Jee Karda Review: A Predictable Friendship Drama That Lacks Purpose, Just Exists Suspended In Relatability

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Jee Karda Review: A Predictable Friendship Drama That Lacks Purpose, Just Exists Suspended In Relatability
hauterrfly Rating: 2 / 5

What is it about stories of friendship that you simply can’t look away from? Jee Karda, Prime Video’s latest offering, a story about a group of childhood friends on an inevitable collision course that’ll result in a destructive big bang, is shockingly predictable. Yet it is palatable because there’s a familiarity with these characters; they could be you and your friends. And this familiarity breeds reliability. But is that enough? Starring Tamannaah Bhatia, Aashim Gulati, Suhail Nayyar, Anya Singh, Hussain Dalal, Sayan Banerjee, and Samvedna Suwalka, along with Simone Singh and Malhar Thakar, Jee Karda is directed by Arunima Sharma, co-written by Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal, and produced by Dinesh Vijan’s Maddock Films.

 

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Jee Karda is about seven 30-year-olds who’ve been together since school. Lavanya (Tamannah) is your typical ambitious high-flier working woman, raised by a single mother who’s equally modern. Rishabh (Suhail Nayyar), is a businessman with conservative parents, at constant friction with his attempts at being a good, feminist ally boyfriend to Lavanya. His BFF/brother-from-another-mother is Arjun (Aashim Gulati), a Punjabi rockstar, stage name AG the OG, that the country is obsessed with. He has never known his father, has been raised by a single mom, and is just the kind of f*ckboy that a girl like Lavanya would deign to go for when younger, if not for his philandering ways.

Preet (Anya Singh) is that one girl in your group who is always there for everyone (she’s also a therapist). She is wise, yet falls for the wrong guys and is unlucky in love. Naturally, she thinks Arjun is a good idea (Big Pisces energy). Sheetal (Samvedna Suwalka) is the Gujju girl who married young for love, and made adjustments with everything from her career to her personal space, but is reaching the end of her threshold. Melroy (Sayan Banerjee) is queer, and has childhood trauma, and that’s literally his entire personality in the show. We don’t even know what his profession is. And finally, there’s Shahid (Hussain Dalal), last and also treated subconsciously as the least, because he belongs to a different socio-economic class and is sensitive about a lot of things the others aren’t. So his feelings are often dismissed or belittled.

 

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I anticipated this when I saw the poster, and as expected, Jee Karda is stretched thin over the seven characters it must talk about. The first episode is just scene after scene of people showing up on screen and you, the audience, trying to keep track of who the leads are, and who is in the supporting cast. In one scene, where Anya Singh’s Preet bumps into Melroy, who is one of the seven friends, for a good two minutes I believed him to be just one of her friendly neighbours she was an unofficial therapist to. It’s when the poster flashed before me that I realised, oh wait, this character’s actually important. Must focus.

From the seven friends, only three have been charged with main character energy, and of these three too, only Tamannaah and Aashim were able to properly channel it into something substantial. If the description of these characters that you read above feels somewhat shallow, it is indeed so. Because not much effort has been made to lend them any depth.

The same can be said for the plot, which progresses exactly the way you think it would from watching the trailer. The writing feels unimaginative as if the makers found a bunch of friends and decided to just capture their lives as they happened. That would make the disconnected scenes that jump from one character to another make somewhat sense. Instead, you’re left with a story that makes you feel nothing at all.

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What’s sadder is that the friendships too make you feel no emotion, despite a parallel flashback of these characters in their childhood to show you what really binds them together. You root for a non-familial relationship when the people staying together make sense, so much that you wish they stayed together despite odds. But Jee Karda fails to evoke any such fierce loyalty towards any of the friendships. I had hope that when Lavanya broke the rules with Arjun, it would be passionate and forbidden, and therefore, make me feel something. But the way it happened between the two was so bizarre, I kept shaking my head in disagreement the entire time.

But, my biggest problem with Jee Karda was that every feeling was so explicitly spelt out with lyrics and song which populated every pause in the dialogue. Must every feeling be set to a music video vibe? Is this a show or a collection of Instagram reels, bro?

And yet…. This ‘yet’ is something inexplicable to me. Jee Karda held me till the end. Maybe in hopes that it would surprise or shock me by going off its predictable path. But it was mostly because the way this friend group operates is so basically real. Their dynamics—two-three people around whom the entire group revolves, a friend who is always the one with the harsh truths, the ideal couple that isn’t ideal, the therapist friend… all of these tropes are people in our real lives. The way these characters talk feels cringe when you watch it on screen because it feels like someone’s recorded a video of you with your friends in your most unpretentious moments and played it back to you.

Normally, such authenticity would work in a show’s favour. However, in Jee Karda it just feels lazy and unoriginal. Why do I want to see a show that is showing me nothing new? What’s the purpose of this series? What’s the novel story here? Is it just seeking a “relatemax” from its audience in the comments section? I honestly couldn’t tell you.

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Verdict

Jee Karda is a show that merely exists, purposeless, and suspended in relatability, but with nothing more to offer. Everyone looks great, and does the best they could with the characters written for them. But with not enough space to go around, they all feel like underdeveloped characters whose motivations to do what they do won’t ever completely be understood or rooted for. For a show about friendship, what would it do without allies for its characters?

All 8 episodes ofJee Karda are currently streaming on Prime Video.

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Jinal Bhatt

A Barbie girl with Oppenheimer humour. Sharp-tongue feminist and pop culture nerd with opinions on movies, shows, books, patriarchy, your boyfriend, everything.

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