Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

Re-watched this recently on DVD and then again with the director's commentary. What had struck me when I saw it first was the lack of anything to take home from the movie. Granted the fresh approach to story-telling keeps you interested, but beyond this peppermint-refreshment, there is not too much to the movie. The length is unjustified for a movie which is this simple.

What is startling is that the movie is not even indifferent to ideals (as many of these popcorn college movies tend to be), but seems to promote disrespect to them. Non-violence (something which Abbas Tyrewala professes to abhor) is a cool theme only to be dismissed thoughtlessly towards the climax. The message from the movie seen as a whole is that violence is justified.

Inspector Waghmare gives two hoots to human rights and deserves to be taught a lesson. But is he? No, rather, the entire police force is made a look an irredeemable joke where constables can be slapped, registered reports can be ignored (and even call for an apology), and officers whimpering, simpering and bowing in servitude with one phone call from the powers that be. This might portray the true state of things, but giving it a comic and "influential" twist where the hero triumphs because of all that is wrong with India sends out a terrible message to young viewers.

A few other things I didn't like: the generally childish handling of a few scenes what with security men slipping on the wet floor; the incomplete resolution of the Meghna character; the character-confusion with Sushant (he's macho but why does he strike a woman and unreasonably hit out at Jai, painting him stark black all out-of-a-blue?); and the anachronistic (we are in 2008 not 1988) importance to the "Rathores of Ranjhore" and the accompanying ideal of violence.

A few things I liked: the honest portrayal of reactions of believably shallow teens (or aged thereabouts) where cute and small peccadilloes are given their due; Rahman's music which keeps the movie going; Imran who is good, Genalia who impresses and the talented side-cast which performs.

What makes the movie is it's simplicity, but what lets us down a bit is its shallow approach to the world in general and perhaps forgivibly (it's no exception in this regard), to the young soul which does think beyond parties and girlfriends.