Subhash K Jha reviews the Navjot Gulati film Jai Mummy Di starring Sunny Singh. Read it here.

Review of Jai Mummy Di:  A far smarter rom-com than it seems

Starring Sunny Singh, Sonnalli Seygall, Poonam Dhillon, Supriya Pathak

Written & Directed by Navjot Gulati

Rating: ****

The good newwz (excuse my sloppy spelling) is that there is a romcom far funnier than the recent overrated Good Newwz. In many sections of Jai Mummy Di, the deftly cut sharply written comedy, I found myself laughing so hard that I thought my sides would split.

Take this. Our hangdog-faced hero Puneet (Sunny Singh, reliably deadpan and droll) finds an ingenious formula to get rid of the hyper woman (a cousin to Yami Gautam in Bala) he’s being forced to marry.

He tells her he is gay.

Bride-to-be (Shiwani Saini, impressively goofy) refuses to believe her husband-to-be. “You can’t be gay. Have you ever worn V-necked t-shirts?”

Then she kisses him ….errr… hard. “If one kiss does this to you, imagine what more would do,” she giggles and dismisses his homosexual act, as Puneet stares helplessly at his giveaway evidence.

The above is one of the funniest sexiest scenes I’ve seen in a Hindi rom-com. Normally Hindi rom-com takes the convenient short route: keep the proceedings naughty enough to seduce audiences but never cross the line. Jai Mummy Di gets seriously sexy at times, as we meet the young neighbouring couple who have been meeting, and yes mating, for years, right under their warring Mums’ noses.

Straightway, let me tell you, it’s a delight to watch Supriya Pathak and Poonam Dhillon play wickedly pretentious, over-decked up Delhi Mummyjis trading insults as though they were going out of fashion. Speaking of fashion, Supriya’s Laali even accuses Poonam’s Pinky of wearing an outfit designed by ‘Karol Bagh ke Manish Malhotra’. Try beating that for womanly insult.

Contrary to the plot’s discernible thrust, this is not so much a film about the battling mums than a wicked satire on neighbourly love and surreptitious sex between a couple who will marry, if only their moms would come around. The dads in the meanwhile, remain blissfully in the shadows, until the climax when they plot with their progenies to foil their arranged marriages.

Sunny Singh as the less sophisticated, more sincere Puneet and Seygall as his far more sophisticated partner Saanjh are both substantive in their shared satirical space. When she flinches from his smooch, he wonders aloud if he has bad breath (and we flinch at his frankness), and when he pronounces afford as ‘eh-ford’ she snubs and corrects him with a savagery that is not a sign of one-upmanship, but just two people so comfortable with one another that they can say anything to one another without the fear of causing offence.

The climactic aborted double-wedding is a bit of a breathless mess. But by then I was laughing so hard that I really didn’t care how the confusion over Puneet and Saanjh sorted itself out, as long as it somehow did.

The dialogues are sharp. When the wedding-spoilers hire an actress, known as ‘Dilli ki Alia’ to appear at the wedding claiming to be the groom’s dumped lover, the girl forgets her lines.

“I know I am known as Delhi’s Alia. Lekin abhi mujh mein na Katrina wali feeling aa rahi hai,” the drama queen tells anyone who cares to listen.

The smart and funny lines flow freely to create a giggly glow around the outrageously conflicted comedy. The quips cascade so fast that you are likely to miss the next one while you are still chuckling over the previous one. Among the many memorable characters, I must single out Samarth Shandilya as Saanjh’s husband-to-be with a British accent. When he comes to ‘see’ his bride, he rattles off the number of cars parked in their bungalow. These are people you must have met in Delhi’s social-climbing circles, the sort who pronounce Gucci as Guki. This is far more sassy and smart than any of the recent romcoms.

There is even a sly dig at the recent gender-related conflicts when Puneet reprimands Saanjh for “objectifying” herself.

“Shut up and pay for the gol guppas,” she retorts. We hear you.

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