Purani Jeans review: Faded and jaded!
Saturday 3 May 2014
Tanushri Chattrji Bassu
Tanuj Virwani, Aditya Seal and Izabelle Leite
Taking away from the stunning beauty of the hill-station are the Kasauli cowboys, a bunch of friends that are a melange of Bollywood cliches. So you have a poet Sid (therefore shy, and always writing in a book), a fat boy (therefore doofus, and always eating), a guy with spectacles (therefore no girlfriend), and a pretty girl (therefore always in short summer dresses and a smile) who lights candles at the church for "true love".
This film is pretty confused about love and flirtation. Our Kasauli cowboys, especially the fat person and the bespectacled man, think it's okay to harass a foreign exchange student (calling her blondie). They are also made fun of when they call Pamela Anderson the "TV wali blondie" and mispronounce Nike.
They actually have Kasauli cowboy vows like 'Marry a virgin' and 'Never steal another cowboy's girlfriend.' These fully grown men go around throwing eggs on their ex-professors and talking non-stop.
These Cowboys are celebrating because their hero and leader Sam (Aditya Seal) has just returned from London. To show their bonding we have a song called Yaariyan with our cowboys dancing in synchronized steps, running together in slow-mo, acting silly with balloons and jumping in the pool together.
Enter pretty architecture student Nayantara (Izabelle Leite) and there forms a love triangle. Two friends falling for the same girl is not an original premise, by any stretch. Here, they've tried adding nuance in the form of complicated equations with parents, but it's half-baked. Baring she's an architecture student and has lovely dimples, we don't know anything about Nayantara's background.
Most of the female characters in the film end up victimized. There's Nayantara who helplessly bears the brunt of two friends falling for her, another character that ends up pregnant and then cries all through the film, the woman who suffers for having married a second time, and the single mother who dies.
You barely warm up to the central characters as well. Sid (Tanuj Virwani) is a one-tone character that you don't quite understand (the story is told through his perspective in flashback). Sam has some depth, in that he is the suffering rich boy who fears people love him only because he does things for them. Nayantara, you don't know anything about.
Also the film takes major liberties with characterization. In one of the more glaringly out-of-place scenes, Sam write Nayantara's name on his hand with a blade and then tells her not to worry as he had sterilized the blade. This psychotic behavior that should freak out everyone around him is never mentioned after this scene.
The dialogue is pedestrian. Sam's conversations are littered with popular English proverbs like, 'Only the good die young'. He also says 'rocking' a lot. Perhaps it's to showcase his foreign education. Also it's hilarious to listen to a serious conversation where one character accuses the other for breaking 'cowboy rules'.
The film has some nice touches, although they are few and far between. There's the scene of Sam getting a jeep for a birthday gift with his name spelled wrong by his mother's secretary. His complicated relationship with his mother and step-father also throws up some interesting dramatic moments. The friends' reunion after several years is nicely done with all of them having aged and looking different (except the girl of course, who still looks like a teenager). Their regrets and love for each other is touching.
Performances vary, and ultimately it is Aditya Seal who manages to create empathy for his character. Tanuj Virwani does well, but is way too understated. Izabelle Leite joins the scores of beautiful people in films who need acting lessons.
Debut director Tanushri Chattrji Bassu gives us a film about a love triangle between friends. It's the most done-to-death trick in the book and you need a refreshingly new twist to make the same concept work. Here with the cliched characters, a regressive outlook, and largely rookie performances, there's nothing much to recommend.
Rating: 1.5 stars