Jersey - Movie Review

Friday, April 19, 2019 - 12:00
Jersey (2019)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Jersey
Cast: Nani, Shraddha Srinath, Sathya Raj, Ronith, Praveen and others
Music: Anirudh Ravichander
DOP: Sanu John Varughese
Editor: Naveen Nooli
Art Director: Avinash Kolla
Banner: Sithara Entertainments
Presenter: PDV Prasad
Producer: Suryadevara Naga Vamsi
Written and directed by: Gowtam Tinnanuri
Release date: April 19, 2019
CBFC Rating: U
Running time: 160 min

What’s it about!
Arjun (Nani), an exceptional cricketer marries Sarah Fernandes (Shraddha Srinath) and quits professional cricket at the age of 26 surprising his wife. They have a son. He loses his job along with 15 others over corruption charges. He has been trying to prove his innocence and life turns a struggle for him without money, with his wife being the lone bread winner. When his 7-year-old son asks for an Indian cricket team’s Jersey as his birthday gift, situations make Arjun to take up the bat again and try for a place in Hyderabad team at the age of 36. What happens next?
It is surprising to note that a cricket-mad country like ours has produced just a handful movies on cricket. In Tollywood, the number comes down to almost nil (Indraganti’s ‘Golconda High School’ comes to mind). Nani’s ‘Jersey’, directed by Gowtam Tinnanuri, is here to fill the gap. This is an out and out cricket flick. Even though ‘Majili’ that released two weeks ago has also dealt with the game of cricket, it is not an all sports movie.
No two words about it, “Jersey” is brilliantly made sports drama. Filled with high emotional moments, realistic sequences, nail-biting cricket matches, the film hits a sixer. The father-son drama supersedes the main game but it also does have enough sports moments in the second half.

I was not much impressed with Gowtam Tinnanuri’s debut movie ‘Malli Raava’ for its lengthy romantic episode on teenagers but in his second film, the director impresses with his brilliant screenplay writing and deft direction. The way he begins the story and ends it with a good twist is testimonial of his writing skills. 

In one line, the film is all about a 36-year-old achieving the impossible: a place in cricket team. But narrating this simple line with amazing characters and touching moments has made all the difference.
Gowtam has established the basic story line in the very beginning itself – by commencing it with Arjun’s grown up son in New York recalling his father’s journey. 

Gowtam Tinnanuri switches the story from main point of how Arjun’s life has become wretched after losing his job and his money problems as well as his zeal to make his son proud. He has written simple scenes but they are quite effective on the screen thanks to the performances of the actors.
There are many good moments in the film: Nani’s son telling his mother a lie about his mark on face, Nani going to a railway track to yell out his joy when he gets selected, and the casual way of telling the final twist.
While the middle portion swells too lengthy, the film comes to compelling moments in the second half. It has many moments that makes you shed a tear or two.
However, Nani trying hard to get Rs 500 to buy a jersey is not convincing. The amount is too little for him to struggle to get even in 1996. This is a major flaw. Also the length of the movie is another issue. Some scenes remind us of 2006 Hollywood movie 'The Pursuit of Happyness'.
As we started feeling that Nani has standardized his acting style and is not coming up with something different as far as performance is concerned, he has sprung surprise in this movie. In this emotionally-charged character, he exhibits touchingly honest act. This is one of his best, soulful performances. His strong work can be noticed in the later portions.
The kid Ronith who did the role of Nani’s son not only looks cute but also impresses with his acting style. Shraddha Srinath, an actress known for her Tamil/Kannada movies, makes impressive debut. As Sarah, she is totally convincing. This is quite matured performance. Veteran actor Sathya Raj as Nani’s guiding force is another beautiful performance in the film. Praveen as Nani’s friend is good.
Sports-based movies work effectively when the technical and production values are impeccable. Shanu Varghese’s camera work is phenomenal. He has captured the frenetic mood of matches so well. More than the songs, Anirudh Ravichander’s background score remains the highlight. Pace of the movie is at leisure, it needs tighter editing. Production values are excellent.
Director Gautam Tinnanuri impresses with his deft direction than his debut attempt ‘Malli Raava’. He has not only chosen sparsely explored sports genre but also has narrated it in honesty, not meandering away from the plot. 

Bottom-line: ‘Jersey’ is refreshing and compelling sports drama and the film offers many heart-warming moments. Climax sequence is superb. Nani’s brilliant performance, emotional scenes and honest narration makes this a good movie.

Reviewed by: 
J Gudelli