‘Jersey’: A story of a Cricketer or about a Father’s Love?

(Spoilers ahead)

This one is personal. No, I don’t mean that the article here is going to be a personal account or anything (although, yes, the views expressed are definitely personal). However, the fact is the movie ‘Jersey’, felt way too personal, the details of ‘how’ will definitely be reflected in my words that are about to come.

Before I delve into the plot (spoiler alerts are on the way) of the bollywood movie ‘Jersey’, it is important to talk about Shahid Kapoor and some of his recent work. Many writers and critics are of the opinion that Bollywood lacks creativity now, which is directly proportional to the fact that some of the recent bollywood movies have been adaptations of South Indian cinema. Even though these movies are doing great at capturing the national audience, the thought that is still revolving around the matter is where creativity is.

A large chunk of the same thought is also endorsed in the fact that many big heroes of our industry are now just blindly following what has been done in the South Indian Industry for a long time and gladly accept it as a way of creating their image in the minds of the fans. Shahid Kapoor is someone who at least in my eyes looks like is currently following the same category.

Well, the reason being that his last two movies are adaptations of what was already done in the South Indian Movie industry, his last two movies ‘Jersey’ and ‘Kabir Singh’ are South Indian Movie adaptations. Although, both the movies are far apart. While Kabir Singh blatantly showed us the real problem with the negative effect of the term masculinity, where the lead character not only had some miniscule problems but also thought the women he romantically is involved with is as his own property. 

While ‘Kabir Singh’ was a huge box office success making it one of the most popular movies of the year 2019, Jersey on the other hand has not been able to garner that much love by the audience yet. The movie is marketed as the story of a cricketer, who after reaching the mature age of 36 tries his hand at getting back in the field of cricket. Yes, it ofcourse shows and inspires the viewers to never give up on their dreams and also gives out the important message of getting back up and trying once again after falling. 

However, more than the inspirational tale of a cricketer who after failing gave his all to try again and make his dreams come true, the movie keeps reminding you about the constant but somehow mute efforts of showcasing love by our fathers. Sounds personal right?

A Movie about our Fathers

The movie starts with a focus on a man maybe in his 20’s walking down the street and then entering a book shop where he buys the book ‘Jersey’. However, he quickly realises that two girls came into the shop to buy the same book and are now disappointed as he himself bought the last copy. We are later told that the book is based on the father of our guy. 

Giving the viewers the understanding that yes the main character of our movie was a cricket player but the movie will talk about the cricket player who was a father. We are introduced to the main character of our movie ‘Arjun’ with him entering the cricket ground, while the female lead ‘Vidya’ (Mrunal Thakur) cheers for him. The scene then zooms out to a portrait and then to a cosy home, where we are told that 10 years have passed and we can see our main characters huddled in the drawing room as their bedroom is now drenched in water due to a leaking ceiling. 

Even in this scenario, we can see ‘Arjun’ holding his son and sleeping in an uncomfortable position making sure that the family is able to get a good night’s sleep. In fact the movie shows a clearly close bond between the father and son, where our main lead is shown as not only caring to make sure that his son goes for his morning cricket practice but is also his son’s best friend where he comes and shares even the tiny details of his day with his father. 

One of the main events of the movie is ‘Kittu’(Arjun and Vidya’s son) asking ‘Arjun’ for a cricket Jersey as a gift for his upcoming birthday. A big part of the movie is now spent on Arjun trying to get 500 rs in order to get a Jersey for his son. And isn’t that what all fathers do. Making sure that his child gets that one thing he has demanded for. They might not show their feelings openly but they will make sure that their children get all the luxuries of life. 

However, during the course of the movie, our main character is actually not able to provide that one jersey that his child had so innocently asked for. But his search for the Jersey leads him to the path of proving himself as the best father in the eyes of his son, when his son appreciates the way he plays a match against New Zealand. 

In fact the need to prove himself in the eyes of his son is so powerful that when the important decision of whether he should continue playing or choose his family is presented to him, he asks the question to his son, to which ‘Kittu’ says, ‘Play papa, play your heart out. Whenever you play cricket, you look like a hero to me’. And that one sentence defines all of our relationships with our fathers, ‘our Heroes’!

Fathers, Our Heroes!

In many hollywood movies it is a cliched scene where the children are asked to give a presentation on their ‘Heroes’ and many times they are shown talking about their real life hero- their father. Even though the scene is cliched it definitely shows us that all around the world, it is the father who is seen through the lens of inspiration. And why not! Afterall, they are the first ones to pick us up everytime we trip and fall. 

They are also the ones we look up to and follow. All our lives we are wired to lead a good life like our father and learn from him how to wander the madness of everyday life. And the same becomes an important element in the movie ‘Jersey’. 

The main lead is drawn, scratch that, feels necessary that he should lead a life that will become inspirational to his son. And to make sure of the same he gets up from his failure and starts building a career where even his wife thinks that all his efforts are a waste of time and money as ‘his time to shine is done now’.

The rift between the couple leads to a point where Arjun has to even choose between his own family and a career. The choice is ofcourse his career which he even outweighs from his own life, which is revealed later in the movie. However, even his choice to go back to the game is not met with support from his team-mates. He faces struggle due to his age even in the sport but the constant drive to become something in the eyes of his son makes sure that he proves himself in the field. 

The character of Arjun is also shown going through changes. Arjun is shown as a rowdy young player who does not wish to listen to anyone in the first half of the movie. After the responsibilities of a family and his son, the same rowdy young guy is shown to have calmed down. He no longer looks for drama and is capable of taking every responsibility that comes his way, silently with a smile on his face. Just like many of our fathers, who do a lot without a sigh.

Conclusion

Fathers are an epitome of doing it all without a complaint, they silently teach us how to be part of this world and make our presence felt, by their own example. They make sure that we learn the values of being a good person above all and lead by example. They might not say it out loud in as many words, but they are always there to make sure that we get up, each time we fall.

‘Jersey’ portrays the struggle of a father who at one time has been labelled a failure but sees the signs of hope and glory in the eyes of his child and then makes sure that he never lets his child down. It beautifully portrays the love, relationship and responsibility of a father. Something we have all seen in our homes. Something which is very much personal to us all.

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