JUBILEE: A Soulful, Emotional, Intriguing Tribute to Bollywood

Jubilee…I am pretty sure that by now, everyone reading this would definitely be aware of this series which hit the streaming service recently. This 10-episode series directed by Vikramaditya Motwane is a beautiful tribute to Indian Cinema and filmmaking. The series revolves around the world of filmmaking and beautifully portrays the time of partition as well. It holds a solid punch of elements, from romance, and thrill to emotions.  But, in addition, it also holds something special that keeps the audience hooked and loved with the series. In my Blog, I will try to discuss all the aspects from the series which is getting rave response from the audience.

Wamiqa Gabbi opens up on Jubilee being her dream role | India Forums

Wamiqa Gabbi as ‘Niloufer’ in a still from Jubilee (Photo: India Forums)

Plot: A Tribute to Indian Cinema

I have to say, a tremendous amount of work has been done in setting up the plot of this series. There is a big producer Srikant Roy who owns the huge film studio Roy Talkies. His wife and co-owner of the studio, Sumitra Kumari is a big actress and heartthrob of her time. The studio is planning to launch a new face in the movie ‘Sunghursh’ with the screen name ‘Madan Kumar’. After a lot of auditions, a Karachi-based theatre actor Jamshed Khan is zeroed in. However, here comes the twist, as both Sumitra and Jamshed enter an affair and are planning to elope to Karachi.

Roy, who knows about the affair, sends his lab assistant Binod Das to bring both Sumitra and Jamshed back for the movie. Binod Das has a hope within, that if somehow Jamshed is out of the fray, he himself can enact the role better. It is at the same time, that riots have broken across the country after partition. Then comes a conflicting situation, where Jamshed is trapped in a burning car, and rioters are reaching the area. Binod has two choices, save Jamshed and get back to his job as lab assistant, or let him die and get a chance to grab his dream role of ‘Madan Kumar’.

On the other side, there is a story of an aspiring theatre actor-director Jay Khanna, who has a family-run theatre Khanna Studios. His family loses everything in the partition and is residing with his family at a refugee camp. He starts doing petty jobs and slowly gains contacts. With some support and passion, he decided to reignite his passion for filmmaking. He sets up his studio ‘Khanna Studios’ inside the refugee camp only. He makes his debut movie ‘Taxi Driver’ which becomes an instant hit among an audience which is predominantly in sway with the Madan Kumar brand of films. Suddenly, a new star is born.

Niloufer Qureshi, a courtesan, who was a friend of Jay. They fall in love, and their chemistry is something that makes the audience gets in awe with. Niloufer too aspires to become an actress and at the same time is in awe with ‘Madan Kumar’. This very point leads to the next level of conflict in Niloufer’s both real and reel lives. Both Jay and Niloufer get into a position, where they have to make a choice between their true loves and an ‘accommodative’ love which will somehow be more helpful for their respective careers.

Stepping into 'Jubilee' with Aditi Rao Hydari: Five highlights from shooting an ode to Bollywood's Golden Age - News | Khaleej Times

Still of the ever-mesmerising Aditi Rao Hydari as ‘Sumitra Kumari’ from Jubilee (Photo: Khaleej Times)


Well, even the word PHENOMENAL would fall short in front of the work that has been put up by Vikramaditya Motwane. Seldom have I witnessed such a brilliant piece of ‘writing’ on screen. I mean, there is not even one single moment in the 10-hour-long series which gets you even closer to something like being bored. Trust me, I am not exaggerating. Anyone who wants to learn ‘how to write for screen’ should definitely be watching this series. Plus, the dialogues, they are top notch too. If you ignore some cuss words including “Madan Kumar *****” all the dialogues are very realistic and relevant. Just one curiosity I had, was whether women back in the 1950s used cuss words. (PS: I don’t have any objection, but just curiosity).

Another striking point in the series is its characters. They have been created and written with so much depth and under so many layers. You just can’t fall in love with one character completely or start hating someone fully. The contrasting positions, and the conflicting situations that have been created, keep the audience hooked and glued for the next episode. The set design and the mise en scene (arrangement of scenery and props) further shows the amount of hard work and research being put in by the team in creating a set-up of the post-partition era. The way, Motwane uses motifs throughout the series, especially fire, cigarettes and costumes to depict the shifts in power structures in the storyline is another job done brilliantly. A huge shout out and credit to Motwane for this.

It Was Fascinating Playing Jay Khanna: Sidhant Gupta On His Character In ' Jubilee'

Jay Khanna in a still from Jubilee (Photo: ABP News)


Jay Khanna played by Sidhant Gupta is a blockbuster in himself. The way he has carried each and every emotion ranging from struggle, and aspiration to ego, is all so fresh and charming. Niloufer played by Wamiqa Gabbi is such an innocent and charming character. She has aspirations and is ready to do anything for achieving them. In fact, the peak point of the series is the chemistry between Jay and Niloufer. Especially, the way their romance has been portrayed under the rain. Man…take my money on that.

