Abbas Tyrewala makes his directorial debut with an Aamir Khan production. Not a bad way to start. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a typical college-romance-drama-comedy with Imran Khan giving his debut performance. The movie also stars Genelia D’Souza, Prateik Babbar, Manjari Fadnis, Sugandha Garg, Karan Makhija, Alishka Varde, Nirav Mehta et. al. The most important question always is, “Is it a good movie to watch?” To end the suspense, yes, it is. Abbas Tyrewala‘s first baby makes for a very entertaining couple of hours, but the best way to describe Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na would be well executed.
When I said typical college romance, I might not have emphasised enough just how typical this movie is. Boy and girl are the best of friends. Everyone else thinks they are romantically involved, except them. They start seeing other people to get people off their backs, until they finally realise their love for each other before the curtains fall. Classic Hindi film story. In fact, classic romantic plot in any language. So why should we bother with this, the Nth version of the boy meets girl genre? Because it’s so well done.
The Hindi film industry has been going through a rough patch in recent times. The movies have been tired, boring, and confused. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a welcome bit of respite which returns to the basics and does them remarkably. This continues, what is now, a trend with anything tackled by Aamir Khan Productions, starting with Lagaan. In addition to introducing his nephew with style, Aamir Khan once again pulls of a great piece of execution on a movie project. We have come to expect no less.
Abbas Tyrewala comes with a certain amount of pedigree of his own. In the past he has written the dialogue for such wonders as Asoka, Munna Bhai M.B.B.S., and Main Hoon Na. Unfortunately, he also has writing credits for such immense blunders as Darna Mana Hai and Shikhar. While I wouldn’t quite equate Jaane Tu Jaane Na with his best work, I’m happy to report it is immensely distant from his worst. As a director he obviously has potential, because what is a tired premise is given new life in this movie. One aspect in which it succeeds admirably is in creating and maintaining a certain internally consistent atmosphere, and you can’t discount the contribution of the director in that achievement.
The performances too are well done, but in a typical sort of way. Like the plot, most of the characters are stereotypes, and the movie revels in it. Genelia plays the strong-headed girl with a certain comfort. The rest of the gang consisting of Karan Makhija, Alishka Varde, Sugandha Garg, Manjari Fadnis, and Nirav Mehta are expectedly two dimensional and entertaining. Ratna Pathak is effortless as the protagonist’s Mother, and Paresh Rawal could probably play Inspector P.K. Waghmare in his sleep. Prateik Babbar shows promise in his limited role as the female lead’s moody brother. Renuka Kunzru is a revelation as the excuse for the frame tale around which the story is set. Her reactions, dialogue delivery and timing put many of the other cast to shame, and it is unfortunate that she is more of a plot device in this piece rather than a significant character.
A lot of appreciation is due to the new kid on the block, Imran Khan. He plays his role with sincerity, a very rare quality in the world of Hindi films. He doesn’t try to play the hero but rather a human being, and my hat is off to him for choosing such a pacifist nice guy as his debut role. I do wish he continues to choose similarly thoughtful and considered roles, rather than jumping onto the Punjabi stud bandwagon. There are the beginnings of an excellent actor in him.
What might be one of the most popular things about this movie is in my book one of its most dire failures. The music by A.R. Rahman is immensely forgettable, and I don’t care what the record sales say. Also, it would help if some of the singers used here could actually sing. It might come as news to the music creators, but digital distorts and pitch correction do not fool everyone all the time.
In spite of its shortcomings, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a sweet movie. It means well, it accepts its own limitations, and does everything by the book. Having said that, what lifts it well above mediocrity is that it takes that a bit further and throws the book at you. Strange dramatic situations that are obviously contrived, ridiculous reversals, and over-the-top climaxes, it’s all there. Either Abbas Tyrewala seriously believes in this stuff, or he is simply a huge fan of the innocent stupidity of this genre and wishes to celebrate it. I don’t really care which it is. What matters is that he has given us a very entertaining Hindi movie which I know I will watch again in the future.