Director Ali Abbas Zafar who has previously helmed high-octane spy thrillers like Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) and Bharat (2019) and the political web series Tandav (2022) presents an emotionally charged fictitious tale that is set amidst 1984’s anti-Sikh riots in India. Many films and web shows based on the same premise have been created in the past, including Amu (2005), 31st October (2016), Grahan (2021), and others. What makes this film unique is the concept that it focuses on courage, friendship, humanity, tragedy, and hope. This 116-minute drama is both moving and captivating. But, the film’s best moments are fuelled by Diljit Dosanjh’s towering performance.
The film begins with Jogi and his family going about their daily lives, but they are soon interrupted by the devastating news of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. This led to outrage and hatred toward Sikhs, resulting in a mass massacre of people from the community. Rather than being self-centered and only concerned with saving his family, Jogi enlists the help of his childhood friends Ravinder Chautala and Kaleem Ansari to save hundreds of others. Jogi faces obstacles from counsellor Tejpal Arora (Kumud Mishra), the main instigator of the riots in East Delhi, and Laali Katyal (Hiten Tejwani), a police inspector who is assisting him in carrying out his plan. Will he be able to aid his people?
‘Jogi’ showcases the atrocities committed during that horrific incident. However, it’s not a full-on action film or a period drama; rather, it’s an emotional story that spends time in establishing its characters and gives the audience heartfelt and moving stories of people’s suffering. Ali Abbas Zafar has cleverly used close-up shots to make it more dramatic and impactful, particularly the sequences in which Jogi removes his pagg (turban) and tears flow continuously from his eyes it leaves you in shivers. The editing, sound design, and action choreography are also top-notch. The BGM by Julius Packiam and songs with moving lyrics by Sameer Uddin add gravitas to the plot.
You can’t craft a solid film without good writing, and that’s where the efforts of Zafar, who has co-written the screenplay with Sukhmani Sadana, shine. The writers have seamlessly woven moments of high drama, tragedy, and action into the narrative. Knowing more about Jogi’s companions and backstories may have helped viewers understand their relationship better. However, one can easily overlook this, as the detailed writing ensures that every character in the film has an emotional curve that allows the audience to identify with them.
The story progresses through its central character Diljit Dosanjh in and as Jogi. Previously, he appeared in the National Award-winning Punjabi film ‘Punjab 1984,’ which has a similar plot line. He once again delivers an outstanding performance. As his supporting friends, Paresh Pahuja and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub play their part well. Kumud Mishra performs commendably as Tejpal Arora, making you loathe him. Hiten Tejwani plays Tejpal’s right-hand man, Inspector Laali Katyal, convincingly. Laali, clearly, has a turbulent history with Jogi, and his backstory is well etched.
With intricate writing and high-impact performances, ‘Jogi’ conjures strong feelings of finding hope in the midst of devastation and tragedy. This heart-moving tale of humanity and friendship will leave you with a heart full of emotions.