Judgementall Hai Kya Are you judgmental? is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language black comedy film directed by Prakash Kovelamudi, with screenplay by Kanika Dhillon starring Rajkummar Rao and Kangana Ranaut. Produced by Ekta Kapoor, the film was theatrically released in India on 26 July 2019.
Bobby is a strange wealthy young woman living alone in Mumbai and working as a dubbing artist. In childhood, she had interfered in a fight between her parents, causing them to fall off the terrace to their deaths. When a producer touches her at work, she reacts by slicing his nose with a knife. She is then sent to an asylum. Her uncle manages her property and offers her house as a rental to a young married couple. Keshav is the husband to Reema. Bobby is obsessed with the couple and spies and stalks them constantly. Reema dies in a fire in the kitchen when a bottle of pesticide explodes. Bobby suspects Keshav and tries to get the police to investigate him but they find no evidence. She hallucinates Keshav threatening her and hits him with a chair in front of the police. She is put back in the asylum. It is revealed that she is imagining things; during electric shock treatment, she remembers that she threw the pesticide on the wife because she hallucinated a cockroach on her.
Two years later, Bobby is taking her meds but not leaving her house. Her cousin in London arranges for Bobby to be an understudy in a re-imagining of the Ramayana that she is helping design. When Bobby meets her cousin’s new husband, it turns out to be Keshav. Keshav warns his wife that Bobby is not stable but his wife does not believe him. Bobby starts to lose herself in the character of Sita that she is understudying. She believes Keshav is Raavan and it is up to her to defeat him. Keshav panics and reaches out to her old boyfriend, Varun, who confirms that she obsesses over things and had imagined him to be a criminal. He breaks into her house and finds boxes of photos with Bobby photoshopped in instead of Keshav’s wife. A photo of Keshav’s wedding to her cousin proves that Bobby knew beforehand that they were married.
Keshav confronts Bobby. The next morning, he tells his wife that Bobby tried to kiss him, and she in turn tells his wife that he tried to rape her. When she later sees Keshav backstage, she grabs an ax and chases him, cutting a rope that sends a light falling. Afraid she has hurt someone, she goes on the run and gains three hallucinatory friends. They take her to a library, where she researches Keshav and thinks she has found evidence that he is a serial killer who takes on new identities and kills his wives. She returns to the house to confront him, dressed as Sita, ties up her pregnant cousin and when Keshav arrives, threatens him. Keshav tries to reason with her before revealing that he IS indeed a serial killer. He even killed his first wife, throwing the match on her after Bobby covered her in pesticide. Bobby fights him and she and her cousin are both saved when Keshav is burnt alive in the same manner in which his victims burned to death. At the end, she strides down the street in London surrounded by her hallucinations proudly declaring that she is what she is and will not change.
My Personal Thoughts
A brutal childhood trauma leaves Bobby (Kangana Ranaut) diagnosed with acute psychosis in her adult years. And after doing time at an asylum for assaulting a coworker, she is let off on the condition that she will stick with her medication. Bobby is a dubbing artist for movies, where she is the voice of the female lead characters. And interestingly, her mind is a medley of all the characters she has voiced. For every time she dubs, she gets obsessed with her onscreen avatar and imagines herself in place of the character. This obsession is dealt with a narrative treatment that’s cool and quirky.
To bring out this element of madness in her further, there’s also a busy wall in her house that has photographs of her dressed as every character she has dubbed for. And deep down, Bobby yearns to be an actor herself, something that her manager cum so-called boyfriend, Varun (Hussain Dalal), is unable to pull off. So he ends up grocery shopping with her more often than ‘getting lucky’ on dates. When he protests, she tells him without batting an eyelid, “Tum aloo ke jaise nahin ho sakte… easy going and adjusting. Be like aloo.”
In the midst of this existence, enter Keshav and Rima (Rajkummar Rao and Amyra Dastur) as her new tenants and a much in love couple. And Bobby gets drawn to their love story, which in her world is too good to be true. But then a murder breaks this momentum and Bobby believes Keshav is the culprit. Is it her overactive imagination, or is it her paranoia to the power ten that has led her to do this instead? The characters here are twisted… and you are left wondering, trying to figure which of the two has blood on their hands.
Bobby is always in a zone – that’s funny and alarming – and in her contorted world, she imagines characters and hears voices. Interestingly, the story leads to a frenzied turn of events, with Bobby’s imaginary world often blurring into shocking reality.
Prakash Kovelamudi’s narrative style is quirky, edgy and one that absorbs you instantly. The mood is set with shots in dappled light, play of light and shadows and high contrast shots. The stylisation of the scenes, characters and sound design ensures that the atmosphere remains intriguing throughout the story.
To give it another dimension, the film brings in an underlying motif of the Ramayana, albeit with a modern day twist. At one point in the film, Bobby tells Keshav, “Ab Sita Ravan ko dhundegi.” ‘Judgementall Hai Kya’ keeps you engaged all the way, though the screenplay in the second half does go a bit awry at times, with some scenes that seem stretched. The climax, something that you’re waiting for, is hurried. Nonetheless, it is worth the wait.
The performances are consistent throughout and it’s delightful to see such talented actors feed off each other. Kangana Ranaut is brilliant as Bobby, as she seamlessly gets under the skin of her character, nailing the quirks and nuances. Even her styling makes a statement without going overboard. Rajkummar Rao, fits into his slightly macho, edgy persona like a glove. We haven’t seen him in a role like this before and he pulls it off fantastically. Jimmy Sheirgill impresses as he breaks out of the one note characters he has been playing lately. Amrita Puri, too, holds her own very well. And Hussain Dalal brings in the comic quotient quite effectively.
‘Judgementall Hai Kya’ keeps the element of suspense alive all the way till the end. The film pushes the envelope as a dark, psychological whodunit, with a social message weaved in that can’t be ignored. The film treads into a zone where Bollywood has rarely been, and just for that, it deserves applause.
I will rate this movie 6/10.
|Directed by||Prakash Kovelamudi|
|Produced by||Ekta Kapoor|
Shailesh R Singh
|Screenplay by||Kanika Dhillon|
Daniel B. George
Daniel B. George
|Edited by||Shweta Venkat Matthew|
|Balaji Motion Pictures|
Karma Media and Entertainment
|Distributed by||Pen Marudhar Entertainment|
|Release date||26 July 2019|
|Running time||116 minutes|
|Box office||est. ₹44.92 crore|