Monday, November 10, 2008

And two years later.. Jaan-e-Mann.

I haven't been blogging much. I haven't been watching much, either. Life's been a haze of studying, worrying about studying and random methods of procrastination. I keep up with Bollywood, just haven't been able to watch Hindi films as of late.

Then last night I needed a pick me up and put on Jaan-e-Mann.

When I first watched JEM, it was autumn 2006 and JEM was up against the Don remake starring Shahrukh Khan in the Diwali box office battle. Understandably JEM lost miserably; it had too many weird, meta-like references, Broadway-style song picturizations, a lot of plain silliness.. Watching it now, I can see that it's definitely a flawed film, but also carries a definite charm; the performances by Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and Preity Zinta are solid despite the occasional failed punchline, and the songs are catchy despite obvious vapidness ("Udh jaana" I am looking at you).

Suhaan Kapoor (Salman), a wannabe-filmstar, has a problem. His former wife Piya (Preity) is suing him for unpaid alimonies and he has no money whatsoever. Oddly enough, a former geek and current astronaut, Agastya Rao (Akshay) lands on Suhaan's door step and thanks to a legal loophole that would get Suhaan out of trouble so long as Piya remarries, Suhaan hatches a plan to make Piya fall in love with Agastya aka Champu, who used to crush on Piya back in college.

Watching the film when it came out compared to watching it now shows how much the industry has changed in mere two years' time. When you've seen Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Om Shanti Om, both more outlandish and colourful than JEM, the world of this film doesn't feel so alien anymore. Then you have the stars. Akshay's career really took off in 2007 and 2008 and now he's one of the absolute biggest names in the industry. Salman on the other hand has had his share of hits and flops, but still remains (as far as I know) a top star. Preity's career sank after JEM - or should I say, starting with KANK & JEM, but she's getting positive recognition from her latest films, thankfully.

You haven't heard much about JEM's director since the release of the film. Quite honestly, as much as I like the movie, I don't mind. After the film's release I happened to find an interview with the man and he was one obnoxious dude. If nobody is willing to finance his films nowadays, I'm not surprised. His touch shows in the film, though: check out how many frames of the film are tilted. I'm not what's the significance of the style choice, but well, it is a style choice regardless!

When I initially saw the film, it made me really like three actors I wasn't all that nuts about at the time. It's because of these actors that I still appreciate the most when it comes to Jaan-e-Mann. Salman is perfect at these self-parodic roles where he's allowed to also have emotional moments. Akshay makes for such a lovable goof and Preity is, well, Preity. As I've discussed previously, I can't not like her. This was one of the films where I came to that realization.


Anita said...

JEM was alright. I watched it once and giggled at the appropriate times, but I felt like it was a little weak on actual plot and characterization. People may disagree with me a lot, but there was a lot to be desired by the growth of Salman's character and the realization of Akshay's character that he wasn't right for Preity's character. They sort of glazed over those points in favour of more drama and zany plot points, which are definitely not my thing.

I'm not a huge Akshay fan, but this may just have been his best role according to me. He was actually ACTING, instead of playing the usual Akshay that we're so used to nowadays.

I'm a lover of Pri but she bored me in this. As a hardcore fan I felt let down that they didn't give her much to work with. Better than Priyanka in MSK, but not by much. Salman impressed me a lot, bringing in emotion the way I remember he used to do in the good ol' days. ;)

Ok, I've rambled on enough. Overall I agree with you that this was the introduction to the meta-like BW films that we are seeing today, but it didn't quite get it right the way the more recent movies have.

veracious said...

I agree that looking at it now, it feels a little uneven with the seriousness and then the goofiness. I still like it, though. Just not as much as I used to.

Preity was lovely but her role could've definitely had more substance. And this and Salaam-e-Ishq are my favourite Salman roles of recent years, it's unfortunate he doesn't always deliver as well.

I looove Akshay and I think he does great in all of his recent films but Champu is a pretty untypical character for him, and he makes it work so yes, definite kudos. :D

memsaab said...

I remember liking this, but yeh---Shirish Kunder is awful. I've seen several interviews and he is just so arrogant (without any reason that I've been able to discover). And weird looking. What was Farah Khan thinking????

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

I dont understnad why this movie doesnt work for me- I've tried watching it several times, but am so bored midway that I can never finish it! I adore the 3 leads, but was just totally pained by Anupam's odd portrayal of a midge- so maybe that killed it for me.

Reviewer said...

I never watched this movie entirely, just the starting few minutes and then I did not have the patience to continue....

ajnabi said...

Why haven't I seen this yet? I have to check and see if it's in my queue. I'll probably end up liking it given my penchant for Hindi box-office failures.

veracious said...

memsaab - Oh yes. It was weird reading that interview.. What a douche. Mind you, RGV still takes the cake in the Douchiest Arrogant A-hole in Bollywood..

shweta - Maybe watch it from the interval onwards. I think that's when the story calm downs a lot.

reviewer - It can be a bit too zany for some tastes. :D

ajnabi - Just remember to go in with low expectations.

Nicki said...

I really enjoyed JeM. It was a film I had no expectations for. I think I should just watch every film with this mentality for now on. I think Sallu and Preity have good chemistry. Seeing Akki and Preity again was great too.

theBollywoodFan said...

After initial viewings, I liked this better than the Don remake. The approach to the musical worked well, because the music was splendid!

Salman is a fantastic entertainer. He's been that throughout, and that is why he's always going to be a star mentioned alongside Aamir, Hrithik, Akshay, and SRK, despite the rest arguably having gotten, or having made, better films this decade.

I hope Yuvvraaj changes that somewhat. I'd much rather have him do some serious stuff, at which he's rather good too.

B said...

I liked JeM too and had seen it when it was released 2 yrs back..I was the only one in the grp who liked it..all my frens hated it..

I thot it was a bit ahead of the times with the whole musical concept and evrything but it was good...there were a lot of small details(moving frames in flashback etc) and cute moments that the audience missed out since they wer'nt paying attention..

Yes.. pppl need to watch this with minimum expectations.