The Guide's Bollywood columnist DEVANSH PATEL exclusively reviews the latest Indian cinema offering, Jaane Tu, a sweet film about the lives and loves of six inseparable friends
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 things about the film? Well, that's not the case here.
Written and directed by the well-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).
The six of them may be inseparable but, more than anything, 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, hates airports and 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 collect Rats and Meow - and the flashback begins: the college, the drama, the first crush, the insecurity, etc.
Jai and Aditi are such close buddies that everyone at the college, including their friends, and their parents think that they are seeing each other and will get married one day.
But that's not what the inseparable two think because their relationship is like chalk and cheese. While Jai is taught by his mother Savitri (Ratna Pathak Shah) to be a quiet, non-violent Gandhian and the complete opposite of what his father (Naseeruddin Shah) was, Aditi is more of a believer and a follower of 'Laaton ke bhoot, baaton se nahin maante' (One who doesn't get convinced by words needs to be convinced by kicks).
Yet they accentuate and complement one another and so both decide to find a suitable match for the other.
Enter Meghna (Manjari Phadnis). Jai falls head-over-heels for this leggy lady and wins her heart by saving her from the two Marlborough Men - the two Khans, and it's not Salman or Shahrukh!
While their relationship blossoms, Meow 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 fiancé (Ayaz Khan) who is well-built and would protect her from anything.
In a predictable and a clichéd narrative, both Meghna and Meow's fiancé find out that they are in the 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 isn't a film that makes you sob or makes you laugh out loud, but it is a film which makes you smile because of its sweet and uncanny characters, thoughtful and engaging narrative and its soulful music which takes you back to your college days.
What happens next is fairly obvious. 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 appealing onscreen personas to make the audience connect with their roles.
And credit is due to the casting director Pakhi for picking up such a bunch of lunatics with whom you'll fall in love: Jiggy, Bombs, Shaleen and Rotlu fit their roles perfectly.
The script is an excellent farce with witty dialogue and astute observations about the importance of friendship in today's fast-paced society.
Writer and 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 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?
For a change, 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.
Add crisp cinematography, deft dialogues and excellent editing to make a perfect icing on the cake.
Overall, Jaane Tu is a really wonderful, rare film because it portrays, in a way that is both persistently funny and unflinchingly earnest, one of the most underrepresented but universal human emotions: the desire for friendship or platonic love.
Jaane Tu becomes not just a delight, but a thoughtful delight. Few films I can remember (except maybe Dil Chahta Hai, Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi) so directly address the nature of friendship and 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.