Those three terrible days in 1984 when Delhi burnt after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, have been re-created in Hindi cinema several times. ‘Jogi’ revisits those dark days, bringing them to our attention again.
Jogi (Diljit Dosanjh) and his elderly father are flung off a bus, after being heckled angrily by the other passengers. They return, puzzled, to their home in Trilokpuri, even as a thick pall of gloom descends rapidly upon the Capital. Soon enough they learn why they are being targeted, and from then on, Jogi finds himself in a position he never asked for: as the stumbling saviour of scores of Sikh families, men, women and children, as they flee from certain death, hiding in the back of a truck. Will they escape? In some parts, as the police, led by a murderous senior cop (Kumud Mishra) go after the fugitives, the film turns into a thriller.
A Jat policeman (Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub) and a Muslim man of faith are old friends who help Jogi in this deepest hour of crisis. It is the strongest strand in the story, a once-familiar inter-faith triage is used to reference the India of that time. When old neighbours turned upon each other, it was clear that the country would never be the same again. An abortive romance, between Jogi and a girl who is the sister of another old friend (Hiten Tejwani), ends in an untimely death. Those cracks were never papered over, and the enmity is now in the open, baying for blood.
It is not that we can ever forget those days, whose consequences we are still living with. But there does need to be a greater awareness and sensitivity when filmmakers touch upon the still-warm embers of those memories. In the way ‘Jogi’ uses Bollywoodian melodrama as its chief operating instrument, it serves only to undercut the tragedy, making it less than it was.
Jogi movie cast: Diljit Dosanjh, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Hiten Tejwani, Kumud Mishra, Amyra Dastur
Jogi movie director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Jogi movie rating: 1.5 stars