Unlike his directorial debut, 'Vennela' Kishore has seamlessly captured the attention of the audience for Jaffa, having chosen a slang word with an offending connotation as the title of a Brahmanandam starrer. The openings are understandably more than decent since such is the mini-stardom that the ace star comedian enjoys.
To ferret out an uncomfortable truth, Jaffa belongs less to Brahmi than the rest of the bunch, which includes the director (as jailer Nikhil). By now it must be clear to everyone that Kishore has a knack for a curious brand of comedy that we do not get to see routinely, and while he burns on the urban youth (absolutely, his films are not meant for the elders and children, who might find the oddball quality way too incomprehensible) a peculiar streak of madcap humor, he doesn't show us a new side of Brahmi's comedy. In fact, the hero has to emote nothing more than boring helplessness, making irritating phone calls to all and sundry for a good part of the second half.
Jaffa happens to end up in jail because his software colleague (Sujith in a minor role) committed suicide holding him responsible for the decision. As an employee of Shankar Melkote's organization, Jaffa was subjected to humiliation because he was a fit-for-nothing member. Venu Madhav assured him of Quli Qutub Shah Chashme Baddoor Noor's help, but as soon as he spouts the name Jaffa is packed off to Kawadiguda jail, a quirky phenomenon in itself.
Headed by Nikhil, it is a jail where silly prisoners have the "creative freedom" to indulge in whatever they want. Tortured routinely by preacher Suyonanda (Raghu Babu), the prisoners are badly in need for respite. Jaffa, who has been a failure all through his life, turns out to be their Guru in times of distress. Saving every prison inmate in trouble by offering funny solutions to their real problems, Jaffa soon becomes their favourite leader.
For different reasons, some prisoners die in asinine circumstances while three others (who are diehard Jaffa fans) escape the prison. There comes a point when the jailer himself has a desperate need to seek Jaffa's help.
The rest of the film is about how Jaffa undergoes travails before he fortuitously busts a kidney racket after going through an asphyxiating experience inside a coffin.
Though the idea looks pretty much gripping on the paper, Jaffa's screenplay is not consistently interesting. One understands that the film seems to take place in a world of its own (while only two people have been hanged in India since 2003, two are hanged in this jail in a span of few days), but the situations are not substantial enough to keep us hooked throughout. Kishore has dealt with misery and deaths as if they would be fun to watch all the time. Also, Brahmi behaving as if he has no commonsense in the second half ill-fits with his characterization in the jail. Who would be foolish enough to beg the person on the other end of telephone call to cut the call in a situation of near-death experience? It would have made sense if the mobile piece was shown to have a problem with snapping the call at one press of the red button.
Kishore would do well to adopt the style of occasional narration to help the audience appreciate a few hatke ideas better.
Who would like to watch Brahmi in a uni-dimensional mode (that too in a film where we expected him to make much more rib-tickling grimaces than he ever did in the recent past) inside a coffin in a series of repetitious scenes?
As much as the film lacks a strong plot, there are scenes and dialogues that you may want to recall after you come out of the theatre. Heard of 'China acid' which doesn't give a burning sensation, much less burn the skin? When Jaffa is told by the cop that his colleague Sujith had died, an innocent Jaffa asks, "Did you inform the news to his parents?" Gays in jail; three prisoners constantly fooling around Nikhil; Brahmi imitating Gummadi; a girl uploading her "last photo" on FB before committing suicide, thereby causing her fellow suicider...
Ali as a dumbass CBI officer (and he carries the film on his shoulders for a good length) evokes laughter, and Tagubothu Ramesh does his trademark comedy yet again. The screenplay could have been more engaging in the second half.
It is to our relief that the length was less than 2 hours.
Verdict: Jaffa is strictly for the youth. If you are the kind who enjoys madcap humour which is logic-defying and grossly unsentimental, go for it with minimum expectations.
Released on: 29th March, 2013