Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na is a love story as well, but it's more of an Archie-Jughead-Veronica-Betty kind of a plot, set in the current milieu. We witnessed a gist of it a few years ago in the Shahid Kapur launch pad Ishq Vishk.
Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na doesn't dare to be different. Basically a simple tale about a group of friends, it focuses on one couple that's in love, but is in a state of denial. Haven't we watched similar love stories in the past, you may ask. Sure, we have, but the execution of the subject makes all the difference.
Large portions of Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na have been executed well by debutante director Abbas Tyrewala, but the problem lies in the second hour when the film gets lengthy. Also, a few tracks throw a spanner in the otherwise smooth proceedings. Even the climax, although well shot, is passe (very filmy in an otherwise real film), since a number of films have had similar endings.
Yet, despite the shortcomings, Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na works for a number of solid reasons and that's what the viewer carries home. A decent fare that takes you back to your adolescence, when friends seem to be the be-all and end-all.
Jai (Imran Khan) and Aditi (Genelia) are buddies. In fact, they hang out with their group of friends, but have eyes for each other only. Their friends know that Jai and Aditi are perfect for each other. Their parents know this as well. Everybody knows this. But the couple doesn't. So when do they realise it’s love?
Don't expect fireworks or melodrama in this prem kahani. It's an extremely simple, uncomplicated tale that never goes over the top. The bonding amongst friends is well established. So is the relationship that Ratna Pathak Shah shares with her deceased husband's portrait (reminds you of Ashok Saraf-Priya Tendulkar relationship in the popular comedy show Hum Paanch).
Besides, the two (popular) songs that come in the initial reels -- Kabhi Kabhi and Pappu Can't Dance -- only spice up the proceedings. The arrival of the 'third angle' in this love story (Manjari Phadnis) is perfect. Everything is faultless in the first hour.
But the second hour lets you down. The Ayaz-Genelia relationship is, again, well developed, but the second hour gets a tad lengthy. But what looks completely out of place in this light and breezy entertainer is the Rajput connection and how it saves the lead man from the cop (Paresh Rawal). This track irritates!
Also, the climax, set in an airport, is beaten to death. There's no novelty in it, since we've seen the same ending in film after film.
Abbas Tyrewala has the makings of a fine director. A.R. Rahman's music is already a rage and the two songs at the start are superb compositions. Cinematography is excellent.
Every member of the cast stands out, but the film belongs to Imran and Genelia. Imran has been presented as the boy-next-door and that works in his favor. He has screen presence and acts very well for a first timer. Most importantly, he looks the part. Genelia adds freshness to her scenes. What makes you take to Genelia is her spontaneity. Also, the mischievous look in her eyes conveys sorrow with equal ease. Wish to see more of her in Hindi movies! Manjari is a complete natural. She is very effective.
The group of friends -- Karan (as Rotlu), Alishka (as Bombs), Nirav (as Jiggy) and Sughanda (as Shaleen) -- are excellent. Each compliments the other well. Ratna Pathak Shah is highly competent. Jayant Kripalani and Anuradha Patel (as Genelia's parents) are sweet. Pratiek Babbar (as Genelia's brother) springs a pleasant surprise. He is flawless in an unconventional role. Ayaz Khan (as Genelia's fiance) registers a strong impact. A good actor!
Rajat Kapoor and Kitu Gidwani (as Manjari's parents) are fair. Naseeruddin Shah is in terrific form. Paresh Rawal, again, is wonderful. Arbaaz Khan and Sohail Khan irritate, mainly because the roles don't work.
On the whole, Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na is a breezy entertainer which will be loved by its target audience -- the youth. At the box-office, business at multiplexes should ensure a speedy recovery for this moderate budget film. A profitable venture!
Verdict: Three-and-a-half stars