Aditi Rai Hydari who plays Sumitra Kumari, is fine with her performance. But, more than her acting, it is her mesmerising beauty that wins over the audience. There is little doubt over how pretty Aditi is, but in this series, her beauty keeps the audience allured onto the screens. Aparshakti Khurrana who plays the Madan Kumar is fine too. To be frank, he seemed average to me in the initial episodes. However, as the series progressed, and his character developed, his performance too enhanced. This layered character was not an easy one to play, but Aparshakti has really done a very fine job.

Ram Kapoor as Wallia and Prosenjit Chatterjee as Roy, have also done phenomenal jobs in their impactful and powerful roles. Roy’s dialogue “Waqt mein itni aukat kahaan jo Roy se aage nikal jaye” (Time doesn’t has the audacity to go past Roy), and Wallia’s dialogue “Maine darwaze par khatkhata diya hai, ab darwaza khulwana tera kaam hai…main to kehta hoon tod de darwaja” (I have knocked the door now it’s your job to get it opened…I would say break it open) are just smash-hit dialogues. Other supporting actors too have done a very fine job and keeping the series impactful. Arun Govil would be a special mention here. It was so refreshing to watch him in this role after the famous ‘Lord Ram’ role that we all know him for.

Jubilee: 'Never wanted to prove anything playing serious roles,' says Aparshakti Khurana | Northeast Herald

Aparshakti Khurrana in a serious still from the series (Photo: Northeast Herald)

The Easter Eggs and References

Well…it is not even a surprise for movie lovers, as they might have already noticed quite a few of them. First of all, each of the 10 episodes has been titled after one or other Bollywood classics ranging from Aag, Sunghursh, Kismet, and Taxi Driver to Jubilee (final episode). The Srikant Roy and Roy Talkies are the loose references to Himanshu Rai and his company, the iconic ‘Bombay Talkies’. His wife, another heartthrob, Devika Rani, the co-owner of Bombay Talkies, was a famous heroine of that time. Surprisingly enough, she too eloped with an actor, Najam-ul-Hassan, who was also working in a movie of her production. And, he too was NEVER seen again in any movie of the production house, and got LOST in history.

Jamshed Khan who is poised to play ‘Madan Kumar’, kind of leaving his own name and adopting his stage name. Well… we have heard this before. Yusuf Khan was immortalised in the minds and hearts of the people as the ‘Dilip Kumar’. Plus, when Jay Khanna, who is a struggling actor with aspirations, acts and directs his movie, when no one else is ready to do it, there are clear references to Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt. There are several Dev Anand references as well, with multiple movies of his being seen running in cinemas in the background (Taxi Driver too). Also, Wamiqa Gabbi’s role gives multiple references to the lives of Nargis and Madhubala.

For trivia, Vikramaditya Motwane’s grandfather Harnam Motwane was one of the producers of ‘Andolan‘ (1951) movie. Keeping the legacy alive, there is a reference to a movie named ‘Andolan’ being under making. So, is the ‘in making’ reference for the great Mughal-e-Azam too. A character says that Mughal-e-Azam is turning very expensive for the producers, to which Roy replies that “Whenever the movie will come out, it will blow everyone’s minds”. All India Radio not playing Bollywood songs, calling them “Westernised” is another depiction of a real incident. So, Jubilee beyond any doubt is a tribute to Bollywood itself in multiple ways.

The Soulful Music

Well, how could have I ended the Blog on Jubilee without talking about the sheer BRILLIANT piece of music in the series? A total of 12 songs in the 10-episode series, and for the record, each and everyone seem like a stress buster in the ears. The songs have been very well crafted, and take you back to the golden era of Indian music. From ‘Babuji Bhole Bhale’, ‘Udankhatole’, ‘Voh Tere Mere Ishq Ka’, ‘Dil Jaha Pe Chal Diya’ to my most favourite ‘Saare ke Saare Akele’. I have just not been able to get over this album, and am listening to the whole jukebox on a loop.

A tremendous amount of credit for this would go to one and only Amit Trivedi. For trivia (though I guess most would be knowing), Trivedi also created the songs for the movie Qala, including the famous ‘Ghode Pe Savaar’. Trivedi himself has said that he composed the music for both Qala and Jubilee at the same time. For this, he completely immersed himself in that era, from eating ‘satvik’ food to living in antique conditions, Trivedi was deep-dived into it. And, the result too has come out. At this time, of remixes and remakes, the team Jubilee has come up with something that is both nostalgic and fresh.

Vikramaditya Motwane explains why he picked the title Jubilee for his web series

Team Jubilee (Photo: OTTplay)

Celebrating Jubilee and Bollywood

As I reach the end of my Blog, I would like to say one thing. Today, although I try to watch one movie every day. I go for a series, only after I am sure that it will be worth my time and I will be able to finish it. Frankly, speaking I can’t wait till the 4th season to start getting ‘excited’. At such a time, Jubilee came as an exception. As I mentioned above, not one dull moment, and I finished the whole series in a hooked manner. The primary reason behind this was the originality in this era of repetitive stuff, and the gripping and impactful piece of writing throughout. One can mark my words, this series will be remembered for a long long time for breaking and setting trends in filmmaking and the world of web series. I would again repeat, that one must watch this if one wants to learn screenwriting. Thanks, Team Jubilee for this gem.


“Film banane ke liye kisi na kisi ke sath sona padta hai, ya shareer se ya imaan se (You need to compromise to make a film, either physically or morally)”


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