Cast: Pulkit Samrat, Yami gautam, Gulshan Devaiah
Director: Vivek Agnihotri
Between choice and destiny, which would you pick? Is it really a choice one makes if destined for something?
And such is the subtext to this sappy, clichéd love story of an army officer who believes he’s made a choice, falls in love but appears buffeted by destiny’s changing winds.
Captain Jahan Bakshi (Pulkit Samrat) finds Suhaani (Yami Gautam) swimming in a restricted zone and brings her to his camp. Friendly banters turn into passionate letters and the couple decides to marry after singing four songs in 40 minutes. But, they have to match up to Bollywood standards, and thus arises a series of problems. Can the two ultimately write a love story that’s not inspired by Hindi cinema?
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Junooniyat, which means obsession in Urdu, is mostly about the clichés: Army officers holding beer mugs, Punjabi bubbly girl, wedding songs, NRI cousins, cheesy dialogues, lassi and mustard fields, and so on. The onus is entirely on poetry-loving Bakshi to make it look convincing. However, Vivek Agnihotri’s credit says ‘direction and poetry’, so you know who to applaud for the syrupy one-liners.
The usual ‘boy meets girl’ story takes a long time to happen, and that gives the audience enough time to anticipate the next twist. Average writing fails to add depth to characters, making the actors seem more like fillings in an annoying tooth cavity.
A certain indecisiveness further undermines the story. There’s conflict, but it’s very fickle in nature. The tempo stalls and by the time momentum picks up, it’s time for another song. The sense of urgency fizzles out when it’s needed the most. And the comic breathers jump out of the narrative, making the whole plot appear patchy, incoherent and unromantic.
Pulkit Samrat tries, but never gets a chance to break free from the clutches of Bollywood’s stereotype of an army guy. Yami Gautam could’ve done better, but Junooniyat is more of a musical than a solid relationship drama. Confined to look good, dance well and act like typical Punjabi girls do in films, she fades.
Gulshan Devaiah and the cinematography by Attar Singh Saini are the two good things going for the movie, but do little to salvage the bad script. Some melodious tunes may entice you, but that’s not enough to keep you hooked for the two-hours and odd saga.