Two best friends (Jai and Aditi, played by Imran Khan and Genelia D’Souza ) spend two and a half hours realizing that they are in love with each other, while the world and its grandmother-in-law wait patiently for them to wake up and smell the coffee. That plot alone accounts for, I think, one third of the movies made in any given year.
It even ends at the airport, an entity that probably makes most of its money from love story climax shoots.
One lead is a debutant who looks… well, chocolatey. It will probably be another decade before he shaves for the first time.
The other is the only woman I have ever had to describe as “annoyingly cute”. I watched Santosh Subramanian recently and every moment she was on screen felt like nails scraping on a blackboard. Apparently, she was quite nice inthe Telugu original (Bommarillu), but I don’t know if I want to risk going through this experience again.
It’s got Arbaaz and Sohail Khan in cameos. If you’ve seen any of their movies, you know what to think about that.
And… I loved it. Absolutely, completely, flat out loved it.
It’s called a rom-com for a reason. You go in expecting a lot of com, and enough rom to make you care about whether or not the protagonists get together in the end. Genuine chemistry betwen the leads, a quirky supporting cast, good music, sharp dialogue and an ability to either sidestep the obvious (or do the obvious charmingly).
Not too much to ask? You’d be surprised at how many movies don’t measure up. Which is why Jaane Tu is such a pleasure.
How do I love this movie? Let me count the ways…
- The opening credits — an impressionist view of Mumbai. I remember saying Mumbai by Monet to myself while watching it, and then it turns out that Bbaradwaj Rangan has used the exact same phrase in his review.
- The soundtrack. A R Rahman conjures up what might be one of the rare instances of jazz in a Hindi movie, and tops it up with songs like Kabhi kabhi. Beautiful stuff.
- Naseeruddin Shah, in a delightfully comic turn as Jai’s (Imran Khan) late father, a Rajput whose waits patiently for his son to “become a man”. Given how little space he is given to perform, it is amazing how much he does with it.
- Ratna Pathak Shah, playing Jai’s mom and one of Hindi cinema’s first practicing feminists. Where have you been all this time, lady? There’s a moment where she sees Jai coming back home in a jaunty mood and asks, “Honthon pe seeti, chaal mein uchaal… maajra kya hai?” It’s not like there’s anything instrinsically funny about that line, yet the entire audience in the movie hall laughed. I guess it’s the use of the word maajra, so rarely heard yet somehow so colourful, and the way she delivers the line.
- Arbaaz and Sohail Khan, in what may be the only good performances of their entire career so far and onwards.
- Paresh Rawal, in all his scenery chewing pre-Priyadarshan glory. God, it’s been so long since we saw something like this from him!
- Prateik Babbar, who plays Aditi’s brother. I can imagine Smita Patil standing inside a portrait and grinning away to glory.
- The ghost of Dil Chahta Hai, which plays Keith Richards to this movie’s Jack Sparrow. There are minor plot points this movie borrows from that one, like the place Aditi’s fiance has in the story. However, it takes those little things and makes them its own.
- The airport ending. Imagine taking the single most overused cliche in romantic movies and still pulling it off. I won’t spoil the surprise for you by saying how he does it. But trust me, Abbas Tyrewalla has figured out a way of making it work.
- And finally, the Samuel Beckett reference right at the end. It might’ve worked better with two people instead of one, but hey, if that’s the best I can come up with by way of complaint, it’s good news.