Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Alaya F, Tabu, Kumal Kemmu, Anil KapoorDirector: Nitin Kakkar
With a rom-com repertoire that stretches across decades, Saif Ali Khan embodies the Peter Pan who never grew up. And now once again, the specious Indian rom-com hero returns in Jawaani Jaaneman, much to the delight of those who have watched him charm his way through movies like Dil Chahta Hai, Hum Tum, Salaam Namaste, Kal Ho Na Ho, Love Aaj Kal amongst many others.
At a time when Hindi cinema has discovered a fount of stories in issues surrounding male vanity, virility or sexuality be it Bala, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan among others, exploring the Peter Pan syndrome among movin’-n-shakin’ urbane Indian males may not entirely be breaking new ground. But Jazz from Jawaani Jaaneman, a playboy past his prime yet not looking to settle down for a happily-ever-after is a bit of a novelty. He’s a basic guy who likes the good life—lives in a swanky house and parties like there’s no tomorrow. His nightlife adventures early in the film clearly establish him as a man who enjoys playing the field relentlessly. Things are going swimmingly well until his past catches up and he discovers a love child (Alaya F) who makes her way into his life. Writers Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal’s script relies heavily on Khan’s dependable, good ol’, somewhat been-there-seen-that suave. I wish they had given the actor more new material to work with, in the early parts of the film.
It’s only when the script introduces Jazz (Saif Ali Khan) to his young progeny (Alaya F) that we see the charm shine, effectively playing off the ensuing awkward situations. For the most part the film maintains the breezy, light-hearted tone rather fortuitously. As a matter of good judgment, this one steers away from the shaadi and suchlike matrimonial proceedings sticking firmly to the father-daughter track and creating much mirth and humour in the bargain.
The cast, especially Tabu as the hippie mother is delightful, and Farida Jalal after a hiatus reminds us of why she remains a favourite mother on screen. Kumud Mishra, like always is a dependable presence, filling in the slots with utmost sincerity. And Kubra Sait as a woman who wants a mature relationship instead of pointless flings shows much promise and here’s hoping to see her more often, in meatier roles. As for Saif Ali Khan as the desi playboy in London- he slips into the skin of the character with great ease and owns it as only he can. Jazz, although an urbane character is not exactly the debonair player we are accustomed to seeing Khan as he rarely misses a beat here.
However, in all fairness the highest praise must be reserved for Alaya F. The newbie holds her own confidently and displays a natural charm, which with experience could prove to be a certain advantage. A combination of sass and innocence, she is certainly a talent to watch out for.
As for the film’s director Nitin Kakkar (best known for Filmistaan), Jawaani Jaaneman is likely to catapult him into the league of directors who can handle big star cast films catering to a wider mainstream audience.
Given its Modern Familyesque tilt, Kakkar’s latest offering seems poised to score well with the old-in-the-tooth as well as the young at heart city slickers!
Rating: 3/5 stars