Director Nitin Kakkar brings to us a semi-quirky father-daughter bonding drama starring our beloved Saif Ali Khan, while launching a much-anticipated young talent, Alaya Furniturewala. But alas, who wants to watch a truckload of talent without a solid story to tell?
Rating – 2 / 5 ⭐⭐
Nitin Kakkar’s Jawaani Jaaneman can be compared to a stunning piece of fake jewelry – it might be sure to please your eyes but fails to strike any chords of your heart. It sucks cause I was actually excited for this one, especially given a rather unexciting and cinematically dull January that we had, I was majorly rooting for this Saif-starrer’s success, so much so that instead of quietly accepting the film’s intellectual failure, I spent quite a bit of time convincing myself to look at the positives (only found one), after which, I accepted Bollywood’s fate and booked my tickets for Panga.
The film opens with our 40-year old single tiger Jaswinder Singh aka ‘Jazz’ (Saif Ali Khan) scanning the dancefloor of a club, looking for his catch for the night, with a horribly made remake of Ole Ole playing in the back. Jazz’s life revolves around partying like a wild animal and hooking up with young girls every night, until one day, a 20-year old Tia (Alaya F) shows up in front of him, claiming that there is a 33.33% chance that he is her father. Shocked by the positive results of the paternity test (which also reveals Tia’s pregnant state), what follows is a cascade of madness as a knocked up Tia tries to form a relation with her selfish, uninterested long-lost father.
Jawaani Jaaneman’s abrupt story structure and lack of flow is evident right from the start – although director Nitin Kakkar doesn’t waste too much time in setting up the plot, the individual scenes of the film fail to tie together gracefully, resulting in an overall patchy, poorly edited riot. Despite presenting quite a quirky, unique storyline about father-daughter shenanigans, no real content is otherwise laid on the table – the film makes no attempt to grab onto its audience’s attention or maintain it for longer than a solid 3-4 minutes. Flooded with abrupt “cut-tos” and subpar scene-to-scene transitions, Jawaani Jaaneman was difficult to enjoy and more importantly, difficult to give a damn about.
“Kya main lagta hoon unhappy married types ka? Family na aadmi ko chomu bana deti hai!”
It was quite heartbreaking watching the oh-so-loveable Saif Ali Khan try back-breakingly hard to induce laughter in his audience, especially when the film’s comic element went only as far as calling sex “sambhog” and had nothing more to offer than a few LOL moments thrown in randomly (all of which were shown in the trailer). It was essentially one of those go-with-the-flow type of movies where you really have to persuade yourself that it will get better even when…sadly, it doesn’t. What Jawaani Jaaneman also lacked was some concrete character development of the protagonists to set up the stage for what’s to come – no one seemed to have a legitimate personality to be affiliated with and pretty much did their own thing in the story’s limits…well, except our in-house charsi Tabu, who plays the role of Tia’s mother and whose references to Jazz’s “negative energy” formed most of the humour in this otherwise high & dry film.
But whatever said and done, a few people do deserve a special mention – to start with, after watching back-to-back headaches like Ananya Pandey, Tara Sutaria and Janhvi Kapoor try their hand in the acting world, I was refreshingly impressed to watch Alaya F put on such a genuine, earnest performance. An admirable character like Tia definitely worked in her favor and she attempted to embody the soul of her role with utmost elegance and a sporty spirit. Kumud Mishra, playing the role of Jaswinder’s elder brother Dimpy was yet another breath of fresh air – in spite of having relatively fewer dialogues, Kumud Mishra fulfilled his character’s purpose thoroughly and was able to leave a lasting impact on the audience. Lastly, we had Kubbra Sait as Jaswinder’s hairstylist plus eventual love interest who, although quite pointless, symbolized Jaswinder’s transition to a responsible, loving father and did immense justice to her role.
Jawaani Jaaneman definitely had more shortcomings than expected, however, a scene that stayed with me was the way Saif conveys to Alaya that being a lone wolf, he had never been in love and she, his daughter, was his “pehla pyaar”. A passable watch but not the worst thing in the world it you do find yourself in the theatres.
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