Jubilee: A Cinematic Masterpiece that Deserves to Be Savoured

Set in the post-independence era of India, Jubilee is a 10-episode series that takes you on a nostalgic journey through the Golden Era of Indian cinema.

By Jhelum Biswas

The show beautifully captures the essence of the 1940s and 50s, from the fashion to the music and the larger-than-life characters that dominated the silver screen. The series follows the stories of characters like Jay Khanna (played by Sidhant Gupta), Binod Das (played by Aparshakti Khurana), Nilofer (played by Wamiqa Gabbi), Sumitra Kumari (played by Aditi Rao Hydari), and Shamsher Singh Walia (played by Ram Kapoor).

Through Sidhant Gupta’s portrayal of Jay Khanna’s character of a young man forced to leave his home during the partition and make a new life in Bombay, is particularly poignant. His character showcases the trauma of the partition and how it affected the lives of millions of people. The scene where he gets his shoe repaired by a cobbler wins your hearts. His story is that of riches to rags, but his spirit is indomitable. The character of Jay Khanna reminds one of Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. Gupta’s charm, innocence, and ease shines through. He is certainly an actor to watch out for.

Binod Das’s character is reminiscent of Ashok Kumar, the legendary actor of Indian cinema. Aparshakti Khurana brilliantly portrays Binod’s intense love for cinema and seething anger that makes him cold and dispassionate. His controlled acting is laudable.

Nilofer’s character, played by Wamiqa Gabbi, is a dreamer who wants to make it big in the film industry as an actress. She is at once strong and vulnerable. Aditi Rao Hydari’s Sumitra Kumari is based on Devika Rani. A special mention needs to be made about her style and sartorial in the series are stunning. Her hair style on the 40s, the chiffon sarees and pant suits, perfectly capture the era’s style and glamour.

Veteran actor Prosenjit Chatterjee’s character of Hydari’s husband, Shrikant Roy is loosely based on Himanshu Rai, who founded the Bombay Talkies film studio. The chemistry, or rather the lack of, it between him and Hydari is crackling.

Ram Kapoor’s character, Shamsher Singh Walia, is a slimy financier who grows to be Jay’s rock-solid friend in the industry. Despite his obnoxious ways, he is the only one who stands by Jay during his difficult times. Kapoor clearly enjoys the role, and it is undoubtedly one of his best performances – a character that will not be forgotten.

Jubilee beautifully captures the political events that impacted the film industry, including the partition and the cold war. It also portrays how new technologies like song recording and radio impacted cinema. The series sheds light on the black marketing of movie tickets, the establishment of recording studios, and the rise of Ceylon Radio.

The character of Jamshed Khan, portrayed by Nandish Singh Sandhu, is a dead man walking. He haunts Jay and Binod and hangs on like an albatross around their necks.

Jubilee is like fine wine or scotch that is meant to be savoured slowly, not binged-watched over a of Bloody Mary or Screwdriver.

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