Verdict: Saif Ali Khan aces the role of a man-child in this new-age dad-com.
Bollywood is on a streak when it comes to movies that highlight the woes of Indian men. From middle-class issues to middle-age insecurities, we are getting to see the side of men that has been long shrouded under the guise of powerful masculinity. In Nitin Kakkar’s Jawaani Jaaneman, we meet a man who loves to be single. He loves women, of course, but not enough to be committed to them. All goes well until one day, both a dark past and the reality of his age come knocking on his door.
What’s Jawaani Jaaneman About:
Jaswinder aka Jazz (Saif Ali Khan) is a middle-aged man who still spends his time partying, drinking, and having one-night stands. He lives in a fancy apartment in London where he can barely make rent. Along with his brother Dimpy (Kumud Mishra), the two men broker a deal with a real estate giant to sell the plot Jazz lives on and build a sky-rise. This deal could make Jazz and Dimpy the biggest brokers in all of London but an elderly woman who owns three flats in this coveted plot, including the one Jazz lives in, is reluctant to sell. Meanwhile, on one of his jaunts at the bar, Jazz meets Tia (Alaya F) and he brings her home with the intent of casual sex. As it turns out, Tia is his daughter from a past affair and a DNA test confirms the same, along with the news that Tia is pregnant. The commitment-phobic Jazz now not only has to deal with the fact that he is a father, but also that he’s going to be a grandfather, as the reality of his age crushes him down.
Star kids are often known to compensate for their quick entry into Bollywood with over-the-top drama but Alaya F, who makes her debut with Jawaani Jaaneman, seems like a natural in Tia’s role. Her performance is to the point and she doesn’t try too hard to impress. It’s Saif Ali Khan, however, who holds the film together in a role that he has nailed in countless films before. He has the best dialogues and he delivers them with perfection. The role comes easily to him and it’s never a dull moment when the actor is on screen. Kumud Mishra and Farida Jalal also bring in several moments of laughter.
While the first half of the film only explores Jazz’s hedonistic lifestyle, the second half is a mixed bag of comedy and emotions. The former is enhanced when Jazz’s extended family meets Tia and later when her mother Ananya (Tabu) enters the fray. Jazz also goes through reality check is and forced to introspect on his choices when his friend and partner-in-crime Rocky (Chunky Panday) has a stroke with no one by his side in the hospital. Jazz realizes that he must compromise or meet the same fate.
Jawaani Jaaneman has a light and cheerful theme, which is reflected in the Ed Hardy-like costumes and upbeat music. The remakes of Ole Ole and Dil Luteya in the beginning and the end bring in the Punjabi flavor that is interspersed throughout the film.
What Could’ve Been Better:
Jawaani Jaaneman normalizes Jazz’s predatory behavior, which might not go down well with today’s intelligible and woke audiences. Tabu’s character could have been written better and it’s a crime to waste a talented actress in an extended cameo. It also seems unnecessary to cast Kubbra Sait as Saif Ali Khan’s contemporary in age. Some scenes in the movie seem to drag on and even the humor is unevenly paced throughout the film.
Why You Should Watch:
Jawaani Jaaneman is the new-age dad-com you should dare to watch with your parents/children. It opens room for conversations about relationships, love, commitment, pre-marital sex, and toxic masculinity, while also giving you plenty of laughs and entertainment.