Friday, 31 May 2013

Yeh Jawaani….is not so Deewani! Where’s the Kahaani?

Yeh Jawaani….is not so Deewani! Where’s the Kahaani?
Ok so? What’s so wrong with that? That’s perfectly fine! We don’t really expect our Bollywood romcoms to have a story or anything. We have enough stories in our television for that. Be it crime shows or soaps…or hell, there are much deeper stories in our reality shows and news channels nowadays. In fact, let our Bollywood remain the way it is – breezy, frothy and brain-dead. Who cares about good scripts in the movies…when we have much better scripted IPL matches doing the rounds?
Yes, that’s a very valid argument and expectation to begin with. And most of our blockbusters do get away with this license to entertain, entertain and entertain. However, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) suffers from another big issue – damn, it’s not enough Deewani either!
YJHD. Produced by Dharma Productions, Karan Johar (of you know what fame). And directed by Ayan Mukherjee (of Wake Up Sid fame). If there is anything that should prepare (rather warn) you for the dichotomy that lies it, it are these different chalk and cheese credentials. The movie starts beautifully. It builds it up neatly and quite entertainingly. It’s all fun, games and KJo kind of feel-good mush right up till the intermission. The characters are all well-etched and perfectly set up. The situation is ripe for a take-off in the second half. And it’s an exciting crescendo that takes you right up to the highest peaks of Manali and builds your appetite for a stunning second half. Yeah Jawaani! So far, so good. We’ve enjoyed the Jawaani bit…time to make it Deewani!

However, cut to the second half and real director of the movie, Ayan Mukherjee, is summoned to wrap it up. And it’s here that the flick not just descends, or paraglides….but simply nosedives from the peaks it had attained in the first half. The wafer-thin, single sentence story is left grappling for some oxygen. It tries to infuse some energy through a couple of boisterous songs, however, not enough for a plot that has already hit a coma.
“Go follow your heart, chase your dreams…but don’t be in such a rush to not enjoy the present. Be content with what you have, sit down and enjoy the sunsets…as no matter what, you may never be able to grab it all in one life.” These are all great Good Morning messages on your WhatsApp. However, to drag a movie for 170+ minutes with these philosophies is a criminal waste of resources. It may have still made sense if there was some serious substance and conflict backing these thoughts. However, by just making it too verbose…the Jawaani is lost of all its promised Deewanapan in the second half.  
In the good ‘ol days, Bollywood love stories were all about conflict and fighting the odds against the world. Be it the rich-poor divide, the caste systems or family feuds that kept the longing lovers at loggerheads with the entire world. There have also been the love triangles, friendly sacrifices and a whole lot of confusion that have kept the love stories entangled for a long time. However, off late, the world has progressed. Good news for the lovers as the parents have become much cooler. We no longer see fuming dads or scheming moms. Caste divide, rich-poor, family feuds have all been banished for good (atleast in the cinema). Or atleast, no longer cool subjects to be woven into our picture postcard stories. Triangles – well there is only so much one can do with triangles. Isosceles, right angle or equilateral. What else? So then what are love stories all about nowadays?  
Well, we need to keep the lovers engaged for 150-odd minutes, right? And now that the external forces (zaalim duniya) has softened its stand, the lovers mess it up within themselves and their minds to create an issue when there is none. Commitment phobia, I want a career, I wanna fly, pyar dosti hai, dosti pyar hai, she’s not my type, oh! Perhaps he is gay!just pick up any Bollywood romcom of the last decade and lovers have all but muddled it up in their minds. Damn, you are in love? You wanna marry? Just go ahead...and we’ll join the celebrations. But no, the now generation needs to keep it convoluted and philosophised for no apparent reason.

Well, YJHD is another one joining the assembly line of such rom-bores. Think about it, is the now generation actually so confused? Well, actually not! Do young people really think so much about career, love and marriages as such life altering, mutually exclusive events? Well, not at all! The now generation is much more sorted than ever before! Looking around…people are having great careers and awesome marriages, they’re shifting jobs and even careers at the drop of a hat, they’re falling in and out of love much faster than the drop of a hat…and yes they’re getting married in style without much ado. And many like Rakhi Sawant and Rahul Mahajan are even making a career out of getting married! It’s all so supercool these days!

Coming back to the movie review. YJHD is long, very long movie (and hence this long review!) It’s perfect popcorn entertainment for the first 2 hours and keeps you enthralled. The songs are already a rage and set the screen on fire. It’s not news, that Ranbir Kapoor is a super entertainer and the biggest superstar of the current lot. And he further entrenches his reputation and stardom with YJHD. Deepika is an eyesore and continues to be. With every movie, she proves that she needs to join a professional acting course…and somebody needs to start dubbing her dialogues. The surprise packet is Kalki and as always, she is a pleasure to watch. Warm presence and a superb act!
However amongst the negatives is of course the tiring length. The last 1 hour is a never-ending drag that seems to go nowhere. The movie anti-climaxes to nothingness and gives us more of Farooq Sheikh (looking terribly aged) and Tanvi Azmi for our buck. Not at all desirable. The characterisations are super-shallow (except Kalki) that keeps you wondering – So what’s the fuss all about? Ranbir Kapoor ends up coming across as a wannabe, trying to be too cool, but too confused wimpy hero. Deepika is confused in the stereotype of good, intelligent girls can’t have fun…and sobs her heart out for no apparent reason. Aditya Roy Kapoor as the best friend is the weakest link (in terms of character) and adds nothing to the story. Is he an alcoholic? Is he jealous? Is he in love? Is he a compulsive flirt? Is he a loser? Is he a great, emotional friend? Why the hell is he so sad? Is he a rich dad’s aiyyash beta?  Or is he an aiyyash dad’s misunderstood beta? What’s his damn problem? Is he….well, why was he there in the movie? Ah, there you nailed it! He is UTV’s head honcho’s brother! Got it my friend?
So YJHD is a perfect case of a project that was bankrolled in the following manner. Sign in the reigning heartthrobs Ranbir and Deepika. Check. Record some really chartbusting numbers. Check. How about adding in Make My Trip as a product placement partner? Excellent, check! Ok, can we now fit both of UTV’s honcho’s brothers in here? Oh yes, certainly, why not! Check. Ok, all done. “Now Ayan can you please summarize some cool philosophies from your email forwards and quickly put together a screenplay?”

To sum it up, YJHD is an interesting travelogue to begin with…and gives solid footage to Make My Trip. It’s great, paisa-vasool fun for the first 2 hours. However, its tail wags for too long, for too little and ends too tame. In fact, it kills the pleasure of all that was neatly set-up initially. However, feel free to walk away after the Dilli waali Girlfriend song and you won’t miss much.
P.S. Madhuri’s special appearance item song must be amongst her worst…and should in fact disqualify her from being a judge in Jhalak Dikhlaaja.
In the end, just wish that this Jawaani was a bit more Deewani & Toofani. And of course, a bit less Dee-‘YAWN’-i! Yaaaawn…Oh Kabira!

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