Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jashnn+Dekh Re Dekh 


Jashnn is the kind of film Mahesh Bhatt used to make… intense, with characters fighting their demons, and so on. After two Hollywood-inspired thrillers (The Killer, The Train) Raksha Mistry and Hasnain S. Hyderabadwala have, to their credit, dared to made a film on a story that is not in vogue right now, when fluff is in.

The story (Shagufta Rafique) is vaguely reminiscent of Mere Mehboob, in which a young man falls in love with the sister of the man who is the married lover of his own sister. Akash (Adhyayan Suman), an aspiring singer with a band of boys, lives with his sister Nisha (Shahana Goswani), who has a fractious relationship with the married Aman (Humayun Saeed). The man treats her life dirt, but also keeps her in style, so she and Akash suffer humiliation and put up with his nastiness.

Then Akash falls in love with Sara (Anjana Sukhani), who, in one of those far-fetched film coincidences, turns out to be Aman’s sister. In films, people don’t even seem to ask each other’s surnames, when they fall in love! Also it’s a bit hard to sympathise with the “penniless” brother-sister duo when they live in a large bungalow with a pool; or feel for the struggling band, when they function out of a spiffy sea-front cottage. Detailing is not a strong point here, obviously.

Not at all pleased with this turn of events, Aman goes all out to crush Nisha and Akash when Sara leaves home to move in with her boyfriend. He makes sure Akash gets no breaks, despite his talent, and finally gives up in frustration. “Don’t kill him, kill his dream,” as Akash’s sidekick advises.

In the exaggerated downfall that can be expected in films, Akash doesn’t get a normal job, but works as a janitor in a hotel, while Nisha struggles to survive.

It is finally about Akash’s coming to terms with his own strength, and winning against all odds. There is an strange charm to this underdog story, even though it is so predictable. The climax is a real tear-jerker, redeemed by the amazing performance by newbie Humayun Saeed, who has talent as well as tremendous screen presence.

Adhyayan Suman is a surprise—he does remarkably well in a soppy role that is so clearly out of his range of experience – which young actor is required to weep and moan so much these days and still make his character likeable. The two leading ladies, unfortunately, are not up to the mark.

Jashnn may not be the kind of film you would be tempted to rush for, but it’s not unwatchable… in fact, the music (Toshi-Sharib Sabri) lifts it up by several notches.

Dekh Re Dekh

TV serials generally have little recall value, but Dekh Bhai Dekh was one of the popular ones that is still remembered by regular viewers. This little film by Rahat Kazmi tried to ride on the success of the serial (which is reportedly going to be turned into a film) and ended up with having to change the title to Dekh Re Dekh.

Not sure whether it wants to be a comedy or a thriller, the film ends up being neither—though it had an idea about losers trying to win hidden away somewhere; with better actors and maybe a better writer, it might just have turned out to be a decent home viewing type of movie.

Village girl Babli (Gracy Singh) is thrown out of her in-laws’ home after a misunderstanding. She needs to make a new life for herself for which she has no money. She makes a supposedly foolproof plan to steal at her husband’s house, and ropes in other like her in need of cash-- the unemployed Shyam (Siddharth Koirala) aspiring politician Yadavji (Raguveer Yadav) and a thief Charan (Vijay Raaz).

They manage, after much song and dance, to steal a small idol, and escape. They are given shelter in a large, eerie haveli by a ghostly old woman (uncredited) and when they realize that the idol isn’t worth much, decide to kill the old woman and rob her too.

In spirit it’s like Barah Aana, which also seemed to say, necessity is the parent of crime, but this one’s just silly, amateurish, badly acted and interrupted with too many songs. There’s not much to ‘dekho’ here, except, maybe, the really beautiful village location.


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