Jada is an uncommon mix of soccer, drama, romance, comedy, and suspense. Some reviewers deem it a confused mess from first-time Director Kumaran. But if you go along for the ride, there is a lot of entertainment value in this multi-faceted football film from India. And if you’re shut in, it will occupy 2 hours and 12 minutes of your endless day.
In the story, the eponymous Jada (played by Kathir) is a brooding footballer who hopes to try out for the national team. Jada convinces his team of buddies to play in a Sevens tournament despite the objections of their coach, who says 7s has no rules and is too dangerous. Sethu, a famous coach and Kathir’s early mentor, died while playing in the last tournament 10 years earlier, leading to a ban.
Jada however, is determined to compete, partially to avenge Sethu (played by Kishore), but also because if they win the tournament, the organizer agrees it will never be held again.
Of course, that doesn’t make any sense, why not just get the popular tournament to have rules? But as a story device, it heightens the suspense because you never know when one of the players will get maimed.
The first half of the film mixes drama, romance, and comedy as it introduces Jada, his teammates, their lives and their love interests. In the second half, the tournament is moved to a rural area outside Chennai. The girls are out of the picture, and the guys stay in an area of ghosts and haunted houses. They keep fighting to win the tournament despite several spooky sleepless nights.
As far as the football, there is a lot of game play in the film, but for the most part it is unconvincing. Jada in particular looks pretty uncoordinated. I also did not understand why 7s football was portrayed as a highly dangerous, lawless game. This was not the case in Sudani from Nigeria, although that film takes place on the opposite side of India.
On the upside, the key actors in the film are pleasant to watch. As the two romantic leads, Kathir and Roshni Prakash are both extremely handsome, and the excellent cinematography makes them look even better. Kishore as the footballing mentor is also a magnetic presence and it’s too bad his part is so small.
On the downside, there are several tasteless jokes about women, and one of the players slaps his girlfriend in front of her friends for no particular reason.
If you want to see how different Indian films can be from American, Jada is a good example. Judging from the number of music videos that seem to accompany an Indian film, it appears that the soundtrack is a highly important financial piece of their film industry. Currently on Netflix in the USA.
6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6