A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The importance of doing the right thing -- although in the film it takes an age for this realization to sink in. Disability is normalized. Corruption is rife in the film, as law enforcers take bribes as they try to shut down the truth. The film also studies the effects of social media on young people, and the negative impact it can have.
Positive Role Models
Maya commits an unspeakable act, and wrestles with her conscience throughout. She's a good person, and eventually she does see the light, and the truth prevails. Ayush is a disabled person. For the large part, his family treat him as they would anybody else. However, Maya does say regrettable things to her son about his condition and the effect it has had on her life, but she regrets it instantly. One of Ayush's friends also ridicules him for not being able to play cricket -- he is told off by his mother for his being so rude. In her desperation for new followers on social media, Alia has a dangerous encounter that badly impacts her life.
The movie is an Indian production with a cast of South Asian actors. The language used is Hindi with some English. Two complex female characters are at the heart of the story, each of whom come from opposing socioeconomic groups. One of them works as a cook, while the other is seen in a high-flying job, raising her young son as a single parent, with the help of her mother. The son has a disability too and is confined to a wheelchair, although this does not define his character.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
There is a graphic hit-and-run scene where a young child is hit by a car at a great speed, while the driver is asleep at the wheel. The child's face is shown colliding with the windscreen and their body is then seen on the ground covered in blood. Someone is seen riding a motorbike without a helmet. One young character tries to kiss another a little too forcefully. A concerned parent starts to beat someone they hold accountable for their child's condition. A character threatens to hang themselves.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Stupid" is used in a misogynistic context in a workplace setting. "Bugger" and "bulls--t" also feature.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The differences in class are explored between a high-flying journalist and their working-class cook. The latter's son is enamored by the gadgets the former's family own.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two teens are seen smoking a cigarette. A journalist and their editor share a glass of whiskey in their office after work. One of them is later seen asleep, evidently having drunk too much.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jalsa is a Hindi drama (available with English subtitles) based around a hit-and-run car accident. At the center of the story are two women from different socioeconomic backgrounds, Maya (Vidya Balan), a high-flying journalist and Ruksana (Shefali Shah), her cook. Their lives become further intwined following the accident, which is shown in gory detail. The victim's face is shown smashing against the windscreen and their bloody body lying on the ground. Maya represents a progressive, modern woman; a single mother who works hard in her job, providing handsomely for her son and mother. She makes mistakes though, and wrestles with her conscience. The film is full of characters who are double-edged, including police officers embroiled in a web of corruption. Maya's son, Ayush (Surya Kasibhatla), is a disabled person, and yet the film is careful that it doesn't define who he is. There is a moment when a boy attempts to kiss a girl too forcefully and teens are also seen smoking. An adult character is seen asleep at work with the suggestion they've drunk too much. Occasional language includes "bulls--t" and "bugger." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This compelling, hypothetical Hindi thriller should be commended for its ability to force its viewer's to look at their own moral compass. Jalsa asks big questions about what you would do in its central characters' positions. It's a narrative that veers into melodrama, and could seem overly cinematic and absurd in the wrong hands. But director Suresh Triveni manages to avoid these pitfalls, all the while ensuring that the film doesn't hold back on its dramatic tendencies.
It's also helped along by brilliantly naturalistic turns from the two lead actors Balan and Shefali Shah, as Maya and Ruksana respectively. The pair maintain an impressive balancing act as a myriad of themes are explored, including class and systematic corruption. This is an accessible, entertaining slice of contemporary international cinema that should play well around the world.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.