Friday, October 22

Jhootha Hi Sahi - A light-hearted, enjoyable rom-com.

Movie - Jhootha Hi Sahi (Hindi)
Director - Abbas Tyrewala
Producers - Madhu Mantena, Abbas Tyrewala
Cast - John Abraham, Pakhi, Raghu Ram, R Madhavan, Manasi Scott, Alishka Varde, Anaitha Nair, Prashant Chawla, Omar Khan, George Young, Nandana Sen
Music - AR Rahman
Cinematography - Manoj Lobo
Story, Screenplay - Pakhi, Abbas Tyrewala
Dialogues - Abbas Tyrewala
Release Date - 22nd October 2010

This movie has been getting unanimously negative reviews from almost all the critics ranging from Taran Adarsh to Khalid Mohammed. But you know what, I really enjoyed this film. Its nowhere as brilliant as the director's first film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. (Maybe because he didnt have Aamir Khan keeping a watch on each and every aspect of the film.) But yea, it still is an enjoyable watch, much better than the Anjaana Anjaanis and We Are Families. It is heavily inspired by the world's favourite sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and almost 70% of the film is based on conversations between the leading man, his friends and the leading lady. And it has an absolutely beautiful soundtrack by AR Rahman who is in top form. The movie is the second installment in Abbas Tyrewala's 3 part series on love and friendship. 

The movie tells the story of Siddharth (John Abraham, brilliant), a nerdy guy who works along with a couple of his friends at an Indian book store 'Kaagaz Ke Phool' in London. His world comprises of his weird and quirky friends circle -  the Pakistani siblings Omar (Raghu Ram, killer), Aaliya (Alishka Varde, lovely); the gay co-owner of the bookstore Amit (Omar Khan), who has a crush on Uday (Prashant Chawla); Aaliya's boyfriend Nick (George Young) and his airhostess girlfriend Kruthika aka Kuttika (Manasi Scott, fiery). Sid's landline number gets mistaken for a suicide helpline as part of a mix-up and eventually he volunteers to council people who're contemplating suicide, through the hotline. One one such instance, he gets a call from Mishka [from the video store :P] (Pakhi) who wants to commit suicide because her boyfriend Kabir (R Madhavan) dumped her for another girl. Sid starts talking to her and gradually makes her life better, but stays as a voice without a face. But falls for her when he sees her in person. And in a series of lies, he helps Mishka as her friend on phone and also tries to woo her as the real Siddharth. What happens next forms the story of Jhootha Hi Sahi. 

The story written by the leading lady Pakhi is as predictable as it can get. But the movie is full of enjoyable moments - mostly interactions & conversations between John & friends and John & Pakhi, which makes it very enjoyable. It doesnt have the charm and the wit of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. But still manages to impress you. The entire setting and characters remind you of FRIENDS in almost every scene. But I feel, thats a very good inspiration as those scenes worked very well for me. 

One thing I dont understand is that why did this movie have to be set in London? It wouldnt have made any difference if it was set in Mumbai or any other Indian city. The characters speak mostly in Hindi (as opposed to similar Hindi movies). Other than the fact that London looks great and they might be offering subsidies for film shoots, there's no requirement for this film to be shot in London. Abbas Tyrewala made a name for himself through Jaane Tu and automatically his next film has a bigger budget and foreign locations. Thats not such a great thing, especially when there's no point in setting the film abroad. How many Indians would try committing Suicide in London? And out of them how many would speak Hindi? And out of them how many would call a suicide hotline before dying? Such basic errors are not taken care of in the movie. But yea, we can forgive him for that. 

John Abraham is excellent as the Clark Kent-ish Siddharth. This is perhaps his career best performance. He doesnt depend on his good looks and body-shody to carry off the character. And his comic timing is quite good (like we saw in Dostana earlier). He is definitely the best thing about the movie. Pakhi looks much older than her character and she doesnt have the conventional Hindi film heroine look. There is something cute about her, but one cant fully digest her as the leading lady of the film. Especially a girl whom everyone has a crush on. Her acting is pretty decent, but she lacks an effervescent screen presence which is so badly required for such a role. (Why didnt he cast Genelia again??). Raghu Ram sheds his ruthless Television image and plays Omar wonderfully. He's one strong reason why you should watch this film. Alishka Varde, the cute-as-a-button girl from Jaane Tu plays Raghu's pregnant-but-unwed sister wonderfully. R Madhavan is royally wasted in a ridiculous role and he sports a horrible beard as well. The others in the cast also perform their parts effectively. There are voice-cameos by Imran Khan, Riteish Deshmukh and Abhishek Bachchan over the phone as well. A shameless gimmick, but it actually works. 

The movie may also remind you of the SRK starrer Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi at certain points where John simultaneously handles Mishka as two different persons. But yea, JHS is a lot better than RNBDJ. The conversations and interactions between the characters are the life of the film. The film would have fallen flat with its awfully weak storyline otherwise. Not so long ago, another film on suicide came (read Anjaana Anjaani) and people actually wanted to commit suicide after seeing it. But this one, makes you feel good. (At least I did). There are Indo-Pak jokes made and there's the cliched gay angle also (but its handled well thankfully). The climax where the hero breaks the law, runs to the heroine and seals their love, is there in this one too. But is not half as good as it was in Jaane Tu. The novelty and quirkiness in handling such quirky scenes in Jaane Tu is sorely missed here. 

Music by AR Rahman is heavenly. This is his best soundtrack this year after Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya (Tamil). The movie opens with Rahman's favourite track from the movie 'Moonlight' in the wonderful voice of Vijay Yesudas. 'Hello Hello' and 'Cry Cry' are very good while 'Pam Para' is shot ordinarily. There's also a beautiful female version of 'Moonlight' in the background score of the film (rumored to be sung by Dido). The best track from the album 'Do Nishaaniyaan' shows the progress of Sid & Mishka's relationship. Sadly, the beautiful 'Call Me Dil' doesnt find a place in the movie. Another beautiful Rahman song wasted. 'Mayya Yashoda' is a superb party track which actually tells a story through its lyrics. The background score of the movie is equally wonderful and leaves a huge impact. The themes of Moonlight, Do Nishaaniyan and Call Me Dil sound wonderful as parts of the background score. Manoj Lobo captures some beautiful visuals of London (but havent we seen it all before?). But he leaves an impression with his work during the indoor sequences. (which means, almost 80% of the film.)

All in all, Jhootha Hi Sahi is not great cinema. But its a light-hearted, enjoyable romantic comedy which you can spend time watching along with your friends and/or girlfriend. Much better than many Hindi movies made in similar genres in recent times. It is not anywhere close to the director's brilliant debut, but is very good nonetheless. It has John Abraham in an earnest avatar giving his career-best performance, the deadly Raghu Ram as John's best friend and an effective supporting cast. It also has one of AR Rahman's best soundtracks in recent years. And I can say without doubt that I had a great time watching this movie. 

Rating - 3/5

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