There is a cricket sequence in the first half of Jersey movie where the Hyderabad Club plays a charity match against the New Zealand cricket team. When every player literally starts to surrender to an imminent defeat, Arjun turns the table with his grit. Irrespective of the result, the character Arjun essayed by actor Nani shows his indomitable spirit which he lost 10 years back when he decided to leave cricket.
The spirit rekindles later due to compelling circumstances that he encounters in his life and that presents us the journey of G Arjun, who is seen by the society as a failed person yet a successful cricketer who realizes ‘it is never too late to dream’.
Nani hits the screen with a sports drama that has cricket as its backdrop. Jersey tells us an inspiring story of a person who tastes success, then hit hard by obstacles, gives up, loses the faith of near and dear, but finally rises like a phoenix.
Arjun, a Ranji cricketer quits cricket and joins a government job. Later, he loses the job on allegations of corruption. That marks the beginning of turmoil in his life which also results in clashes between his wife Sarah (Shraddha Srinath) whom he married before quitting cricket.
Amidst all these, Arjun’s only joy is his son Nani (Ronit Kamra) for whose happiness Arjun would not hesitate to go an extra mile and who is indirectly the reason for making his father catch the bat again. What brings Arjun back to the cricket field at an age of 36 years, usually the retirement age for cricketers, and whether he is successful is what Jersey is all about.
Through the tale of Arjun, the movie in a sublime fashion shows that age is just a number and your life can start at any moment. Though stumped early in his life, Arjun in his second innings makes sure that he smashes every ball out of the park grabbing every opportunity with both the hands.
The movie starts slow and the pace remains the same till the interval, but the best is stored for the second half in terms of performances, writing, and emotions. Like the power hitting in T20 cricket after first 10 overs, Nani delivers a career-defining performance by upping the ante in the second half.
Jersey is stitched using the father-son sentiment between Arjun and his son Nani and the emotion is very well carried till the end for which director Gowtam Tinnanuri deserves full credit. With his second outing, Gowtam presented a slice of life, a phase which everyone faces at one point or other, by lacing it with a strong hope that ‘it is never too late to dream’.
The climax, where a book is launched on Arjun with the title Jersey has some startling revelations which take the audience by a surprise and answers all the questions.
Overall, in cricketing terms, Jersey is a sixer which is hit out of the stadium. It has the potential to leave the audience teary-eyed courtesy the strong scripting and performance of ‘Natural Star’ Nani who lives up to his tag. Also noteworthy in this 160-minute long emotional sports drama are Arjun’s coach character played by Sathyaraj and music by Anirudh.