Vikramaditya Motwane returns with a series on prime with a less glamorous and more political show about the film industry in the late 1940s-1950s. “Jubilee” follows five main characters and their intertwining lives as they seek to reach their dreams through films. Witty dialogue, great music, and a retro style bring this show together. It’s a thrilling watch littered with drama, politics, and the occasional song and dance. When appreciating something, it doesn’t always have to be shown in a good light. Motwane and Soumik Sen prove this through the well-crafted story of “Jubilee.” The show has currently released the first five episodes and will release the last five on April 14, 2023. It’s a shame we don’t get to see all episodes at once because the last episode packed a punch, leaving us with great expectations.
Introducing Madan Kumar From Roy Talkies
Set in independence-era Bombay, “Jubilee” brings to life ‘Roy Talkies,’ a leading production studio helmed by Srikant Roy, esteemed director and husband of famous and beloved actress Sumitra Kumari. Although adept at his job, Roy is a sleaze who sleeps around and proves his status as a glamorous film producer who can have anything—or rather, anybody—he wants. As a man of such power, Roy also has a right-hand man, a measly servant named Binod, who does all his dirty bidding for him. Binod proves time and again that he is a loyal dog to Roy and believes he is a good man underneath it all (yeah, sure, tell yourself that). Roy is in search of a big star for his upcoming film to boost the studio and get audiences to come to the cinema post-partition. He has already announced the name of the actor, but no such person actually exists: Madan Kumar.
Finally, Roy finds his Madan Kumar in a man named Jamshed Khan from Lucknow. Handsome, charming, 6 ft 2; attractive to the ladies; and most importantly, talented because he’s a theater actor. This all sounds wonderful, but to Roy’s disappointment (not anger), his wife Sumitra has fallen in love with Jamshed. Instead of bringing him back to the city of dreams, she is spending her time in Lucknow with Roy’s next big thing. It is clear that Roy is more worried about his studio’s reputation than the marriage, so he soon sends Binod to bring both of them back so they can make their new movie in peace. Binod uses his fox-brain and blackmail to convince Sumitra to bring Jamshed back to Bombay, but at the same time, Jamshed has written to his friend Jay Khanna in Karachi to take him to join his family’s theater company. Jay is thrilled to do so, but on his way to get Jamshed, he meets Binod on the train. Binod bribes a police officer to save Jay from getting beaten up by the British, so he’s immediately friendly to him; after all, he’s indebted to him, and five rupees is a huge price. Through conversation, Binod finds out why Jay is heading to Lucknow. So now Binod and Jay are facing each other in the battle of getting Jamshed to their own cities.
Dramatically, in Lucknow, Sumitra asks Jamshed to choose his life with her and asks him to elope with her to Karachi. In the meanwhile, Binod dirties his hands, and Sumitra is left devastated. When she informs Jamshed, they come up with a secret plan that will allow her to escape Binod and Roy and then move to Karachi. Just as they think the plan is in place. Binod pretends to be an admirer of Jamshed and shows up at his theater. They talk, and he says Jamshed will be the perfect Madan Kumar; he shouldn’t lose this magnificent opportunity. Jamshed isn’t convinced, and Binod makes it so that he can drive Jamshed to the railroad station.
On the way, when Jamshed is looking for a matchbox to light his cigarette, he sees a piece of paper that reveals Binod’s true identity. Jamshed is furious and tries to fight off the driving Binod. In the midst of riots everywhere, they drive off into a fire, crashing the car. Binod escapes, and instead of saving Jamshed, he kicks him hard. Binod clearly has other motivations than bringing Jamshed back. He wants to be a star, perhaps. As seen previously in reciting those same words that got Jamshed the role of ‘Madan Kumar,’ the protestors arrive, and Binod runs away in time to see Jamshed getting brutally beaten up by them. Jay finds Binod, and they both head to the railway station together. Binod puts Jay on a train to Karachi, and Sumitra, who was supposed to meet Jamshed in the middle of the journey to switch trains, now faces her husband instead, with no knowledge of what happened to Jamshed.
Back in Bombay, Roy gets handed a set of pictures that make him furious at Binod. He knows Binod left Jamshed to die, but when he confronts him, instead of being afraid, Binod acts out the dialogue from the audition perfectly, leaving Roy with a new Madan Kumar and a salvaged studio—or so we think.
Refugee Camps And Bad Luck
Jay finds himself and his family in a terrible spot after the partition, which happened only a few days after his departure from Lucknow. He was already devastated after seeing his friend being beaten to death; now, his family theater has been burned down, and he has entered India as a refugee with no money or work. He finds himself tempted by ill fortune. Seeing his sick brother, Jay agrees to murder somebody for some money. He fails in the attempt and is sent to prison. After his return, the man he was supposed to kill spares his life but tells him that he will have to pay for what he’s done. Jay is desperate as he looks for work, and he finds himself losing his way until he comes upon the Roy Talkies, where his ‘friend’ Binod has just become a superstar.
