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JL 50 on SonyLIV Review- A genuine time travel attempt

Abhay Deol starrer JL50 on SonyLIV is an experiment done right

Rating – 3.5/5

A remote village in West Bengal witnessed a plane crash on a very normal day. Further investigation on the plane crash reveals that it’s JL50, a plane that took off from Calcutta in 1984 and went missing. And now after 35 years, the plane has reappeared from nowhere. There are just 2 survivors of the crash, the pilot Bhiu Ghosh and Professor BC Mishra. Surprisingly they haven’t aged a bit. It is from this point that the mystery takes off, changing the entire mood of the series.

Abhay Deol JL50
                                                     Abhay Deol in JL50

Abhay Deol plays Shantanu, a CBI officer in charge of the investigation of the mystery plane crash. Can’t help to notice that he has made an amazing comeback with this 4 episode mini web series. In his journey to find the truth behind JL50, many secrets unfold.

We are hinted at time travel in the first episode itself. But to experiment with such a bold and in-depth topic, a proper foundation to the idea is needed with a pinch of audacity. And the makers have both. JL50 is convincing as a time-traveling movie and uses facts and theories that make sense to the common man. That’s where JL50 makes a win.

Pankaj Kapur JL50
Pankaj Kapur as Professor Das in JL50

 

The point on why the makers went for a 4 part mini-series instead of a 2 hr feature film is still pretty unclear.

It was interesting how JL50 developed parallel subplots surrounding the time travel, like the one with Shantanu’s lineage. It just added to the already intense and mysterious aura.

Impeccable performances in JL 50 (streaming on SonyLIV)

Abhay Deol’s  Shantanu seems a tough guy, with some inner conflict we are not made aware of. Abhay Deol gave his best shot though there aren’t any career-defining acting moments for him in the film. On a personal note, Pankaj Kapur as Professor Das was brilliant. Him trying to pull off a Bengali accent seemed very effortless and flawless. Piyush Mishra was indeed scary but there were some moments that felt unconvincing and over-hyped, especially his version ‘Eureka’ (you’ll know if you have seen the film).

 
Piyush Mishra JL50
Piyush Mishra as Professor BC Mishra in JL50
 

Not Entirely Perfect Though

As an experiment, JL50 deserves an excellent score but if you break it down as a typical we series, the screenplay was a bit rushed.

There were some moments that were not in compliance with the characters. Shanthanu being convinced to travel back in time is one of them. For a person who was not satisfied with the time travel theory and adamantly argued that all this is just a setup staged to fool everyone, convincing to time travel should be pretty hard right, but here he is convinced without any push.

Maybe because it was more focused on the storytelling (since the topic is quite subtle) the writers didn’t flesh out all the main characters well.

The trio – Shantanu, Bhiu, and Professor Das coming to 1984 didn’t feel like something miraculous just happened, it failed to generate amusement among the audience.

The best part throughout the series is Pankaj Kapur’s monologue, where in just two minutes he cracks open the superstition and blind faith in religion that pulls our country from fully developing. It is these blind myths and faiths that accounts for a major fraction of India’s stumbling blocks. ‘Why can’t we rise above that?’, Professor Das asks Shantanu, a question probably we should ask ourselves.

 

Watch JL50 on Sony LIV

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