Director: Akarsh and Adhaar Khurana
Cast: Sumeet Vyas, Arjun Mathur, Taaruk Raina, Rukshar Dhillon
Campus dramas capture the zeitgeist of the period that they are set in. While Jugaadistan, directed by Akarsh and Adhaar Khurana, endeavours to reflect the current times and its various evils through the lens of an ensemble cast of characters and topical issues, it most often than not, falls short of reaching its full potential as a cohesive plot.
Lucky, (Taaruk Raina) is the college heartthrob and uses his charm to lure the girl who is in love with him, Ruhi (Rukshar Dhillon) to the nefarious side of writing innumerable college entrance exams posing as someone else in exchange for money. Bhati (Sumeet Vyas) is a college student who should have bid adieu to campus eons back, but is still gunning for the post of university students President.
Ayesha (Ahsaas Channa) is a budding student journalist in search of a strong story which will help her get her dream internship with a big newspaper. Nadeem (Gopal Datt) employs quotes of successful people to run his scam outfit. Meanwhile, Tarush (Arjun Mathur) is a senior journalist who wants to get to the bottom of the exam scam that has taken over the university and professor Bejoy (Parambrata Chatterjee) is on his own mission to unearth the truth as he suspects that some of his own students might be involved in the scam.
All the characters in the show have been well etched out and the issues that are being tackled will resonate with the millennial crowd. Every character is a shade of grey and show doesn’t jump to judgements about them. However, the multiple plot points involving all these characters and more, slow down the narrative and the pace slackens as a result of it. The show would have benefitted from highlighting the exam scam as the central point of the narrative, however it forms one of the many issues that plague the students.
Although, everything is not grim in the world of Jugaadistan. It doesn’t shy away from holding a mirror to the realities of today’s youth and how they navigate through campus life. The show makes a telling comment on the state of journalism today, through the character played by Arjun Mathur who believes in fighting for the truth.
As for the performances, Arjun Mathur and Parambrata Chatterjee are measured and have been cast well. Gopal Datt channelizes his evil side with dollops of comedy. Sumeet Vyas looks the part of the college thug who will stop at nothing to achieve what he sets out to. Ahsaas Channa, Taaruk Raina and Rukshar Dhillon performances are strictly average in comparison to the others
The title track by Indian Ocean is reminiscent of the indie group belting out their numbers during college fests. It’s a welcome addition to enhance the themes of the show. Jugaadistan takes time to takeoff and when it does, it never comes together as a sum-of-its-parts.