ADVERTISEMENT
‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’ Is a Disturbing Take on Caustic Romance
i

‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’ Is a Disturbing Take on Caustic Romance

Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil is directed by Aadish Keluskar

Updated
Movie Reviews
5 min read

Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil

‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’ Is a Disturbing Take on Caustic Romance

It’s complicated – Celeste Wright aka Nicole Kidman tells this again and again in Big Little Lies when describing the relationship with her husband Perry. It was the quiet Monterey there, it’s the bustling Mumbai in Aadish Keluskar’s film Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil (which premiered at MAMI last year, and is streaming on Netflix now). But the show and the film have a common connection - the disintegration of emotions.

The Mukesh ballad in Jaoon Kahan… conjures a dream with rosy promises in our heads. Few minutes into the movie, and the setting seems all too familiar. Two lovers and a long walk through Marine Drive – sounds cliché, right? A beautiful love story blossomed in the rain-soaked streets of Mumbai in Wake Up Sid, letters forged an inexplicable bond in The Lunchbox and strangers discovered each other in Photograph. There’s hope in these films, but little was I prepared for the rude shock that Jaoon Kahan… would hurl at me.

Too busy to read? Listen to this instead:

ADVERTISEMENT
Politicians are corrupt, love has an expiry date, marriage bears with it a tag of infidelity, the powerful crush the helpless in jobs and films distort the reality and drown us in disillusion. Every aspect is looked upon as something that is corrupt and rotting, reinforcing the decaying relationship of the couple.

Rather than romanticising starry Mumbai nights or the lit-up Queen’s Necklace, Keluskar chooses a scorching afternoon for his tale. There’s tension in the air as the girl (Khushboo Upadhyay) meets the guy (Rohit Kokate) and raises an objection to him smoking. He immediately lashes out, and therein starts conversations that drive the plot forward.

A still from Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

They take a long walk by the Marine Drive, have lunch in an Iranian café, watch a movie in an almost-empty theatre and sit by the beach, all the while talking about different topics – politics, films, love, marriage, jobs, even the break-up of the girl’s roommate Sunita. Politicians are corrupt, love has an expiry date, marriage bears with it a tag of infidelity, the powerful crush the helpless in jobs, and films distort the reality and drown us in disillusion. Every aspect is looked upon as something that is corrupt and rotting, reinforcing the decaying relationship of the couple.

References to Hindi films and actors abound in Keluskar’s movie. While defending his judgemental nature, the guy says, “There must be something bad about Aamir and some good qualities in Salman Khan”.

References to Hindi films and actors abound in Keluskar’s movie. While defending his judgemental nature, the guy says, “There must be something bad about Aamir and some good qualities in Salman Khan”. There’s a sequence inside a cab too. After the driver goes on a rant about how he put his faith in the BJP only to realise that it is as hollow as the Congress, he dives into a story about gay couples and moral policing. Struggling to remember the word kick, he arrives at it through the Salman Khan film.

This preoccupation with the reel continues when the couple goes to the theatre to watch a movie. While the girl tries to concentrate, the guy is all too aroused to think of something else. A stray suggestion about him going into filmmaking spirals into one of his monotonous tirades – how films have never mustered the courage to talk about our lives, how they never name political parties, never show sex. And then there is the Censor Board, which is rapidly descending with time. It actually is a commentary on movies like Jaoon Kahan…., that only manage to see the light of day because of film festivals and OTT platforms. The guy mentions all the taboos and the film attempts to shatter them one by one, bridging the difference between reality and the filmy version of ‘reality’ that we are being fed through the ages. It is too harsh and dark, and strives to add to the shock value. Also, the irony strikes hard as the heroine’s brownface is a “stereotype” that Bollywood is being criticised for.

A still from Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil.
(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)

The relationship at the crux cannot be described in a few words. Thing that struck me is that the characters don’t have names. It is as if their identities have merged with the thousands struggling to fulfil their needs and desires in the city that refuses to halt. The guy judges people by only meeting them once. Sunita is the type of girl who will not hesitate plunging into extra-marital affairs or initiating a divorce, he says. Expletives are part and parcel of his nature, he is nihilistic and short-tempered, refers to his girlfriend as a “B-grade film’s heroine’s sister’ and consent are merely letters strung together. However, at times he seems more “liberal” than the girl. She is naïve and shy, dreams about a perfect marriage and kids, and allows him to play with her feelings till things take a drastic turn.

ADVERTISEMENT
The climax at a lodge is sickeningly disturbing. It is violent, both physically and emotionally and the director makes sure that we plunge into an abyss.

The climax at a lodge is sickeningly disturbing. It is violent, both physically and emotionally and the director makes sure that we plunge into an abyss. The girl delivers the final dialogue – “Film ho ya life ho, end toh honi hi hai (Be it films or life, both have to end)”. She vents out her pent-up rage, humiliation, sorrow through a mad dance.

That brings us to the final question – what about the refuge we seek in fiction when stress and sorrows burden us? As Fawad Khan says in Kapoor and Sons, “the happiness we don’t get in real life, we hunt for them in books”. Jaoon Kahan… bares the so-called naked reality in the crudest way possible, and it is that kind of work we would love to hate. After all, films don’t need to be this bleak to get the message across.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Published: 
Speaking truth to power requires allies like you.
Become a Quint Insider
25
100
200

or more

PREMIUM

3 months
12 months
12 months
Check Insider Benefits
ADVERTISEMENT
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!
ADVERTISEMENT
×
×