The point with remakes is this: They may be excellent, even surpassing the original, or they might be a total catastrophe. Shahid Kapoor’s 2022 release, which is a remake of the 2019 film of the same name and directed by the same person (Gowtam Tinnanuri), is a mixed bag. The scene-by-scene parallels are unavoidable if you’ve watched the original featuring Nani. And if you’re a first-time visitor to Jersey, you could have a different experience.
Jersey is centred on the sport of cricket, but at its core is a touching father-son narrative. A narrative about second chances, about keeping the human spirit alive in the face of adversity and making sacrifices to realise one’s aspirations. Shahid portrays Arjun Talwar, a 36-year-old cricketer who quit the game to devote his time to his wife (Mrunal Thakur) and child (Ronit Kamra). You can take a guy out of his sport, but not the man out of his sport. Arjun returns to the pitch where he belongs as life takes an unexpected turn. The circumstances are unique, and the stakes are high as well. Arjun is facing his toughest battle in his life as he ages and tries to keep up with his wife and child’s expectations. Jersey is all about whether he will knock a six or get clean bowled in his second innings.
In terms of the film, director Gowtam Tinnanuri maintains to his original concept and treatment, but the place and characters have been relocated to North India. Jersey isn’t your normal sports movie, where every six and a four gets a round of applause and shouts. It’s a serious film that tackles topics that aren’t immediately apparent. Arjun is one of the most sympathetic characters because of his anxiety, shame, and disgust with life as he watches it pass him by. Shahid goes all out to illustrate how much agony he’s in. His honesty in being true to Arjun’s hardships and sensitivity is what elevates his performance to the level of Haider and Kaminey. In the early part of the film, most of the characters take their time establishing their connection with Arjun. Mrunal Thakur’s portrayal of Arjun’s wife Vidya is stunning. She is a hot-cold lady who cannot connect to her husband’s method of accepting his destiny. The novel alternates between glimpses of how their love used to be and the bleak situation in which it currently finds itself. Pankaj Kapoor, who plays the coach and has unflinching faith in Arjun, seems at comfortable in moments with his real-life son. The moments between Pankaj and Shahid in Jersey are undeniably one of the film’s finest. Shahid matches the sound of a rushing locomotive with his loud gut-wrenching scream in the film’s standout sequence, which takes place at a railway station. It’s a difficult scenario, but Kapoor nails it.
Jersey, on the other hand, is excessively lengthy and has trouble keeping up with the pace, particularly in the early half. When we first meet Arjun, our first instinct is to go deeper and figure out why he’s so helpless and unhappy. The major reveal in the finale feels hurried, and when you attempt to piece together the events leading up to it, you question whether you really got to know Arjun at all. In addition, the cricket sequences in the second half start out well but quickly lose momentum and become monotonous.
Shahid Kapoor’s performance in Jersey is terrific, and it once again demonstrates his acting prowess. The film is a must-see for admirers of the actor.