Saturday, June 01, 2013

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani 

Dal Chawal Love

As a weekend flick with friends, or a date film, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is fine. It’s a Karan Johar production, so everyone wears trendy clothes, everyone lives in homes with great decor, the locations are luscious looking. It’s light, has excellent songs, witty lines—Ranbir Kapoor uttering those witty lines—what’s not to like?

But a movie about today’s youth it is not, because the version of youth is very Bollywood, and Bollywood of a certain kind, where romantic melodrama is all there is to being young—after partying, getting drunk, getting laid, and other such 'significant' matters. This is the Bollywood which has one of its denizens file a PIL for lowering the age of drinking, the rest of the world’s problems are not even a blip on their radar. For this Bollywood, the height of nerdiness is wearing glasses and swotting. And a sign of breaking free is chucking those glasses, picking up a bottle of booze and dancing with abandon. Please note, the girls wear short shorts and tees, or ethic outfits with tiny, skin-revealing cholis, while the guys are always modestly covered up. 
Find a few teenagers who would say that the life that Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) chooses in the film is not what they all aspire to, and maybe Bollywood could be said to have got something right.  So, this Bunny wants to follow his dreams—travel, have adventures, have casual affairs, forget about old friends and family. As opposed to what?  His friend Avi (Aditya Roy Kapoor), who turns into an alcoholic loser, the feisty Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) who seems to settle for a marriage of convenience and profess to like it; Naina (Deepika Padukone) a medical student (who presumably passes her exams because there is a passing mention of a clinic) who prefers to be tied down to home and hearth and makes a virtue of it, but for years pines for the man she cannot tie down with herself.

But why look for depth—first half trek to Manali and lots of masti; second half (eight years later) everyone congregates at a wedding in gorgeous Udaipur, and the loose ends are tied up. Mainstream Bollywood is essentially status quo-ist— happy endings mean a clinch and a promise of happily-ever-after. Bunny, in his Jawaani days, calls it a dal-chawal life of no variety.  This is what Ayan Mukerji dishes out in his second film(after the really likeable Wake Up Sid), with the right amounts of masala and tadka.

The film gives Ranbir Kapoor a chance to emote, clown, dance, ad lib and he shows that he has what it takes to make dal chawal look like biryani. When he is on screen, he dominates completely. Deepika Padukone finally finds her acting muscle and gives the role all she’s got. The others in the cast are competent, then Farouque Shaikh gets one great scene and steals the thunder. Youth, as George Bernard Shaw said, is wasted on the young.


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