Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Arbaaz and Sohail Khan, in what may be the only good performances of their entire career so far and onwards.
  6. Paresh Rawal, in all his scenery chewing pre-Priyadarshan glory. God, it’s been so long since we saw something like this from him!
  7. Prateik Babbar, who plays Aditi’s brother. I can imagine Smita Patil standing inside a portrait and grinning away to glory.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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12 thoughts on “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

  1. Sagarika says:

    Ramsu,

    Ah finally! I first read brangan’s review and LOVED it. Then went on to read Aditya’s review of Janne Tu. Again, LOVED it. Then thought to myself, I need just ONE more reading of this review (from yet another reviewer I actually care to read) to close it off nicely, before I sit down and wait and wait and wait…(did someone say Godot?) for the DVD (send it my way and pretty please, I pray, “To God”). You didn’t disappoint at all! πŸ™‚

    Oh by the way, was your “How do I love this movie? Let me count the ways” yet another Mumbai by Monet-style cosmic coincidence or a nod to how brangan says he loves the Kabhi Kabhi number?

  2. Ramsu,
    Well written, agree with you completely. I would also add a 11th one “Genelia’s parents”. Naseeruddin Shah really does a lot with the limited space he is given (good pun, btw).
    I didn’t know Tamil version of Bommarillu is called Santosh Subramanian, but I can assure you Genelia is a pain in the butt in the original Bommarillu too – I couldn’t stand her (in/and the movie). Silly that the director tries to pass off stupidity as innocence, sillier still is that the audience (a majority, at least) is taken in completely.

  3. memsaab says:

    Awww. I just can’t wait to see it. And TZP, which STILL isn’t out on DVD (unless it came out this week, I haven’t looked yet)…

  4. Sagarika>> Cosmic coincidence, nothing else. But on this movie, baradwaj and i seem to have noticed a lot of similar things, which I take to mean that I am improving as a reviewer πŸ™‚

    Giri>> True, they were quite good. The fact that they both burst into laughter when they realized their gaffe in assessing Jai and Aditi’s relationship was a nice touch — they do dispense serious advice after that, but the way they reacted at that moment really worked for me.

    I agree with your assessment of the Hasini character — she didn’t come across as innocent, just lobotomized. Surprising how many people loved it, in both languages. Or maybe we’re the ones to be surprised at πŸ™‚

    memsaab>> Aamir seems to be on a roll right now. And so far as I know, the TZP DVD isn’t out yet.

    ~r

  5. I saw every single plot point coming, starting right off the bat with the funeral and going right up to the end scene (well not the Becket thing, that made me LOL) — and like you, i totally loved it. This is the kind of cast that really comes along once in a blue moon and to see newcomers who weren’t trying to be someone else (although Imraan is very obviously Aamir 2.0 and can’t help it poor baby with that face and that voice and that same exact smile) but just chilling out on screen.

    I think that’s what really got me – the fact that everyone on screen was having a ball and were neither taking themselves too seriously nor trying too hard to be “light”.

    Sigh.

  6. True, what came across most clearly was the sense of fun they were having, all of them. It was infectious.

    I don’t think anyone anticipated the Beckett reference. Even the Cinderella reference was a bit of a surprise.

    ~r

  7. I am sorry but I will have to disagree with you on multiple counts.

    Genelia was irritating as hell in Bommarillu. Like Giri said, it was really sad that the director tried to pass that annoying stupidity as innocence.

    The music I thought was very ordinary. I think it was Rahman trying to do breezy romantic numbers like Jatin lalit is wat spoilt it. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi reminds me a lot of “appudo ippudo eppudoo” in Bommarillu that Sidharth sung himself.

    I actually liked the opening credits better in Aamir. The mumbai goings-on are superbly shot along with a cheerful background score.

    I think I expected too much from Aamir Khan but the movie could have use some editing. I got bored through some parts of the movie and wanted it to end soon.

    I agree with you on Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak. Superb performances. I wish Rajat Kapoor and Kitu Gidwani were used better. Anyhoo, nice review!

  8. Thanx for your views — the movies get boring if everyone thinks of them the same way, no? πŸ™‚

    I am with you on Genelia. However, I thought she was nicely reined in in this one.

    Haven’t heard that song in Bommarillu, so can’t comment. But I thought the title track (the one Rahman composed, not the oldie the characters sing) was quite nice and different — I can’t think of too many instances where someone has put jazz music in a Hindi film tune.

    ~r

  9. M says:

    Ramsu,

    new reader of your blog (via Indiequill).

    Finally – someone who disliked Genelia in Santosh Subramaniam – I disliked the whole movie, (subjected to it on a tourist bus in India recently) and really disliked Genelia in it…but have been treated like the quintessential hates-puppies-and-kittens pariah by everyone to whom I’ve voiced this opinion
    πŸ™‚ Glad to see there is someone else who feels the same way about her…

    I’ve been somewhat wary of JTYJN for this reason, but shall brave it this weekend πŸ™‚

    M

  10. For reasons beyond my understanding, Hasini has become Genelia’s calling card. Thanks to both the Telugu and Tamil versions succeeding wildly, I can see why she tries to capitalize on that. It was my big apprehension going into this movie, but it wasn’t so bad.

    Her character in JTYJN isn’t lobotomized like that one. Her Aditi is a bit of a drama queeen, but tolerable and considerably reined in on the acting front. I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed.

    ~r

  11. Biswaroop says:

    I had a second look at Jaane Tu later. I find Genelia has been first time used properly. She is a resounding success in this film. I loved the film. But I shall remember it only for Genelia’s acting. It stood apart from others..though others also acted very well.

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