Exclusive by Devansh Patel - Harrow Observer, London.
Friendship is a very fragile subject for a movie. Yet, some renowned directors and actors in the past have portrayed this beautiful relation in the most enigmatic way that one could imagine. The portrayal of friendship on screen just brings the magic of friendship alive. Whether it is about lost friendship or friendship that has lasted through ages or friendship that has cultivated into love, movies of such genre have always enthralled audiences, young and old alike, and Jaane Tu is the best example of it. It is a movie that sneaks up on you and grabs your heart before you know it. So, you might be thinking that I've already started praising the film just because I got a chance to meet and catch up with Imran Khan in London along with the director Abbas Tyrewala last week and have to write good about the film, isn't it? Well, that's not the case here.
Written and directed by the already known name in Bollywood, Abbas Tyrewala, the film centres around a group of college friends, Ranjhore ka Rathod Jai aka Rats (Imran Khan), Aditi the Kaali Billi aka Meow (Genelia D'Souza), Rotlu who never cries (Karan Makhija), Jiggy the Gujju Patel (Nirav Mehta), Shaleen (Sugandha Garg) and Bombs the tubelight (Alishka Varde). All six of them and their friendship is inseperable. But more than the last four members of the group, Jaane Tu is all about Jai and Aditi. The story of their happy, difficult, passionate, inconvenient courtship and relationship is told by their friends - Rotlu, Jiggy, Bombs and Shaleen to Jiggy's girlfriend Mala who is an air-hostess, who hates airports and the one who cannot understand what is she doing at the airport on a date with Jiggy.
The film cleverly kicks off with all four friends singing the old classic 'Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na...Maane Tu...Ya Maane Na' in the car while going to the airport to receive Rats and Meow...and the cliched flashback begins. The college, the rona-dhona, ruthna-manana, the first crush, the insecurity, etc etc. Jai and Aditi are such close buddies that everyone in the college including their group and their parents think that they are seeing each other and will get married one day. But that's not what the inseperable two think because their relationship is like chalk and cheese. While Jai is taught to be a quiet non violent Gandhian and a complete opposite of what his father (Naseeruddin Shah) was, by his mother Savitri (Ratna Pathak Shah), Aditi is more of a believer and a follower of 'Laaton ke bhoot, baaton se nahin maante'. Yet, each accentuates and compliments the other. Both of them decide to find for each other a suitable match. Enter Meghna (Manjari Phadnis) and Jai falls head over heels for this leggy who loves playing the game 'What's this?' Jai wins Meghna's heart by saving her from the two Marlborough Men - the two Khans, and it's not Salman or Shahrukh! So as their relationship blossoms, Meow on the other hand starts getting a bit insecure. Now how many times have we seen this in Hindi films? To keep her promise, Aditi too finds for herself a fiance (Ayaz Khan) who is well built and would protect her in any given situation. In a predictable and a cliched narrative, both Meghna and Meow's fiance find out that they are in a wrong relationship and split up with their respective partners. Perhaps after reading this you might decide to carry a pack of tissues, but don't worry, you won't need it. Jaane Tu is a film that doesn't make you sob nor makes you laugh out loud but is a film which makes you smile because of its sweet and uncanny characters, thoughtful and engaging narrative and its soulful music which makes you go back to your college days. What happens next is fairly obvious where everything is heading. To the airport? Sshhh, it a surprising finale.
Take a bow for the two leads Imran Khan and Genelia D'Souza who provide a rare melancholic entertainment about loneliness and friendship in an effortlessly appealing melange. And casting both of them in such roles is a stroke of genius by debutant director Abbas Tyrewala as he deftly utilizes Rats and Meow's ingratiating onscreen persona to make the viewers connect with their roles. Having said that, due credit to the casting director Pakhi for picking up such a bunch of lunatics with whom you'll fall in love with. Jiggy, Bombs, Shaleen and Rotlu fit to perfection with their roles. Bravo! Naseeruddin Shah is very well framed and is a delight to watch him in every frame he appears and Ratna Pathak Shah as an agressive social worker is adorable. Jaane Tu for some reason becomes rare also for the fact that it reunites some of small screen and advertising world's well known and lost faces like Jayant Kriplani (best known for his Vicks commercial in the early 1980's) and Anuradha Patel who plays Aditi's parents in the film, the gorgeous model and actress of the 1980's Kitu Gidwani who still looks absolutely hot and stunning as Meghna's mother. Another surprise package of the film is Aditi's brother, Amit (Prateik Babbar) who makes a short but an impressive debut. Watch his scene with Genelia where he makes her understand the value of friendship by saying, "It's not that I have gone far away from you sister. The problem is that there are many others who have come close to you". Very well executed by Abbas and even better delivered by Prateik.
The script is excellent, bouncily incorporating farce, witty dialogue and astute observations about the importance of friendship in today's fast paced society. Writer / Director Abbas Tyrewala keeps a firm hand on the material, maintaining a breezy comic tone and never allowing the film to nose dive into sickly sentimentality, something which the other Bollywood films in the future will no doubt attempt to correct. The music of the film makes the proceedings more enjoyable. How many times have you seen music directors giving interviews and conveying the message that the music carries the film forward and then fails to deliver? Well, for a change, A.R.Rahman proves it right. He not only carries the film forward but also reinvents himself by reminding the audience that he has aged but his music hasn't. 'Kabhi Kabhi Aditi' and 'Pappu Can't Dance Saala' are the best examples of the maestro's youthfulness. To add further, Crisp cinematography, deft dialogues and excellent editing makes a perfect icing on the cake.
Overall, Jaane Tu is a really wonderful, rare film. It is rare because it portrays, in a way that is both persistently funny and unflinchingly earnest, one of the most under-represented but universal human neuroses: the desire for friendship or platonic love. Jaane Tu becomes not just a delight, but a thoughtful delight. Few films I can remember (Dil Chahta Hai, Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi) so directly address the question of friendship, the nature of friendship, and, most of all, the illusion that our acquaintances and our friends are the same thing. That perhaps is something all of us might be well advised to examine. The film remind us that God created us to be more than "It" objects to populate an isolated world. Instead, he gave us love and friendship as precious means to glimpse—however faintly—what it is to commune with the Holy.
Go and watch this convincingly cliched cinema with your best friend and you'll never regret!