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Jaane Tu…ya jaane na July 5, 2008

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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It’s a safe bet to define something as a “genre” when you’ve seen at least 3 films dealing with the same theme. Going by that Jaane Tu…ya jaane na very suitably falls into one I’d call the “Pyaar Dosti Hai” flick (courtesy: Karan Johar).

Call me immature if you want but I seriously cannot digest it when a guy and a girl who are “inseparable best friends” get the shock of their lives when someone suggests/suspects that they love each other. And then every few years comes a filmmaker who takes just about 180 minutes or so to make these “friends” realize that they really “love” each other and in the process (almost always) reaps rich harvest at the Box Office. For me, these really are pointless films but who cares as long as they entertain – and Jaane Tu… does a really good job at that. Abbas Tyrewala is probably the only screenwriter in recent times who many viewers actually recognize by name and he proves again why that is so. With a clever screenplay which makes use of every cliche in the book yet manoeuvring it around to deliver what undoubtedly is the smartest feel-good flick in a very long time.

Now let’s talk about Imran Khan….wasn’t all the hype around this film about him anyways! Again smart is the word to describe his debut. For someone like him, a mega-budget solo hero flick showcasing every ability he has would have definitely bombed. Imran much like Ranbir Kapoor has such a pleasing screen presence that you instantly take a liking to him. His deep voice is his biggest asset. Like every debutant, there are some raw edges but in a film and role like this they only serve to give that natural touch which is so essential.

The biggest shock I got in the movie was when Genelia utters her first lines. Since so many years, we’ve been used to seeing her regularly in Telugu flicks so getting to hear her real voice was quite unnerving at first. She does well though it comes across as a bit repetitive if you have seen her before. Among the other young cast Manjari Phadnis and Prateik Babbar are great. But on top of my list is Ratna Pathak Shah. It’s been ages since I’ve seen such a loveable on-screen mother. Also a huge round of applause for those very sportive cameos from Naseeruddin Shah, Sohail Khan and Arbaaz Khan. And we all know what A.R Rahman brings to a film…it’s redundant writing about it so I’ll skip that part except that new-find Rashid Ali is someone we’ll surely get to hear more.

For all its pointlessness and silliness Jaane Tu…ya jaane na made me leave the theatre with a big smile. Needless to mention producer Aamir Khan has another winner on his hands.


1. shakirhyd - August 5, 2008

Agree it was a good timepass movie … but surely expected more from an AK production. We always associate greatness with Aamir and his movies, this one isn’t quite

2. Sai - August 28, 2008

Best friends who don’t know they already have the best partner that they can find. We’ve seen it before but this is the sort of subject that can be successfully reused every couple of years if executed correctly and Abbas Tyrewala does a pretty neat job of it in his directorial debut.

The most impressive find in this film is Prateik Babbar (Smita Patil and Raj Babbar’s offspring), who plays Amit, Aditi’s brother. I enthusiastically look forward to seeing him in bigger roles (he has a star quality about him but he would suit unconventional characters better). Abbas touches on a very identifiable issue in sibling relationships and the Amit-Aditi relationship was the best part of this film for me. I love the scene where the siblings discuss why their relationship has lost its strength over the years and both actors shared a certain vibe that really sold the scene.

Another character that I liked is that of Meghna, played effectively by Manjari Phadnis. A girl who tries to create an alternate reality for herself to forget the problems at home. I like this thread a lot because this also touches on something that we rarely see in movies – the effect of warring parents on the psyche of a child. Rajat Kapoor and Kitu Gidwani play Meghna’s parent and their snipes at each other feel very real.

This film is very well cast and it is an important factor in its success. At first, I was worried with the incessant eyebrow raising of Imran in the Aditi number but he settles down after that and delivers a natural performance in a role that suits him well. Genelia has honed her skills well in Telugu films and this film is a great relaunch for her in Bollywood (incidentally her hindi film debut, Tujhe Meri Kasam, had a similar plot). Ratna Pathak Shah steals the show from the older actors in the film and her real life hubby, Naseeruddin Shah complements her well. Jayant Kripalani and Anuradha Patel also fit in well as the “cool” parents. The actors in the group of friends have a great comfort level between them and they are a likable lot of youngsters (Sughanda who plays Shaleen seemed a tad better than the others). Among the other cameos, Paresh Rawal is a delight while I found the Khan brothers unfunny (more due the situations than the actors) till almost the end when they finally succeeded in making me laugh.

