Rating : 4/5
Genre : Romance
Year : 2013
Running time : 2 hours 40 minutes
Director : Ayan Mukherji
Cast : Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Kalki Koechlin, Aditya Roy Kapur, Tanvi Azmi, Farooq Sheikh, Dolly Ahluwalia, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Evelyn Sharma, Poorna Jagannathan
Kid rating : PG-13
I’d read of some disparaging reviews for this movie, but fikar not, fellow movie lovers, Ayan Mukherji hasn’t lost his touch. I quite liked “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD)” – it’s an engaging mix of Karan Johar style masala and the finer sensibilities of Ayan Mukherji’s thoughtful genre.
Karan Thapar or Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) is a rakish brat. Lazy, irreverent, adventure-seeking Bunny wants to live life to the full, experiencing different things, travelling to different places. He wants the keema-pao, the hakka noodle; he doesn’t want to be stuck eating dal-chawal for the rest of his life. His two best friends Avinash (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) are with him for now, as is “scholar” Naina (Deepika Padukone), the academically inclined shrinking violet who has a thing for Bunny. But things get distant when Bunny leaves India to study abroad. Eight years later when they meet at Aditi’s wedding, they all have moved on, and it seems like the ties of friendship have thinned with time . . .
Like “Dil Chahta Hai” or “Zindagi na milegi dobara” YJHD also spins us a tale of friendship among the affluent classes; fast friends go their separate ways, will their friendship ever be the same? This not a desperate struggle for roti, kapda aur makaan (e.g.; Kai Po Che), but one of changing relationships among the jet-set. The first half of the film is pure fun and laughter, the hijinks of the youthful set against the backdrop of slow-clad Manali. The second half is located in Jaipur, courtesy Aditi’s big fat Indian destination wedding. There is thus great scope for musical numbers, and there are many – energy-filled rambunctious songs (“Balam Pichkari”) in the first half and catchy wedding-inspired ones (“Badtameez Dil”, “Dilliwali Girlfriend”) in the second.
This film wins big because of its excellent cast. Ranbir can play a cad-ish rake effortlessly, and does. Bunny is a charming rogue, leaving goody-two-shoes Naina totally besotted. Ranbir acts marvelously, and dances just as well. Deepika delivers an outstanding understated performance; just a hint of nervousness as young Naina, and a mature confidence as a grown-up doctor. Kalki is gorgeous as fearless, brash Aditi, and Aditya Roy Chaudhary is impressive as Avi – I predict impending success for this fine actor.
The younger crowd is aided by the veterans. Tanve Azmi shines in her small role and Dolly Ahluwalia (of Vicky Donor fame) plays Naina’s pushy Punjabi mom. (Squint-eyed?) Farooque Sheikh is a pleasure to watch as Bunny’s dad. He is the epitome of the loving parent, sad to see his child leave, but happy for him to follow his dreams. The emotional father-son sequence, as Bunny gets ready to leave India, is one of the most finely crafted scenes I’ve seen in recent times; I can still feel the lump in my throat.
As expected from a Karan Johar production, this is a glitzy, colorful film. Director Ayan Mukerji proves he can mix masala with substance. He brings heft to the emotional underpinnings of the story, etching out his characters carefully. The four friends are very different, but likeable. Badtameez Bunny charms us, and we can’t help but feel for mousy, hesitant Naina. Aditi is a steadfast friend while Avi is loyal and faithful. The emotions in the film are fed with an attention to detail, be it Bunny’s loving relationship with his father, Aditi’s surprising feelings for her goofy fiancé, or the playful banter between friends. We root for them, because they might appear to be shiny, happy people, but in the end, they are people like us.
“Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani” is almost 3 hours long. Towards the end, this feels stretched and could have been made shorter by at least 30-45 minutes. Regardless, this is a wonderful, feel-good film, and one to be watched in the theatres. Soon!
Kidwise : This film contains some suggestive dialog, some kissing, ladies in skimpy (but not vulgar) clothing, and fleeting scenes shot featuring red-light areas. The tone of the film is flirty but harmless, although better suited to the PG-13 crowd.