JudgeMentall Hai Kya is something of a mixed bag, starring Kangana Ranaut… not unlike his protagonist. Alternatively, the film is a black comedy, a whodunit, a trippy mind-bender, but often a slog. It’s both wildly original and bizarrely frustrating.
Kangana plays Bobby, a young girl who has been diagnosed with acute psychosis with unresolved childhood trauma. I’m not a conditioning expert, so I can’t verify or question the truthfulness of its symptoms. But Bobby is susceptible to paranoia bouts and hysterical outbursts, she hears voices in her head, and shows erratic behavior. Working for B-movies as a dubbing artist, she immerses herself (literally!) in the characters she voices, dreaming up situations, and shopping her face into film stills.
His fantasies quickly spread to include Keshav (Rajkummar Rao), a tenant who moves with his spouse into the next-door flat. Before you know it, in their personal times, Bobby spies on the pair, crashes their weekend getaway, and stalks him in the night dead. Then someone is murdered, and both suspects are Keshav and Bobby.
It is an interesting premise that leads one to consider Bobby’s issue as an unreliable narrator, and men’s tendency to undermine powerful females by raising concerns about their health. Although choppy, the first hour of the film is still fascinating. In movies like Gangster, Woh Lamhe and Fashion, Kangana, who is no stranger to unhinged personalities, is extremely watchable even though she has acted this shtick before. However, to be honest, the characters she played in each of those movies were marked by a sensitive fragility; Bobby is motivated by a conviction of one mind.
It also enables director Prakash Kovelamudi and writer Kanika Dhillon use a generous humor service to make sure the trials rarely get too grim. Like Hussain Dalal in the role of Bobby’s frustrated boyfriend, Satish Kaushik as a bhujia-chomping officer and Brijendra Kala as his sidekick bring lots of laughs.
But instantly after intermission, Judgementall Hai Kya hits the proverbial iceberg. The tale shifts to London, with a coincidence scarcely kept together that never feels compelling. Bobby and Keshav cross paths again, but the script asks you to suspend not only disbelief but also fundamental common sense at this stage.
In a stage production of Ramayana 2.0, a contemporary re-imagination of the classic tale, Bobby takes a job as an understudy for Sita. This plot device is working to make a point of looking with fresh eyes at the Sita v Ravana scenario. It’s all very confusing and very confusing, honestly. The script has been totally undone by now, leading to a climax of lets-throw-all-at – the-wall bonkers that feels like it was going on forever.
That’s also true of the movie. Judgementall Hai Kya feels overlong and exaggerated at only two hours. The second half of the film is so fragile, it makes you forget a lot of the first half you’ve liked. That’s a true shame because it’s imaginatively shot and scored, making a powerful case for integration and empathy. Kangana Ranaut is strong, and Rajkummar Rao introduces to his personality a true aspect of mystery, never letting us feel like we’ve figured the man out completely. But because of a muddled script that loses steam halfway, the movie falls far short of greatness.
I’m going to Judgementall Hai Kya with two-and-a-half out of five. While admiring the attempt at originality, you can’t assist feeling frustrated at how everything finally comes apart.