Mothers. Like them or loathe them, we all have them, and in some respects, we can’t live without them. Jai Mummy Di explores the dynamics of two people in love, with their respective mothers at loggerheads with one another. The battle between Poonam Dhillion and Supriya Pathak’s character seemed intriguing from the trailer, so I gave this one a go, hoping to be entertained.
This movie marked the second time I had seen the lead actor Sunny Singh on screen, having watched him in Ujda Chaman, a movie in which his titular character Chaman Kohli dealt with the burden of male pattern baldness (Ayushmann Khurrana did baldness better in Bala). This was the second on screen pairing of our hero and Sonnalli Seygall after Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (the first movie had a strange fascination with “kuttas”…), so they clearly had been put together again because of their infallible chemistry, right?
The movie opens with the 50th birthday celebrations of Pinky and Gurpal Bhulla (played by Poonam Dhillon and Danish Hussain respectively), a cringe worthy song playing, everyone dancing drunkenly. Mr. Bhulla questions why his wife doesn’t get along with Laali Khanna (Supriya Pathak), despite the two going college together years earlier. It’s a question on the lips of every party guest, with the two warring ladies too busy arguing about wearing the same saris to the bash, and that on the same day (buy one get one free?).
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Pinky says in a condescending manner, “I had this stitched by designer Manish Malhotra. I don’t go to local tailors like you.” (I guess all the fancy outfits in the movie were provided by double M himself!). To placate Mrs. Khanna, Trilochan Khanna (Rajendra Sethi) says to his wife “Let’s all go have dinner. Everyone’s praising the butter chicken.”
“The free-loader” Puneet Khanna (Sunny Singh; Sonnalli Seygall’s character’s words, not mine!) arrives to the bash with his drunk, famished Jagat Mama (Sukhwinder Chahal) who’s desperate to eat the caterer’s renowned butter chicken (the gag is coming, wait for it…). The Mama, i.e. uncle, makes his way to the buffet where he fills his plate, grinning from ear to ear, but discovers, to his chagrin, that the famous curry is reserved only for family members (that’s a great way to stop people overeating at functions!).
The irate uncle wants his butter chicken badly, so much so that he is willing to get into fisticuffs with friends and family in attendance, the chicken flying high into the air (what a waste of good food!). In turns, the uncle and his enemies flail an array of dishes at each other to convey their disgust. The playback singer singing about the butter chicken sent me in hysterics as the (not so) iconic image of the two battle axes played over the film’s title.
We are (I say this lightly) treated to a flashback scene of Puneet and Saanjh (Sonnalli Seygall) in their days at college (there has been no effort made to make them look younger!), Puneet wanting nothing more than getting intimate with his beau, and Saanjh needing commitment in the form of marriage.
The problem with this movie is that there are far too many songs in the place of story – we dive headfirst into their romance without any build-up whatsoever. This is picturized in the best (and only decent) song, “Mummy Nu Pasand”. With Puneet being commitment phobic (Sunny Singh must also be expression-phobic as he plays every scene with a dull, lifeless energy), the two go their separate ways, with Sunny moving houses as well.
It was nice to Alok Nath (playing Sanjog Luthra/Sanju Ji) in a movie again – I remembered his role in Maine Pyar Kiya with fondness (who doesn’t love Manohar!).
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Pinky brings Saanjh to a boring wedding, where she’s arranged her daughter to meet a prospective husband, who lives in the same town Rohini as them (Saanjh has an obsession with staying in Rohini), and who’s family run successful shoe stores across Delhi. At this wedding also is Mrs. Khanna and her family, with her son Puneet’s marriage at the forefront of her mind (makes a change from fighting with Pinky!). Saanjh questions why her suitor Dev (Bhuvan Arora) talks in an American accent, which he corrects as being British.
