8 Jun 2013

Movie Review: Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani : Contradicting, Glitzy Escape...

Caution: Long sentences dot this review, it is advised for the safety of your eyes to blink prolifically.

In his second directorial venture, Ayan Mukerji again casts Ranbir Kapoor as the man-boy who wants to live life on his own terms, just as Sid in Mukherji's remarkable coming of age debut Wake Up Sid (2009). The central, core thing that worked for Wake Up Sid was its deft, non-judgmental documentation of a carefree, aimless protagonist finding his purpose, and incidentally - love. 

Storyline
Manali and Udaipur are two settings set eight years apart in the story. Childhood friends, now collegians - Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor), Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) and Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur) take off on a trek to Manali. Bunny is a rebel, restless to travel to every corner of the world. An adventurer in frenzy, he is also against marrying and other societal norms. Avi and Aditi are scratchily sketched - He gambles and keeps losing money. Aditi is spontaneous, in love with Avi, a one-sided affair.

A chance meeting of Aditi with her school classmate, the studious, bespectacled, bored medical student Naina (Deepika Padukone) leads to the latter inexplicably joining the trio on a dream Hindi film train ride complete with skimpily dressed dumb beautiful women, even as Bunny draws Naina out of her shell. Post the Manali trek, Naina falls for Bunny and in total filmy style, is predictably interrupted in mid-confess by the news of Bunny's impending departure to an overseas travel job. There are several unexplained bits in between.

Eight years pass by, we only know what Bunny was really up to. Apparently Avi has suffered heavy losses in business, has taken to drinking. Aditi is a bride who has wisely accepted her groom (Kunal Roy Kapur). It is mildly suggested that Naina is a doctor. The foursome meet again at Aditi's wedding, and the film stretches itself to a comfortable, sofa cushion ending, a far cry from the sparks of rebellion it displayed in Ranbir's character. 

On convenience  
We know where the path will lead when: 
  • The main characters escape unscathed after a street squabble, the menace and danger is totally absent. 
  • Naina loses her spectacles at the holi song and never gets them back.Obviously she was carrying the lens case all along or her diet had drastically empowered her vision.  
  • Major letdown: Travel freak, individualistic Bunny no longer wants to be so even though he makes up with his step-mother (Tanvi Azmi) and remembers his late father's (Farooq Sheikh) advice - Live your dream?! He actions contradict his character from then on that it has the feel of our sweetest, impossible dreams.
  • The zest in the performances prop up the film. All four principal characters give it all, Ranbir is endearing in an overcooked role (Hero/Human); Deepika has come a long way since her raw, confident turn in Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008). Aditya has the makings of a fine actor and Kalki doesn't let the underdeveloped part assail her.
  • Crux of it: Too much time is spent to get the message across and then rub the blackboard clean and tell us - Get back to your girl, damn your dream!
  • The bright, glitzy lighting, perfect clothing, ad-placements and the lip-sync songs doesn't add up to the film. If not anything, we have surely had enough of characters' gruff voices suddenly transforming into melodious ventriloquism. Surely, the songs can play in the background, unless the protagonists are portraying musicians.    

In totality
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani starts off on an adventurous trek with the safety of cliches for company; takes occasional, enjoyable diversions, but then returns to the comfort of the accepted and the tested. Not a bad first time watch, especially for the performances and carefree atmosphere. The promise doesn't hold, that's all. 

She said it...
Somewhere beyond two hours running time, the film briefly comes to its own.As the sun sets on Udaipur and Bunny is eager to not miss another destination on his checklist, Naina observes calmly, "You can't get to every place in this world, something will always be left out...so why not be here at this moment and enjoy it."

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