Thursday, June 9, 2016

Sardaarji by Rohit Jugraj

India (Punjabi), 2015
140 min, comedy, fantasy, romance
Directed by Rohit Jugraj
Starring Diljit Dosanjh, Neeru Bajwa, and Mandy Takhar

Jaggi, or “Sardaarji,” is a talented ghost hunter from rural Punjab, India. Emotionally immature, he is waiting to find his “queen witch:” the prettiest and most wonderful female ghost, who he will add to his bottled collection.

When he gets a call for help from a rich expat family living in the UK, he flies to London to exorcise a ghost from a castle. The ghost turns out to be a Punjabi named Pinky, and Jaggi decides that she will be his queen ghost.

There’s only one small problem: before Pinky will leave the castle, Jaggi must romance Jasmine, a real, human girl – something that terrifies the intrepid ghost hunter.

Emotional Immaturity

I had great suspicions about Jaggi (and the writers) at the beginning of the movie. It seemed like the women were being treated in a very patriarchal way: the female ghosts are literally kept in bottles in a cabinet while Jaggi flirts with them and makes sexual innuendos. This is incredibly problematic, but it turns out that most of this can be chalked up to his emotional immaturity: emotionally, Jaggi is about as mature as a 13-year-old, if that.

This becomes most obvious when Pinky’s plan requires him to learn salsa dancing from Jasmine. She takes his hand and places it on her back in the correct position for ballroom dancing. Jaggi nearly faints and runs away. The reason? He has apparently never touched a girl before – well, except for the she-ghosts, who are ghosts so it doesn’t count – so he is terrified when Jasmine touches him.

This emotional immaturity is indicated in several more minor ways throughout the film. For example, Jaggi’s outfits swing radically between a full suit-and-tie and footie pajamas. He constantly has to ask ghosts for advice, especially about relationships, and only realizes that he is in love when a random ghost tells him so.

Read the rest on The Asian Cinema Blog

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