The hype surrounding ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ has been enough to give even the most sceptical of cinema-goers a feeling of uncontrollable excitement. Not only does the movie bring together Ranbir Kapoor with his ex Deepika Padukone after a four-year gap, it is also directed by Ayan Mukerji who is easily one of Bollywood’s most promising new talents. With just one film of Mukerji’s to go by (‘Wake Up Sid’ in 2009), it may have been difficult to gauge whether he would be able to meet the expectations of the audience but the video promos and promotional activities have been stupendous to say the least. The movie promised to be a celebration of life but with a difference. Would it be clad with cliched and familiar anecdotes or characters or have Dharma Productions just given the ultimate all-round entertainer of the year which none of 2013’s releases so far have achieved?
Naina Talwar (Padukone) is a girl with her head always buried in books. When shopping with her mother, she bumps into an old school acquaintance, Aditi (Kalki Koechlin). Upon discovering that Aditi is set to go on a trekking trip with other school friends Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) and Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur), Naina is forced to think about the direction her life has been going in. In a knee-jerk reaction, she decides to up and join the trek setting off the next day. The four spend the entire trip together, with Bunny helping Naina along the way wherever she feels uncomfortable. She ends up falling for him but isn’t able to express her feelings. A few years pass following the trip and the foursome meet again when Aditi is set to get married. Can old feelings be buried or will the acceptance of new feelings be the way forward?
It can be said that the characters that lead the story are very carefully etched out in keeping with the underlying themes of friendship, coming-of-age and also fun. Mukerji takes a lot of care to include the right scenes in the right way and Hussain Dalal puts some beautiful icing on an already tasty cake with his dialogues which are more than memorable and are sure to resonate with many. After a long time comes a film in which not just one or two lines of dialogue stand out but an entire scene and dialogue list can be made on the excellence. It is very much the lack of mediocrity that takes the story forward on all counts. Mukerji shows the charm of romance as a visionary by making the viewer fall for each of the locations that form the ever-changing backdrop of the movie – including Rajasthan, Kashmir and also Paris. The extremely youthful and entertaining feel of the movie right from its promos would be down to both Mukerji and cinematographerV Manikandan.
The decision to cast Padukone opposite Kapoor could been seen as a sure-fire spark of interest from the audiences what with their history on a personal level. However, you would be wrong to think that their chemistry would have dwindled because they are no longer romantically involved with each other in real life in contrast to how they were in ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’ (2008). On the contrary, the chemistry between the two is sizzling to say the least. The characters, although written well, would be effective simply on paper if Kapoor and Padukone didn’t bring them and their obvious fondness of each other to life. Kapoor plays Bunny with much ease as expected but he delivers the light-hearted, comical and emotionally charged dialogues and scenes with perfect precision. Padukone’s rendition of Naina who is a little insecure but also a little outgoing comes across as a doddle for her but her performance is lifted to another level when her character is seen in the second half a few years later having come into her own. Koechlin and Roy Kapur are also adept as supporting actors and it is a treat to see a surprise appearance by Kunaal Roy Kapur in the same frame as his brother. Rana Daggubati is also slotted in for a very small role and Evelyn Sharma plays the token beautiful but ditzy girl.
It’s fair to say the soundtrack of ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ by Pritam is a sone pe suhaga what with tracks which you can’t help swaying to whenever you hear them. On screen, the music takes on a whole new meaning. The picturisation of all of the tracks is contemporary and totally suiting the narrative. A special mention of Madhuri Dixit-Nene is inescapable. The actress is a part of Bunny’s introductory sequence in Ghagra and it is a delight to see the two actors – admittedly of different generations – come together in such a way. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are magical and add fabulously to a melodious album.
‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ has a very many defining moments which sometimes make you dislike the characters and the decisions they make but, overall, there is a lot of charm in the story. The hype created by the promotions and the album is lived up to in the movie which is undoubtedly a family entertainer which is there to be enjoyed by all. What it may lack in any area is made up for by its heart and soul. The only thing you may not expect when watching the movie is to get so absorbed into the world it manages to create that you almost don’t want to leave it when the film comes to an inevitable end… and this may mean you return to the big screen to take in the magic all over again.
BizAsia Showbiz rating: 4.5/5