Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - Review
Dir: Ayan Mukerji
Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani delivers what it promises – entertainment that refrains from being idiotic. Not nearly as charming or honest as Wake Up Sid, YJHD is the kind of film you wouldn’t mind watching despite the fact that there isn’t much in the film that is memorable. With a cast that will win your heart and music that’ll play on loop in your head for a while after, the film is fun but rarely much more.
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*I am out on a vacation. Pradeep has been kind enough to review the film for wogma. So here goes...
In 2009, a young 26-year old’s debut directorial film won hearts because of how fresh and real it seemed (by ‘commercial film’ standards, of course) especially considering that it came from Dharma, who’ve never truly been associated with anything ‘real’ as far as cinema is concerned. Wake Up Sid has since gone on to become a bit of a cult film; its male lead going on to achieve superstardom not just on the strength of his genes, but also because of some terrific performances that have only gotten better with every passing film.
Naturally, expectations from Ayan Mukerji’s sophomore effort, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, were bound to pile up. I, for one, corrected my expectations after the first promo was out. It seemed that Mukerji decided to forsake some of the freshness and realism from Wake Up Sid in favour of a bit more, if I may say it, ‘masala’. That initial bit of correction helped me immensely, because my instinct about the film turned out to be quite close to how the film is.
Stuck in limbo between the realism (or as much of it one can spike into a ‘commercial’ film) and the usual larger-than-life-ness one usually associates with Karan Johar (think Student Of The Year), Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) is an easy, fun-enough watch for the most, largely due to its continuously vibrant feel, a highly competent lead and supporting cast, and its music, which straddles peppiness and flavor with ease.
Episodic in nature, YJHD introduces us to Naina, a young medical student who is in a state of flux because she feels she just doesn’t get to have enough fun. A chance encounter with an old school friend makes Naina cross paths with Kabir Thapar, or Bunny, as he is known by his friends. Despite being poles apart, their attraction to each other has ramifications in both their lives, not to mention the lives of their friends Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur) and Aditi (Kalki Koechlin).
What surprised me about the film is how it is as much about friendships and relationships that go beyond romance, as it is about the romance between its (quite enchanting) lead pair. Quite like Wake Up Side which had the flavor of romance but was essentially a coming-of-age film, this film too has romance as one of its pillars, but not the only one. It also is a story of strong bonds of friendship that transcend time and space, about the compromises that one has to make in order to make any relationship work, romantic or otherwise. Not surprisingly, it is also, yet again, a coming-of-age tale, something that seems to be a pet subject for Ayan Mukerji.
Expectedly, YJHD falters more than once. Every time the film pauses for a moment of genuine, real insight embellished by some cheesy-but-breezy dialogue (penned by Hussain Dalal), you see a spark of what was seen in Wake Up Side. Soon after, though, the film goes back to farfetched situations that would have seemed more at home in a typical film helmed by, say, Karan Johar. This continuous oscillation between the insightful and the ‘filmy’ takes its toll on the film more than one would have liked.
Another area where the film really should have been worked on more was in the treatment of the characters. Despite wearing their chalk-and-cheese character sketches on their sleeves, Naina and Bunny in particular often act or react completely out of character. So, while their overall trajectory is always clear to you, their behaviour and traits will often make you wonder why exactly they are like that, when they are actually not supposed to be like that.
Despite some rather serious issues in the writing, then, what really makes the film race to the finish line are the performances. Starting from Farookh Sheikh and Tanvi Azmi who barely have a couple of scenes, all the way up to Ranbir Kapoor who expectedly dominates proceedings in terms of screen time, every single actor is worth their weight in gold, as far as this particular film is concerned. The surprise packages are Kalki Koechlin, Aditya Roy Kapur and Deepika Padukone, who infuse such genuine charm, likeability, believability and credibility into their characters that you can’t help but really love them.
Ranbir’s performance needs to be considered in context. After two diametrically opposite yet equally intense performances, one could be fooled into thinking that Ranbir could easily ace this character and that he deserves more challenging roles. Yes, YJHD doesn’t challenge him like some of his earlier films, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t invest his all into it. Here is someone who gives every character everything he has, and Ranbir gives Bunny the life that he deserves. Also, one can’t but help notice the terrific chemistry of the Ranbir – Deepika pair. They look like they are meant to be together on screen, and the optimist in me believes that they have the potential to become the SRK – Kajol of their generation.
Despite some highly contrived song situations, the music of the film, by Pritam, holds its own. Every song is a bit of an audio-visual treat; even the one with Madhuri Dixit in it, despite the terribly underwhelming situation it arrives in. Overall, the songs do play a major role in keeping things going. Badtameez Dil and Balam Pichkari are terrific because of Ranbir and Deepika respectively, while Kabira and Ilahi add soul and texture to the soundtrack.
With a run time of 2 hours and 45 minutes and the fact that the film doesn’t really have anything new to say, the film isn’t likely to be universally loved. Still, it is the kind of film you wouldn’t attempt to find too much fault with, because of how it stays clear of getting annoying or overly predictable, even if you largely know which direction you are being led to. Not a particularly bad way to spend a few hours of your life, though I’d take Wake Up Sid over YJHD any day of the week, and twice on a Friday.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
- Violence: A scuffle or two, but nothing really violent
- Language: Fairly Clean
- Nudity & Sexual content: One kiss, and Deepika’s ample mid-riff shown often
- Concept: A coming-of-age story of four friends
- General Look and Feel: Vibrant, youthful and energetic
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Dharma Productions, UTV Motion Pictures
- Producer: Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar
- Director: Ayan Mukerji
- Lead Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Madhuri Dixit
- Supporting Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Poorna Jagannathan, Navin Kaushik, Madhuri Dixit
- Story: Ayan Mukerji
- Screenplay: Ayan Mukerji
- Dialogues: Hussain Dalal
- Cinematography: Manish Malhotra , Samidha, V Manikandan
- Editor: Akiv Ali
- Choreography: Remo D'Souza, Ganesh Acharya
- Music Director: Pritam Chakraborty
- Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya, Kumaar
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 160 minutes
- Reviewer: Pradeep Menon
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Comedy, Relationships, Romance
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - Trailer
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