With a little coaxing, Jay convinces Binod to help him get a job at the Talkies. He becomes a spot boy at the canteen and is happy with it as he can get extra food for his family and a monthly salary. Jay has realized through his time at the studio that he wants to be a director someday. He already has a script he has been working on since he worked at his father’s theater company. All he needed now to become successful were Madan Kumar and Roy Talkies. But, elsewhere, Sumitra is looking for her lost love, Jamshed, and she knows a man named Jay Khanna in Karachi is his friend. Sumitra is facing Roy head-on and isn’t hiding the fact that she despises him. While she looks for Jay, she doesn’t realize he’s right under her nose. Binod approves of Jay’s script and directorial debut. He agrees to be the lead and decides to show the script to Roy. Roy realizes who Jay is—that is, Jamshed’s friend—and so he immediately, out of spite, gets him out of his job through a small phone call. Jay is forced to leave work as he’s been falsely accused of theft.
At the same time, another hand gets drawn into this vicious circle of Bollywood. Niloufer, a court dancer back in Lucknow who happened to meet Jay because of Jamshed, ends up in Mumbai soon after the partition. She is immediately scammed and taken to a brothel, where things look very grim for her. Fortunately, as brave as she is, Niloufer manages to escape the brothel and reach the man who has her life savings with him. He gives her the money, and she starts to spend it luxuriously. Niloufer finds herself in a big club where, with a small bribe, she finds out who the wealthiest men in the room are. She puts on a glamorous show for the present guests, and as she is extremely talented, Shamsher Singh Walia immediately takes a liking to her.
Notoriously pompous, Mr. Walia had convinced himself previously that dear servant Binod could never become a superstar. Even if you put a lowlife like him in a fancy suit, he will still look like a lowlife. Unfortunately for him, the world sees Binod as a superstar now, and he lost a great opportunity to distribute his movie. Now that he’s spent his money on Niloufer, he waits for something big to happen. Niloufer uses Walia’s money and connections to do small roles in films. She happens to come across Jay one day, and they become close over time. Jay starts to fall in love with Niloufer, but all she wants is money and fame. Her eyes are on the one and only Madan Kumar. Through their friendship, Niloufer tells Walia about Jay. Jay excitedly shows up with his script, but Walia isn’t interested; he just wants a driver. Jay is almost put in prison for possession of Walia’s dodgy car, so he goes to confront Walia. He tells Walia that he is a coward for not taking a risk with Madan Kumar, but instead, he should take a risk on Jay’s script.
After a lot of back and forth, Walia tells Jay that if he can get Madan to be the star of his film, then he will finance it. Jay has to open his own studio and borrow equipment to make his film. It’s ride or die for him, and he will do anything to make it work. After all, he really has nothing to lose. Jay requests that the refugee camp committee loan his land to build his studio. In return, he needs to marry the head’s daughter, who has developed feelings for him over their time as refugees. Jay, who is in love with Niloufer, offers her the role of the leading lady or his hand in marriage. She refuses the latter and tells him to live his dream and make the movie for himself. Finally, things look to be going well for Jay.
Politics Of The Time
Amidst this glory, there was also a power play that was happening between the USSR and the USA, with India in the middle. Through Bollywood and the radio, the two countries want to put out their propaganda. Roy and Madan refuse to be puppets of the USSR, even though their biggest shareholders want them to be. So, they chose to make Bollywood music inaccessible on the radio to teach them a lesson. It was a ‘bad influence’ on the country. In return, Roy uses the US to get his songs back on the radio and makes Binod return to his old ways of working as a loyal servant for him.
Sumitra, on the other hand, joins forces with the producers because she finally finds out about Binod ‘killing’ Jamshed. She will do anything to have his name in the dirt. The US wants to distribute its films and air its radio shows in India, but Russian and Indian intelligence are jamming the US’s radio signals. So, if Roy is able to help them with their movies, he can get help with their songs. Sumitra admits to the Russian side that Madan is a murderer, but she has no proof of it. The public’s support for a hero is far greater than that of a heroine, so they will never believe Madan could do anything wrong. Mr. Jotwani, though a big man, is the one who is connected with the Russians and is making a special type of microphone that is essentially a tapping device. If this can be placed in Madan’s house, anything can be proven.
‘Jubilee’ Episode 5: Ending Explained – Does Madan Do Jay’s Movie?
The end of Part 1 leaves us craving more drama immediately, but unfortunately, we have to wait for an entire week to see what happens next. Jay convinces Binod—sorry, Madan—to be the star of his film. He gets the financing for the studio and agrees to marry Kiran. At the launch of the Khanna Studios, Niloufer gets introduced to Jay’s family. Walia is there, and it’s all super grand until… the guy who Jay had tried to kill shows up with his gang, ready to destroy everything Jay has built. As they are about to fight it out, Walia saves the day. He tells the other guy that he can open a theater on the land they have and make money from it too. Everybody benefits from having a studio in the area. But what if the film flops? That’s entirely impossible because the lead actor in the film is Mr. Madan Kumar.
Back at Roy Talkies a few days prior, Madan told Roy that he agreed to do Jay’s film without his permission. Roy gives him a very cryptic reply. Roy reminds Binod that the only way he can save himself is by using the spectacle that is Madan Kumar. Back at Jay’s launch, Madan arrives and asks Jay why Walia is present. Jay tells him that he is the guy who financed the studio and bet on Jay’s work first. Madan immediately tells Jay that he will not be in his movie if Walia is involved in it. How will Jay save “Taxi Driver”? After getting halfway through the hardship to make his dream a reality, Jay is faced with more battles than he started with. What will he gamble on next? There is much to happen in Part 2 of “Jubilee,” and we cannot wait for the drama. The show is a pragmatic reminder of the great cinema of India.