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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Ahead of Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey, revisiting Nani’s reaffirming movie

A look at Nani starrer Jersey before watching Shahid Kapoor’s Hindi remake of the same film.

Written by A. Kameshwari | New Delhi |
April 21, 2022 5:21:39 pm
nani film jerseyJersey: Decoding what makes Nani film special.

Most films are defined by their genre, but a very few are so complete that it’s difficult to put them in a box. Telugu film Jersey is one such movie. It’s a movie you’d watch with your whole family, and everyone would relate to it in someway or another. If you are passionate towards something or you feel you’re not able to match up with the expectations of your family or are unable to keep them happy, you’d see yourself in Nani’s character Arjun.

The film, which released in 2019, went on to grab multiple National Awards. It became such a big phenomenon that it was remade in Hindi with Shahid Kapoor playing the lead role. But before we watch the Hindi version, here’s understanding why Nani’s film felt so special.

Jersey is a story of passion, self-respect, failure, refusing to give up and having the gumption to start all over again when it seems the game is already over. It’s a tale that addresses love for one’s family, and how you’d go to any length to prove yourself worthy of their love. It’s emotional, dramatic, keeps you at the edge, makes you sob but also leaves you hopeful and inspired. It’s a 2.5-hour journey of going through a gamut of emotions, ending with perhaps the most noble of them all — redemption. In the times when making pan Indian film has become a fashion, this Telugu film makes a place in your heart. It’s a wholesome story of a very middle-class simple family, which makes it relatable to everyone irrespective of the language.

In an interview earlier, Nani said that while he “cannot let go of his version” of the film, he’s excited about the remake and is looking forward to witness it as an audience.

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“The story is being retold by the same director, Gowtam Tinnanuri. There is so much heart in Jersey because of Gowtam, his vision and the way he wrote his script. When the original director is handling it [the remake], I know the Hindi version will receive the same love. Jersey is my film – it is a beautiful story and is close to my heart. No matter when I am watching Jersey, along with the story, I will also be seeing if I delivered it right. So, there will be a sense of detachment to the story where I look at myself and say, ‘hey you didn’t do it right’. I wanted to experience the story like an audience,” Nani told He also praised Shahid and called him a “brilliant performer,” who can “get into the skin of the character.”

Jersey box office collection Day 3 Nani Nani in Jersey.

Jersey revolves around middle-aged Arjun, who is at the cusp of greatness when life takes a different turn for him. He’s a caring father who shares his passion for cricket with his son, but is nothing more than a huge disappointment for his wife (who initially is introduced as his greatest support). It’s only when he is unable to buy a Rs 500 worth Indian cricket team jersey that Arjun feels humiliated and disgusted because of several episodes. And his reason to keep his head held high for everyone, including his son, inspires him to return to the cricket field.

Be it the scene where Nani slaps his kid or gets slapped by his wife, where he expresses his frustration by yelling, and the scene where Arjun’s son tells him he wants to see him on the cricket field — they are the moments when he shines like a hero.

Because of his work over the years, Nani is fondly called Natural Star by his fans, and he justifies the tag here. In an interview with, Gowtam Tiinnanuri spoke about his and Nani’s favourite scene, shot at the railway station. “I had goosebumps when I experienced people’s reaction to this scene. Normally, we tend to scream in extreme anger and we laugh when we are extremely happy. But sometimes, we cry because we are happy and that is the one contrasting emotion we wanted to shoot. In the scene, Arjun is in a position where he cannot express his achievement to others and has no one to share his happiness with. He has to express and share it with himself only.

Before shooting the scene, I briefed Nani about how we wanted the scene to look like. After the briefing, I wanted him to do a mock shoot as we did not have much time. But Nani was ready and confident enough to do it without any rehearsals. As soon as the train came in and Nani performed the scene, all of us on the set reacted just the way the audience reacted in the theater. Even Nani got a bit teary-eyed after the scene.”

Jersey celebrated three years of its release on April 19 of this year. While the Telugu film is currently streaming on ZEE5, the Hindi version of the film, starring Shahid Kapoor, releases this Friday.

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