The road movie, usually the preserve of male characters seeking meaning and redemption, gets a gender update in Jia aur Jia. That is about all there is to say about the October 27 release.
Jia aur Jia never quite justifies its existence as a feature-length drama in the cinemas. Howard Rosemeyer’s chick flick might have worked as a straight-to-the-web project, perhaps at half its length. There’s little flesh on the bone here: the humour is forced, the chemistry between the leads absent, the Swedish locations underutilised, the production quality shabby.
The contrivance kicks in very early on. Jia, a self-described banker, is forced to share her Sweden trip with cafe owner Jia (Kalki Koechlin) because her Paytm account doesn’t have enough money in it. The banker is as stiff and inhibited as the cafe owner is exuberant and gregarious. As they share hotel rooms and a trailer that somehow seems to have fit into their budget, the women begin to warm to each other. Both the Jias have their own secrets, which have to do with the idea of life that is suggested by their names.
Koechlin overplays the cigarette-loving and alcohol-swilling wild child as much as Chadha underplays the troubled woman with psychological troubles. The actors struggle to suggest that a deep bond is developing amidst the bickering, and neither is supported by the sluggishly paced 93-minute screenplay and glaring lack of genuinely emotional moments.
Koechlin’s Jia has even less of a spark with the only available man on the horizon – the unkempt and equally liquor-loving Vasu (Arslan Goni). In a movie more attuned to women travelling unsupervised in a foreign country, the two Jias might have had some more fun scoping out their prospects. What they get, instead, is a journey that leads unerringly to the exit.
The perpetual millennial quest for self-expression just got another boost
Making adulting in the new millennium easier, one step at a time.
Having come of age in the Age of the Internet, millennials had a rocky start to self-expression. Indeed, the internet allowed us to personalise things in unprecedented fashion and we really rose to the occasion. The learning curve to a straightforward firstname.surname@___mail.com email address was a long one, routed through cringeworthy e-mail ids like firstname.lastname@example.org. You know you had one - making a personalised e-mail id was a rite of passage for millennials after all.
Declaring yourself to be cool, a star, a princess or a hunk boy was a given (for how else would the world know?!). Those with eclectic tastes (read: juvenile groupies) would flaunt their artistic preferences with an elitist flair. You could take for granted that email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org would listen to Bollywood music or read Archie comics only in private. The emo kids, meanwhile, had to learn the hard way that employers probably don’t trust candidates with e-mail ids such as email@example.com.
And with chat rooms, early millennials had found a way to communicate, with...interesting results. The oldest crop of millennials (30+ year olds) learnt to deal with the realities of adolescent life hunched behind anonymous accounts, spewing their teenage hormone-laden angst, passion and idealism to other anonymous accounts. Skater_chick could hide her ineptitude for skating behind a convincing username and a skateboard-peddling red-haired avatar, and you could declare your fantasies of world domination, armed with the assurance that no one would take you seriously.
With the rise of blogging, millennial individualism found a way to express itself to millions of people across the world. The verbosity of ‘intellectual’ millennials even shone through in their blog URLs and names. GirlWhoTravels could now opine on her adventures on the road to those who actually cared about such things. The blogger behind scentofpetunia.blogspot.com could choose to totally ignore petunias and no one would question why. It’s a tradition still being staunchly upheld on Tumblr. You’re not really a Tumblr(er?) if you haven’t been inspired to test your creative limits while crafting your blog URL. Fantasy literature and anime fandoms to pop-culture fanatics and pizza lovers- it’s where people of all leanings go to let their alter ego thrive.
Then of course social media became the new front of self-expression on the Internet. Back when social media was too much of a millennial thing for anyone to meddle with, avatars and usernames were a window into your personality and fantasies. Suddenly, it was cool to post emo quotes of Meredith Grey on Facebook and update the world on the picturesque breakfast you had (or not). Twitter upped the pressure by limiting expression to 140 characters (now 280-have you heard?) and the brevity translated to the Twitter handles as well. The trend of sarcasm-and-wit-laden handles is still alive well and has only gotten more sophisticated with time. The blogging platform Medium makes the best of Twitter intellect in longform. It’s here that even businesses have cool account names!
Self-expression on the Internet and the millennials’ love for the personalised and customised has indeed seen an interesting trajectory. Most millennial adolescents of yore though are now grownups, navigating an adulting crisis of mammoth proportions. How to wake up in time for classes, how to keep the boss happy, how to keep from going broke every month, how to deal with the new F-word – Finances! Don’t judge, finances can be stressful at the beginning of a career. Forget investments, loans and debts, even matters of simple money transactions are riddled with scary terms like beneficiaries, NEFT, IMPS, RTGS and more. Then there’s the quadruple checking to make sure you input the correct card, IFSC or account number. If this wasn’t stressful enough, there’s the long wait while the cheque is cleared or the fund transfer is credited. Doesn’t it make you wish there was a simpler way to deal with it all? If life could just be like…
Lo and behold, millennial prayers have been heard! Airtel Payments Bank, India’s first, has now integrated UPI on its digital platform, making banking over the phone easier than ever. Airtel Payments Bank UPI, or Unified Payment Interface, allows you to transfer funds and shop and pay bills instantly to anyone any time without the hassles of inputting any bank details – all through a unique Virtual Payment Address. In true millennial fashion, you can even create your own personalised UPI ID or Virtual Payment Address (VPA) with your name or number- like rhea@airtel or 9990011122@airtel. It’s the smartest, easiest and coolest way to pay, frankly, because you’re going to be the first person to actually make instant, costless payments, rather than claiming to do that and making people wait for hours.
To make life even simpler, with the My Airtel app, you can make digital payments both online and offline (using the Scan and Pay feature that uses a UPI QR code). Imagine, no more running to the ATM at the last minute when you accidentally opt for COD or don’t have exact change to pay for a cab or coffee! Opening an account takes less than three minutes and remembering your VPA requires you to literally remember your own name. Get started with a more customised banking experience here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel Payments Bank and not by the Scroll editorial team.