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Review: Jashnn

The Bhatt production cycle fits together a few nuts and bolts to a basic formula. This one needlessly deviates from the successful assembly line, says Mayank Shekhar.

movie reviews Updated: Jul 18, 2009 13:51 IST
Mayank Shekhar

Cast: Adhyayan Suman, Anjana Sukhani, Shahana Goswami
Direction: Raksha Mistry, Hasnain Hyderabadwala
Rating: *

This film’s tagline, many point-sizes higher than the title in the poster, reads, “For every nobody who wants to be a somebody.” The opening shot belongs to a newbie, half-shaven figurine, strumming a guitar, imagining a packed stadium in front of him.

On roughly every scene, the makers occasion the boy a chance to show off his histrionics. He doesn't disappoint. He is hysterical.

Taking this in, at some point, every ‘aspirational’ caveman in the audience is likely to fancy his chance at fame, or rightly wonder, “What’s he got that I ain’t got!”

This serves the producer’s purpose alright. Their other poster-hero is a gentleman called Emraan Hashmi. He became the envy of the ugly Indian male. While they looked the same, he got the girls. “If he can be a hero, so am I,” most would swagger off theatres wondering. Delusion is cinema.

The Bhatt production cycle fits together a few nuts and bolts to a basic formula. This one needlessly deviates from the successful assembly line. Sure, the music is essentially pop-Sufi, or Pakistani pop-rock: guitar riffs, with heavy drumming in the background. Budgets are low, though tightened up here to the point of making it all supremely tacky.

Unlike the Bhatts’ recent hits, the premise of this film is neither clear nor newsy: It doesn’t concern the porn industry, breaking-news, match-fixing, or the film world. Unfortunately the plot isn’t quite borrowed either. So this film is largely original. And that is a big problem.

It’s a love-story, an area where conflict isn’t easy to find in the modern world: rich-poor, or inter-clan romance can’t do anymore; nuclear parents will look like fools objecting to a marriage still.

The writers instead place an obstacle around the leading man with every reel, hoping to sustain your interest until the end. Of course that’s not going to happen. Here’s the first crisis: The hero’s battered sister (Shahana Goswami) lives off a wicked businessman, who humiliates her in public, and abuses her in private. She takes it all, being his mistress, just to pay off the bills, only he can afford. The hero (Adhyayan Suman) himself is in love with a girl (Anjana Sukhani) who’s that maniac bizman’s sister. Never the two should meet.

So they leave their homes, and move into a swanky, sea-facing garage, where the hero pursues his music dreams. The band rehearses in the room. They all look hip, in the way Rock On made popular. They punctuate their Hindi with English. This is all about SMS love. Yet, beneath that exterior, it’s all about the edgy 80s.

The couple’s eyes had barely met at a coffee shop; they’d just about met for lunch; and right then, they go, “Main tumhare bina nahin jee sakti” (I’ll die without you). Another jilted lover by the side shouts out, “Tu mere aur Sara ke beech mein mat aa; I’ll kill for her, die for her” (Don’t come between me and the girl). The girl learns about her lover’s sister’s ways, and says, “Zindagi ka nanga sach jaankar, kya hum pyar karnewalon ko chhod dete hain?” (Do we stop loving those whose naked truths we’ve just learnt? You can see I’m loving the translations). Meanwhile every few minutes, the villain screams, “Tum mere dushman, you are my enemy; I’ll finish you off.” By the way, have you heard of a cult-director called Kanti Shah? Oh he’s the guy to look up.