Subhash K Jha talks about Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na


By Subhash K. Jha, A HREF="">Bollywood Hungama News Network

A blessed week at the movies. If this week we get Harman Baweja as the full filmy package of an all-rounder, we also get Imran Khan…Fresh - faced original and possessing a natural screen presence that immediately connects him with the audience.

Abbas Tyrewala's directorial debut has a certain sparkling spirit, a zest for living life quirk-sized and a certain zing thing about the way the characters look at life and love. It's not only about the way the characters' exuberant yearnings connect with the audience. It's also about the casual free-flowing downloading of events and dialogues in the narrative that give the characters an edge over other urbane youngsters who have come and gone in the past creating a spirit of lingering joie de vivre.

The bunch of collegians here take their cues from Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai, Rakeysh Mehra's Rang De Basanti and even Karan Johar's Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Echoes from these iconic youth -films fill out the outer edges of the 'cool' canvas creating for the characters at-hand a sense of wondrous and informal perpetuity as they go from humorous heartbreak to sober self-realization in a plot that accommodates both impulse and pre-meditated thought in a mix that is engaging endearing and fairly original in spite of the derivative echoes.

While the supporting cast of friends are both real and tangible, at the core of this romantic musical are Jai (Imran Khan) and Aditi (Genelia) who are "best friends" in the coolest sense of the term. Bantering bum-chums at the surface but sharing a much deeper bond underneath, all their friends can see that the twosome is made for each other. But they can't.

It's an exceedingly old formula for a romantic comedy given a fresh new spin by a storyteller who picks on moments from ordinary lives and converts them into a celebration of life and love.

Old songs(R.D Burman mainly) and new original music(A.R Rahman) coalesce with the minimum fuss while Jai and Aditi's love story goes through several turns and twists until they arrive at that traditional end-game for romantic films: the grand reunion at the airport seconds before the girl is scheduled to take off for good.

The flurry is charming, though a little to self-consciously designed at times. Peep underneath. And you see the narration covering a lot of familiar ground. The freshness lies in the way the characters respond to the familiar material often exceeding the domain created by the script.

Every actor pitches in at just the right volume of vivacity. There are stand-out supporting performances by Naseeruddin Shah(playing the hero Jai's dead father in a portrait), Ratna Pathak(superbly skilled as Jai's mom), Paresh Rawal( flawless as a boorish cop) and Arbaaz and Sohail Khan(as a couple of outlandish cowboys they supplant the believably urbane love story with a touch of the surreal).

Then there's Manjari Phadnis as the hero's could-be love interest. Living in perpetual denial she thinks her embittered parents (Rajat Kapoor and Kitu Gidwani) actually love each other under the acrimony.

The characters never claim to be extraordinary in their desires. It's their ordinary dreams and down-to-earth desires which give the narration a spirited spin.

And then there are protagonists. Not just young Imran Khan and Genelia. But their friends. Each one played as though the wall dividing the actor from the characters had disappeared.

While Genelia is a natural in most scenes, Imran's unassuming boy-next-door personality lends itself with picture-perfect precision to the mood and tenor of the narration. Here's a young actor who has a long innings ahead. He doesn't think before he acts. It's not about how deep he goes into his character. It's more about how much at home he's occupying the space provided by the script.

The same is true of the other actors. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na exudes an urbane cool. It's not really trying to be anything. It doesn't have an earth shattering message for the masses.

What it has is an honest story about a bunch of credible characters told in a fashion that's casually trendy and warm. Manoj Lobo's cinematography and Shan Mohamed's editing assist the director in making this a film that you'd probably like to watch again just to see if you missed out a vital bit of the characters' lives while they were looking for love.