What follows is the worst British accent you will hear this side of London. “I went to the UK, for a holiday, I picked up the accent from there.” (This accent starts off in Australia and ends up in godknowswhereland). Dev impresses Saanjh with his plethora of cars (hopefully they’re better than his accents…), and Mrs. Khanna, while shopping, is belittled by a fellow mother about Puneet getting married later than Saanjh (the kind of bitch-fest that only happens in Indian grocery stores…).
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Dour-eyes (aka Puneet) meets his soon-to-be-bride Sakshi (Vasundhara Kaul) at the Gurudwara, reliving the highlights of Bangkok (reminiscing about holidays is the norm now…). Ironically, Puneet is not impressed by the girl, saying “The family’s really nice. The girl looks cold.” (she smiles a lot, he never does, and she’s looks cold?). Saanjh tells Puneet to not expect a wedding invitation until their mothers patch up (the only patching up they’ll do is their wounds after getting in the ring…), and Puneet tells his first lie to his wife-to-be (tut tut!).
They should be keeping their distance (in pre-social-distancing times), but are head over heels in love with each other, so what to do? Forget to pay the bill at a restaurant and at a pani puri stall, that’s what! (Sunny Singh’s full acting range is on show in this scene).
Puneet is plagued by thoughts of moving to Dubai and forging his career, or staying in Delhi with Saanjh, his lover correcting the way he says “Dubai” (she didn’t think to correct Dev?). The real focus of the movie should have been on the two mother’s, after all that’s what the trailer sold me on. There are scenes interspersed between our two lovers, but they are few and far between.
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Saanjh and Puneet resolve to get to the bottom of their mothers quarreling, to put a stop to it, so they can elope. Mr. Bhulla doesn’t care about their bickering, nor does Mr. Khanna, so they seek help from a one-time classmate of their mothers. Amusingly, the lothario reminisces about writing love letters just as his wife brings out tea, and (the latter) storms off in anger!
And so begins the quest to find the truth, and Puneet’s brother Vineet (Veer Rajwant Singh) tells Puneet he’s madly in love with a Christian girl called “Irene Lal” (sounds like a Desi name to me). Wedding proceedings in full flow, the lovers secretly have a rendezvous (code name for kiss; long since a taboo in Bollywood!) on their respective wedding night.
Saanjh says she’s had previous relationships, to which Dev responds, “But you know what my dad says, a mistake is something we call our experiences.” (I guess then Bhuvan Arora you call your part in this movie an experience…). Meanwhile, Puneet decides to thwart Sakshi by telling her he is gay, but she is not easily convinced as he doesn’t wear V-neck t-shirts and is handsome unlike gay people (there must be a village somewhere run exclusively by ugly, V-neck wearing gaylords…).
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Mrs. Khanna questions why her son is sulking (isn’t he always?); thoughts of his impending marriage on his mind. Things come to ahead at the double wedding night, with lies, accusations of infidelity, and family truths coming out into the open (Indians excel at this). Do Saanjh and Puneet ditch their spouses-to-be and get hitched? (lack of on-screen chemistry does not equal marriage in my eyes…) Do the mummies resolve their differences? (a certain uncle’s diary and his poor memory are key…) Does Dev’s accent ever stabilize? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!
I must say, as I mentioned earlier, it was a real shame the movie’s sole focus wasn’t the battle between the mothers (although there is a neat little flashback at the end), instead giving equal screen time to poorly-scripted characters such as Dev (and even Puneet). For a leading lady, yes Sonnalli Seygall is a bit of eye candy (for those inclined), but nothing more than that. The role didn’t require much range from her.
The only character that had lengthy range, in fairness, was the aforementioned butter chicken, which featured so prominently at the start of the movie, and is the only memorable thing to take away (pun intended!) from this lackluster movie (for a comedy-of-sorts, I didn’t laugh once!). In a possible sequel, maybe the battling mothers can put their differences aside so that their husbands can take center stage, pooling their resources together to make butter chicken, as well as a whole host of other tasty Indian dishes… (Jagat mama, eat your heart out, quite literally!)
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By The Bolly Hood
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