Verdict: A film that fails to live up to expectations.
Remember Meghna (Manjari Phadnis) from Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na? She had won our hearts with just a minor role in the film. Well, Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai stars Manjari as the lead actor. Let’s just say the film completely rests on her shoulders. With Ashutosh Rana, Prem Chopra and Supriya Pathak being a part of the cast, the expectations were high.
The film begins with an out-of-context psalm verse from the Bible (chill, nothing blasphemous). It is a confused piece of cinema which cries out loud about women’s emancipation in the most tedious way. It basically narrates the journey of an aspiring and a gifted writer, who in spite of traversing through a multitude of problems, emerges out as a winner.
In the film’s opening scene, we find Alia (Manjari Phadnis) being chosen for a prestigious Award by the American Government, but all hell breaks loose when her husband Aditya (Arbaaz Khan) answers a phone call. For the next 5 minutes, you see Alia crying and rushing to go somewhere. This is the only exciting part in the film as it makes the story buildup interesting. We learn that someone in Rajasthan has passed away; someone by the name of Lakshmi. The scene cuts to flashback scenes of the time when Alia was a young girl. For some time, you just feel like being in Goa as the film introduces us to the various shades of Alia and her Catholic neighborhood. It seldom resembles Rajasthan and this is the initial flaw you will notice. Kunwar Vikram Pratap (Ashutosh Rana) enters the picture and ends up marrying Alia for reasons that have not been explained very well. The later part of the movie narrates Alia’s journey from Rajasthan to Mumbai and then to New York.
Performances by the film's cast are average. You might get hopeful when Kunwar Vikram Pratap comes onscreen but that hope dies soon. Manjari is better than most other actors in the film, but she doesn't emote as much as her character demands. Arbaaz Khan seems uncomfortable throughout the film, and even creepy, at times (like this one scene where he is talking to Alia’s daughter). Himansh Kohli is less than impressive in a brief role. We see Prem Chopra rattling out shayaris and we can't but wonder what would've been had the director used the legendary actor to his fullest potential. Ditto for Rati Agnihotri. Even technically, nothing really jumps at you.
Director Keshhav Panneriy probably had many ideas in his mind for the film’s plot, and he ended up including just about everything. If the director had structured the script with fewer characters and elements, the film would have probably turned out better. There are no specific details about the timeline and the retro look here and there throughout the movie confuses viewers about the actual time-frame. Places, characters, costumes, settings; everything seems to be in a state of confusion throughout the film.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
If multicast and multi-plot lines with intersecting stories interest you, then Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is the movie for you. Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai makes for a one-time watch.