JANI DEKHA HOBE (2011) Bengali Movie Review: Misplaced Belief

Jaani Dekha Hobe (2011) Kolkata Bengali Movie Poster

Calcutta, Nov 25, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) All of us are aware of that old adage ‘Simple is Beautiful’. What most of us do not realize is that too much of simplicity might lead to undesirable results, particularly when it comes to film-making. Director Birsa Dasgupta, whose debut venture ‘033’ wowed us with its fresh, crisp and simple brand of storytelling, is back with his second offering ‘Jani Dekha Hobey’ (or, ‘Jani Dyakha Hawbey’, as the makers prefer to call it). Unfortunately, this time round, the man seems to have taken the value of simplicity in movie-making too much to heart.

Theatrical Trailer - Jani Dekha Hobe (Bengali, 2011)

‘Jani Dekha Hobey’ had been promoted as a feel-good love story between an urban couple and how they fight through personal differences to make their romance a grand success. The film tells the story of ‘Megh’ (Parambrata Chattopadhyay), a struggling lyricist and ‘Hiya’ (Payel Sarkar), a wannabe fashion model. The start of the movie is promising enough, with our leading couple sharing a common dream of Hiya desperately trying to converse with Megh in the backdrop of the beautifully shot Kanchenjunga. The dream sequence ends and a voice-over emphasizes the enormous odds of two people in love, having the same dream, at the same time.

Switch to flashback mode, and we find how Megh and Hiya met (under ludicrous yet sweet circumstances). They exchange phone numbers and, apparently, in a matter of days, start to live together as well. Problems rear their ugly head, when Hiya, driven on by her ambition to become a really successful model, becomes too wrapped up with her photo-shoots, leaving poor Megh, unemployed and still looking for musical recognition, practically out in the cold. Our hero expresses his displeasure at the rather bold photo-sessions that Hiya is featuring in and pangs of envy starts creeping into his thought processes too, for his lady love has already become way more successful in life than he is.

The narrative, however, heads downward beyond this point. Megh, in a drunken fit, spreads unpleasant rumors about Hiya’s profession, which leads to a violent quarrel and finally, a break-up between the two. Enter ‘Ishwar’ (Anjan Dutt), the self-proclaimed ‘Out-of-work bhogoban’ and the former paramour of ‘Nirupama’ (Mamata Shankar, in a delightful cameo), and he promptly proceeds to set everything right between Megh and Hiya, with the help of ‘MacD’ (Shiboprosad Mukherjee), an eminent personality from the music industry and the security guard of Megh’s apartment (yes, you read that last bit right!)

So, what ails this sweet, romantic movie? There is practically no character development of the main protagonists of the movie. The only thing that the audience gets to know about Parambrata’s character is that he is hard pressed for money, but beyond that, nothing. Payel’s Hiya is even more weird, giving out mobile numbers to strange young men within ten (maybe less!) minutes of meeting them, having whirlwind affairs and then, after the break-up, laughing at jokes cracked at Megh’s expense and finally landing up at the residence of Pat the photographer (the bad guy in the movie), where she stays for three months! Does this film mock at the vindictiveness of young men, who can spread dirty rumors about their ex-partners without batting an eyelid, or does it intend to make fun of the gullibility of an educated young lady, who stays at an evidently lecherous photographer’s house, only because the latter has promised her an assignment from FTv (boy, absurd thoughts can indeed be grand!)? One wonders.

It is nice to see Anjan Dutt back in a film which he is not directing, and the ‘Ranjana’ man once again proves that, however lousy the flick may be, his character would shine through. One wishes that he and Mamata Shankar had screen space together. In a role that mostly involves admonishing Parambrata for mouthing obscenities, the talents of the veteran actress have been totally wasted. It is, however, unclear, how, or why, Dutt’s character becomes so committed towards bringing the Megh-Hiya love story back on track.

Rupa Ganguli plays ‘Meenaxi’, the sensuous, probably divorced head of a music company, who has a distinct crush on the much younger Parambrata. Her character is again a half-baked one, with no semblance of a back-story and only an inhaler proving that her past romantic experiences have been tragic.

The two music directors of the film are Neel Dutt and Indradip Dasgupta. The title track, with its interesting use of the evergreen ‘Jo Waada Kiya’ is hummable. Neel’s best compositions seem to be reserved for his dad Anjan Dutt’s movies (somewhat similar to how we only get the best of Rajesh Roshan in Rakesh Roshan-directed films).

Birsa is an accomplished storyteller, but if he really wants to enter the realm of mainstream cinema, he has to try again. The movie has an open-ended climax, with the audience left to judge whether Hiya and Megh actually become a couple once again, or whether it is all an extended, tragic, dream. The problem is, the viewers had stopped caring a long time back.

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