebrations. Though the show continues in Bombay (as it was then officially known), the city of dreams and the origin of Hindi cinema, its close-knit, self-absorbed magicians will do whatever it takes to draw the audience inside the theatres. For the sake of their studio, Roy Talkies, which is based on the storied Bombay talkies founded by husband-and-wife acting team Himanshu Rai and Devika Rani, Srikant Roy (Prosenjit Chatterjee) and Sumitra Kumari (Aditi Rao Hydari) reluctantly stay together. At the time of their marriage’s breakdown, divorce was still viewed negatively. Roy aspires to have control over people’s lives both on and off the screen, while Sumitra’s need to escape the toxic cage leads to a passionate relationship with Jamshed Khan, a theatre performer (Nandish Singh Sandhu) her husband plans to introduce as the next big thing, namely Madan Kumar — Khan hero nahi bante isliye naam badal diya hai (a wink at all the Khans that would rule in the future (interestingly a movie Dilip Kumar worked in 1968).
However, India’s violent political climate has other plans in mind, giving Binod Das (Aparshakti Khurana), Roy’s right-hand man, a chance to fulfil his repressed acting ambitions and become an overnight sensation known as Madan Kumar. Devika Rani’s romance with the original hero Najm-Ul-Hassan caused him to be fired and permanently relocate to Pakistan, while Kumudlal Ganguly, a technician for Bombay Talkies, went on to become a jubilee star who is now known as Ashok Kumar.
The heart of this Mad Men-styled chronicling of Hindi films through the lens of history is Sabhwarwal’s juicy mix of fact and fiction: the power of radio; the nosey government; the Soviet Union’s artistic propaganda; German directors and engineering; song bans; American-Russian competition for monopolising the overseas market; the popularity of Radio Ceylon and musical countdowns; the live orchestra on set; and the invention of playback singing. Filmon ka karobar kuch saalon mein government ke andar aa jayega is as prescient as it is predictable in its propensity for never learning from previous mistakes, connecting its “azad desh ke ghulam” sentiment from then to now, like when someone scoffs. When it comes to the past, Motwane’s sepia-toned Jubilee originally had a monochrome image in mind, but he decided it would be more practical to keep it to just the opening credits, which are presented in an authentic black and white. He is primarily interested in the ambiguous aspects of human behaviour.
Technically speaking, it’s a lavishly staged small-screen epic, with meticulous research put into the sets, costumes, background music, cinematography, character development, and production values. Anurag Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet featured one of Amit Trivedi’s best soundtracks to date, and Jubilee doesn’t have any trouble transporting us back in time. One of its songs, Chandu Naache Chanda Naachi, is a catchy reworking of Shree 420’s melodic riddle Ichak Daana Beechak Daana. It’s nice to see the actor take a break from his divine duties. Every song can be traced back to the nostalgic melody of the 1950s. Sometimes it even permeates the dialogue. It’s obvious that a character’s famous line, “Daav lag gaya na teri taqdeer ban jayegi teri,” was inspired by Baazi’s hit song Taqdeer Se Bigdi Hui Tadbeer.
Star Packed Performance:
Jubilee’s strongest points, however, come from its nuanced, intensely internalised performances, particularly those of Aparshakti, Prosenjit, and Wamiqa Gabbi. The transformation of Aparshakti into Madan Kumar represents a radical departure from his clownish persona. As the complex character who silently bullies his way to success but must eventually pay the price for being his master’s blue-eyed boy, he is a revelation. Jubilee plays on the duality of his dread as well as the two Madan Kumars—the star and the ghost—and fits it lyrically within the context of India’s tryst with destiny. He is tormented by a guilt befitting a Shakespearean play inspired by a Shakespearean actor. Whereas Sidhant Gupta’s Madan Kumar evokes Ashok Kumar’s Babu Moshai roots and Dilip Kumar’s rigorous acting school, Jay Khanna’s (an adequate Sidhant Gupta) struggles as an aspiring filmmaker highlight the plight of the dispersed Punjabi refugee families starting life anew in a chaotic camp set in Sion. Jubilee tips its hat to Bollywood’s original trinity with a blend of Dev Anand’s jovial charms, Raj Kapoor’s theatre family roots in Pakistan, Jay’s sharing of an umbrella under the rain scenario, à la Shree 420, while peddling a script called Taxi Driver.
In Prosenjit’s pipe-smoking Roy, a ruthless visionary zooming in and out of the art deco architecture of his priceless studio that he is committed to protecting at all costs, Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool looms large. Prosenjit’s performance is akin to being gently stabbed in the gut with a dagger as he never reveals his cards. Aditi Rao Hydari, his bitter half, frequently lets her vintage fashion interfere with the sarcasm and scorn she wants to convey. Her soulless performance, in which she plays a domestically troubled studio boss like a spoiled brat of an exclusive SoBo club, is a weak protest against sexist ideas that the general public should follow male heroes. In Motwane’s tale of the golden age, Wamiqa Gabbi’s Nilofer rises to the top despite being billed lower. She is a strong, confident woman who isn’t afraid to flirt and lie to get her moment in the spotlight. Sheila Ramani’s adas and seduction, Minoo Mumtaz’s Cuckoo, and Sheila Ramani’s Cuckoo are all combined to make the actress transform a spunky stereotype into a real-life livewire. Despite being primarily a supporting role, Shweta Basu Prasad’s generosity and grace as Bipin’s forgiving wife give Jubilee an easy dynamic to rely on.
What doesn’t work:
The absence of Jamshed Khan, played by Nandish Singh Sandhu, weaves the plot of the show, but the first five episodes hardly delve into his character. We don’t know him well enough or have had enough time with him to feel sympathetic . The show’s second half might have more to offer. However, Sandhu does a pretty good job. The show’s pacing lends itself to its slow-burning narrative. However, if the same pace is maintained, there will be a lot to cover in the next five hours. I wonder, if it will be able to.
Every episode, which lasts close to an hour, is crammed with dramatic tension and emotional conflict that explodes in awe-inspiring fashion, unconcerned about the length or realism. A lip sync song-and-dance demonstration arguing the merits of pre recorded songs by Madan Kumar and Prosenjit for the benefit of a sceptic, a spontaneous audition obscuring a sinister psyche — Jubilee’s irresistible celebration of cinema and all its good, bad, and ugly ways lives up to its title. Ram Kapoor steals scenes in brief appearances as usual.
Rating : 3.5/5
Author: Sangeeta Verma
Occupation: I am an Indian film critic and reviewer
Education: I have Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Masters in Mass Communication
Career: I started my career as a freelance writer and film critic and continuing it. I have rich experience of about 10 years