While A R Rahman’s soundtrack is superb, I wasn’t particularly satisfied with the placement of the best numbers. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi and Pappu Can’t Dance come quickly and seemingly without reason while Kahin To is overpowered by the situation. Rashid Ali pours life and style into two very different numbers and he certainly is a find.

The film ends at the airport (surprisingly, Abbas does not derive his inspiration from all those Indian films that end at this location but from Love Actually) and it definitely has its share of clichés and plot contrivances. But these are minor gripes in a movie that has a lot going for it – a few fresh characters, new comedic situations, natural performances, superb music and breezy entertainment.

3. Sai - September 2, 2008

As for your quip about best friends being surprised by people suggesting that they are in love, it happens often and not only to best friends. But it isn’t as simple as it seems. I believe the suprise is not from the suggestion of love/marriage but from the fact that people who have seen you closely and whom you trust are suggesting it when you have no intention and have given no indication. The funniest instance, whether true or not, is when someone tells you that you are in love but you don’t know it.

The important question, of course, is why two friends who are inseparable don’t want to marry each other. Now close your eyes and imagine the scene (I know I am stealing this idea from A Time to Kill). Now, imagine that the two friends are from the same sex (and they are straight). Would anyone suggest that these best pals should marry? If not, why should they do that if the friends are from the opposite sex.

The reasons for not wanting to marry a friend can be many. The primary one in my opinion is the fact that “love” is supposedly the prerequisite for love marriage (and it has to deliver on the clichés – it happens only once and mostly at first sight, someone has to make you fall head over heels or however else people think it should be) and a whole bunch of other sh** like religion/caste, family medical history and crazily enough, height and how the pair looks together can become important for (Indian) arranged marriage. These are not necessarily satisfied by a friend. If compatibility was the only prerequisite (apart from the person being from a suitable gender, whether same or different), then all best friends satisfying this requirement would have married.

Except for the more rational beings (and there are only few), who cares for compatibility? Even the rational ones can be blinded by their fantasies. A girl might want the perfect gentleman who is rich, well-educated, earns a lot, who is strong and can protect her and is also in touch with his feminine side. A guy might want a beautiful girl who is physically fit, has great curves, can sing like an angel and dance like a dream, and also be an obedient partner who does not question him too much about his personal interests. Preconceived notions of what someone wants in their partner (and not what they need) is what stops best friends from thinking about marriage unless, of course, the best friend satisfies these fantasies.

Apart from that there is the mental barrier. It can be quite difficult to imagine, one fine day, that you’d want to spend the rest of your life with someone whom you did not imagine in a non-platonic relationship.

There can be many reasons why best friends don’t get together but whether they should and whether they can is finally their decision, irrespective of what anyone feels.

4. Shujath - September 4, 2008

I was actually wondering why you hadn’t touched on this point in your first comment because when I wrote that line I was thinking about the conversations we used to have about this subject and was definitely expecting you to give me a piece of your mind on this one 🙂

All I’d say is this – I definitely agree with the reasons you have mentioned about why one would not want to marry their “best friend”. But again, I still wonder why it should come as a “shock” when someone suggests that. I haven’t been in a situation like that so that explains why it is so hard for me to even imagine. After all, it’s superstition until it happens to you!

One thing I would not agree is

“Now, imagine that the two friends are from the same sex (and they are straight). Would anyone suggest that these best pals should marry? If not, why should they do that if the friends are from the opposite sex.”

That’s because I am still light years away from being able to absolutely “NOT” differentiate between the two relationships you’ve mentioned. I guess that explains my stand.

Let me too steal an idea from Maine Pyar Kiya. Here “best friends” are confronted by the antagonist with the line “Ek Ladka aur Ladki Kabhi Dost Nahin Ho Sakte” following which love blossoms between the pair – which could be interpreted in one way that those “best friends” realized that the dictum was true and their platonic friendship till that point of time was probably ignorance or pretense.

And also if you see in none of the films on this subject it is shown that platonic love slowly turns into romantic love. Outrightly or subtly it is always implied that it was a mistake to think it was platonic love in the first place. Sometimes there are cases where the situation demands that it cannot culminate into romantic love so filmmakers embarrass themselves by turning the “best friends” into brother and sister like in “Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam” rather than justifying their platonic relationship.

Bollywood has influenced me more than Hollywood on this one atleast 🙂

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