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Monday, December 11, 2023

Janhit Mein Jaari: Bollywood’s Pursuit To Normalise Sexual Health Conversation

Bollywood is currently thriving off the ‘infotainment’ genre, where films educate as well as entertain. For a few years now, since the prominence of titles like Pad Man and Badhaai Ho, among others, social comedies are becoming the new crowd-pullers.

It initially felt like these were the new box-office magnets. But then a title as Badhaai Do, a film which revolves around lavender marriages, worked more successfully on OTT than celluloid. Whereas YRF’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar, which depicts gender equality, bit the dust when it comes to commercial returns.

But if we dissect the styles of content, stories on reproduction have been quite highlighted. Last year’s Netflix breakthrough Mimi revolves around surrogacy. The film showed a dynamic side to Kriti Sanon’s craft as an actor. Then more recently, Helmet starts the societal conversation about condoms.

Taking the discussion on safe-sex forward is Jai Basantu Singh’s Janhit Mein Jaari. It narrates the story of Manokamna Tripathi (Nushrratt Bharuccha), a sales representative working for a local condom manufacturer in Madhya Pradesh. A tragic turn of events pushes her to immerse herself more emotionally and responsibly into the job than ever before. Will she find her family, seeped in conservative and orthodox ideologies, standing by her side eventually or will she paddle through all alone?

At a time when we commemorate or acknowledge powerful female narratives like Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar or Anupamaa on Star Plus, this movie arrives at a very relevant and important time. With an IMDB rating of 7.7, the picture received good reviews at the box office and struck a chord with the masses.

Bharuccha says: “I am proud of Janhit Mein Jaari for many reasons. The film deals with a taboo topic in an entertaining manner and the story is driven by a female actress which is rare. The film has managed to start a discussion around safe sex and take the conversation from people’s bedrooms to living rooms. I am glad that cinema today has the power to bring about a positive change and the movie has done just that.”

Writer Raaj Shaandliyaa opines: “As a filmmaker and a storyteller my main objective is to provide my audience with a socially relevant story which is interesting and has a touch of humour. This is one such story regarding a social issue with the main focus on some valid situations we all need to think about as individuals. I didn’t struggle at all to choose the cast for this movie as I know how talented and composed Nushrratt is when it comes to her work and after her performance in our previous project together, I couldn’t think of anyone else best for the role but her. The reaction and love from the audience are really overwhelming and I’ll make sure to always excite and entertain my audience with new projects and stories.”

This title is definitely a winner. But to what extent will the ‘infotainment’ style be relevant in mainstream Hindi cinema? Only time will tell.

Janhit Mein Jaari, produced by Vinod Bhanushali, streams on ZEE5.

Watch our special interview with Nushrratt Bharuccha here:

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