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.