Review: ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ Has Spunk, but Could Have Been Braver
Let’s start with a short rant about how trailers of films these days leave nothing to our imagination. That the girl our hero “picked up” from the pub could be his daughter. That there is at least 33.333% chance that it is true . In fact, the trailer also confirms it for us .
We even know that Jazz (Saif Ali Khan) is running away from committing to relationships as resolutely as he is trying to defy his growing age. So when we finally watch Jawaani Jaaneman, there aren’t too many surprises for us . However, director Nitin Kakkar and writer Hussain Dalal have taken a smart approach - they don’t depend on plot twists to hold our attention. The plot borders on the expected, even faltering frequently.
For the purpose of convenience therefore we are in faraway London wherein dysfunctional families don’t necessarily need the accompanying high decibel background score and justifications to exist as they usually do closer home. Also, the story makes no bones about the fact that the leading hero is Baap ki umar ka (of someone’s father’s age).
Comments about him dying his hair, taunting him to act more “age appropriate” are routinely done. Jazz is a guy who is visibly ill at ease with the prospect of settling down or even slowing down when it comes to matters of the heart. “I’m a free bird”, “I live alone here with my swag for company,” he unabashedly announces. The girl he thinks he will have a good time with is his daughter’s age. Jazz’s younger brother, played with avuncular charm by Kumud Mishra, is nothing like him. Apart from a few friendly jibes the family, complete with a sister-in-law and parents( Farida Jalal and shivendra singh Mahal), let him be .
Things of course change when Tia (Alaya F) enters their lives and Jazz takes to it exactly how we expect him to - nervous and confused. The cool quotient sits easy on Saif’s very able shoulders. There is a natural swag in him where he doesn’t need to try too hard to be charming. Khan therefore effortlessly melts into his character. Alaya F, making her debut as the girl who has come all the way from Amsterdam in search of her father, is quite natural too.
It’s a testament to her brilliance as an actor that she makes every scene and expression count. As the absentee “hippie” mother, she makes an appearance well post the interval and it’s still a winner .
Saif is the poster boy for singlehood and, frankly, there is nothing wrong with it. Jawaani Jaaneman could have been much braver and not chosen the beaten path, where after a certain age everyone must be “domesticated “ and become a home-maker. It would have been lovely if the film had explored “committed single life” and not been in a hurry to tie all strands into a holy matrimony.
Still, as a father-daughter love story there is enough spunk in it to warrant a viewing. There is a newness with which this love story is tackled, and though there are times when the narrative slumps and the property-broker sub plot seems forced, it still has its heartwarming moments .