Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From Aamir, By Aamir, Aamir

Jaane Tu Yaa Jaane Naa

A slick, youthful entertainer(produced by Aamir Khan) that once again proves the adage that 'screenplay is everything' by taking a familiar story of friends-turned-lovers and packaging it as a fun and fresh film. The construction of the screenplay as conversations among friends bookending flashback segments works fantastically by making chronological jumps seem less abrupt, allowing for minor narratives that serve as good breaks and announcing the intermission in a very clever way. The main story has traces of Priyaadha Varam Vendum and follows a familiar route but sidetracks like the one about Imran proving his heritage keep the overall film from feeling too familiar. The cast too helps in making stock characters in romantic films work. Imran reminds us of his famous uncle a lot with an equally expressive face and has no trouble making the sweet and likeable character work. Genelia tones down her Santhosh Subramaniam act but does nothing to stand out. The actress playing Meghna catches our eye in a complicated role though. Inspite of being predestined to be a loser in the story, her behavior with Imran and her attitude towards her dysfunctional family make her quite interesting. The actor playing Sushant behaves exactly like a predestined loser though and is a sore point among the otherwise well-etched characters. Naseerudin Shah is hilarious in a well-imagined role. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi... and Pappu Can't Dance... are awesome and superbly choreographed too.


Taare Zameen Par

A solidly involving, emotional film from Aamir Khan that flings away every excuse used by filmmakers who churn out so-called masala entertainers and still - or maybe because of it - works. A sensitive film about a dyslexic child and the teacher who helps him, it portrays the issue very well and with the help of some innovative graphics and Darsheel's expressive face, we know the exact problem long before it is spelled out. Inspite of revolving around a child who is afflicted, the film never seems exploitative. Darsheel is shouted at by his father and his teachers but these sequences are balanced with sequences where he is simply having fun and displays the streaks of stubborness and rebelliousness that are present in all kids his age. The result is that the emotional sequences - like the scene where he protests being sent off to boarding school - are really powerful. The focus shifts to Aamir once he makes an appearance but it feels natural. While Darsheel does have an affliction, the more important problem he faces is the lack of understanding from others and that is what Aamir dispels first. The sequences where he actually works with Darsheel are familiar but uplifting nevertheless. The climax is predictable but who cares?! The moment when we see a particular painting is just exhilarating. The movie signs off with a perfect visual shot that pretty much captures the essense of the entire story.



A thriller but not your garden-variety one. While we usually see the protagonist chase the bad guys, here its the hero Rajeev who is led on a chase. Since he doesn't know what he is chasing or why either, he earns our sympathy with his plight. His encounter with the customs officer at the airport after he lands gives us a loud hint about the movie's subject but throughout the film, we don't know more than Rajeev. We are as much in the dark as him and this suspense keeps us involved in the proceedings. Why the villain chooses Rajeev isn't very clear even after the objective of the chase is cleared but it paves the way for a very powerful and emotional end to the film.


At 11:39 PM, Blogger D.E.V said...

JTYJN" reminded me of another tamil movie that is Radha mohan's "Alagiya theeya" which had the same structure of supporting characters narrating the whole film . But the main story is inspired by "priyadha varum vendhum" which was remade in hindi as "Tujhe Meri kasam" and incidently that was also Genelia's first film as well, way before "boys" came out...

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many thanks Skanda, I want to mention the same point. The screenplay reminds us of Azhagiye Theeye. With due respect to JTYJN, I feel the screenplay of Azhagiye Theeye was better and gripping. It can never get boring for you, thgouh JTYJN gets at times (second half)

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Though a frame by frame freemake of the Fillipino thriller "Cavete", I thought Amir was fantastic. You could almost smell the back alleys of Mumbai's slums! Much of the tension generated by the film is psychological and that's a rarity in Indian films.

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad that at least in one web site I see that JTJU is "inspired" from Priyada varam vendum.

The Direcotr talked as though the film's idea is all his and his script is the winner and conveniently forgot to mention a south indian movie!

Thank you Balaji - I was trying to explain to my North Indian friends that it is not an original movie and got tired finally.

But Tara Zameen Par is the best movie I have seen so far this year. Good review

At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I faced the same problem with movies like Saathiya, Bhool Bulaiya or other such remkaes. My north indian friends talk great about Saathiya, its sad that they have not seen Alaipayuthe or even Manichitrathazhu to compare it with Bhool Bhulaiya.

Of late, I notice news going around the media about the 'new hair cut' of Aamir in Ghajini....Whats new about it? Again sad, they hardly know anything about Murugadoss, who I am sure will be sidelined during the promos or pro-release

We as movie lovers, usually happen to know what happens on both sides of the movie industry, but why is it that Bollywood is recognised as the face of Indian movie industry?

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With movies like these Hindi cinema is surging ahead. Whereas we put up with crap like Sathyam on a weekly basis.

At 9:33 AM, Blogger Sudha said...

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At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Why the villain chooses Rajeev isn't very clear even after the objective of the chase is cleared.."

Spoiler alert.....

I thought this was clearly established. The villain thinks Aamir is a typical well to do Indian Muslim who has forgotten the "cause" (Jihad) and has lost touch with the common Indian Muslim. (He cites Aamir's Hindu girl friend as an evidence). All his devious machinations were to expose Aamir to the plight of the not so fortunate Muslims who live in squalor and poverty. By subjecting Aamir to this he hopes to convince him of how shabbily India treats its Muslims and why what Aamir is asked to do is not that bad given this context.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

skanda, my wife said the same thing but for some reason I don't remember that structure from 'azhagiya theeye' :)

rags, yeah there were a few times, when imran and genelia r sad, when the film felt a bit dragging :)

anon, completely agree. the music, cinematography and many other aspects together worked to build up tension :)

anon, PVV was the 1st movie i thot of within a few mins of the film :)

vijay, hear, hear :)

anon, yeah i understood the machinations as long as rajeev was led on the chase. but the villain's final task would've erased what he'd built up in rajeev's mind. not a big complaint. just what i felt :)

At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

balaji, if aamir had bought into the j*hadi mindset he would have been agitated enough to perform the task required by the villain and vanish. In other words become a sold*er in arms.
I thought that was quite logically established.
In the end, Aamir, who has been led all along, takes the lead and makes a decision. All along, in fear for his family, he just went where he was led without taking a decision. There is even a wordplay on his name - that Aamir means leader and the villain taunts that even after seeing his fellow community's suffering, he is unable to live up to his name - because Aamir says that having seen it all, he still feels that it is not his war. Ironically, he does live upt o his name but in ways that the villain would hardly have imagined. I thought that was a neat twist. Also, the original of this, Cavite, had a protagonist who was chosen because his father had inadvertently or deliberately hudt the terrorist group in matters of money. So, the director has definitely taken the material and woven a different tale.

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if JTYNJ is inspired by Priyada varam vendum, it is a remake of Malayalam movie Niram


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