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YJHD Movie Review – Yeh Jawaani Hai Not So Deewani

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Bachna Ae Haseeno, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, off late Bollywood has surely developed a liking for releasing movies named after popular songs. The trend can be attributed to the lack of imagination that plagues the film-makers of commercial Indian cinema. It can however also be deemed as a calculated move since a movie titled after a popular song or dialogue automatically creates a positive perception around itself in the minds of the viewers. This and the crazy amount of product placements that Bollywood films carry today is what is driving the crass commercialization of Hindi cinema.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani (YJHD), titled after a classic Bollywood song sung by the evergreen Kishore Kumar for the 1972 movie Jawani Diwani is the most recent flick from B-Town to follow this trend. The last few weeks before the release of the movie on May 31, 2013 saw a huge marketing push from the film’s producers bringing to light the generous doze of product placements present in the movie. Atleast five brands namely, Nokia, Mastercard, Jabong, MakeMyTrip and Close-up publicized their association with the film. Certainly their intention was to promote their brand among the youth of India towards whom the movie is directed. So, did the movie’s director Ayan Mukherjee, producer Karan Johar and lead actors Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone manage to do so, lets find out in this YJHD movie review.

The major selling point of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani was undoubtedly its lead pair of Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. Former lovers who were last seen together on the big screen in the 2008 film ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno‘. After his stellar performance in the multiple award winning Barfi, Ranbir Kapoor is back alongside his good friend Ayan Mukherji who has both directed and scripted Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani. This actor-director pair was last seen together in the movie ‘Wake Up Sid‘ which was popular hit as it was refreshingly different from the standard Bollywood staple-fare. Almost four years later, Ayan casts Ranbir in a similar role proving that Bollywood actors don’t believe in aging.

YJHD is frothy, young and appetizingly mushy replete with its special moments which make you nostalgic and treasure friendship! However, the movie is far from a path-breaking or anywhere close to being termed as a classic. True, the opening scene appears like a coup with the timeless Madhuri Dixit doing her first ever item song in the new age, gyrating to Ghagra with Ranbir. However, she is nowhere to be seen as soon as the song is over, dashing hopes of seeing the diva share screen space with Deepika.

The sprightly Ranbir Kapoor plays the character of Bunny aka Kabir Thapar, a casanova to the hilt. His chemistry with his father, the lovable Farooq Sheikh makes you want to watch more of them together on screen, instead of just the three emotional yet memorable scenes which manage to steal your heart like no other. Ranbir’s character is the typical I-want-to-fly and see the world, crazy journalist who doesn’t want to be tied down by the rules of society. His confusion between a dynamic or sedentary life, daily dal-chawal or the irresistible tangri kabab, chasing dreams or letting go of them makes him a very relatable character. His spontaneity comes through, much like his previous films and surely he manages to make an impact.

Deepika Padukone on the other hand plays Naina, the proverbial girl-next-door with glasses and an air of nerdiness. She hasn’t seen the world outside of her books, and decides to explore a different side of her persona with old found friends on a trip to Himachal. As you would expect Bunny and Naina cross paths and fall in love. It starts out as a one sided relationship but by the second half they are head over heels in love with each other rendering an irresistible onscreen chemistry. There is also the supporting cast, played by Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapoor. Ayan Mukherjee creates a convincing camaraderie between the four friends — poor Aditya Roy Kapur seems doomed to drink on screen but Kalki Koechlin is wonderful as the feisty Aditi.

The movie attempts to create an upbeat mood with pulsating songs and fun dancing. The direction, dialogues and screenplay are all praise-worthy but the biggest problem is that the movie lacks a good story. Like all Karan Johar productions, there is the regular multifarious doze of sangeet, dance-drama, mehndi and zardosi attires in scenic locations as part of showcasing the big fat Indian wedding. If you haven’t guessed it by now Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewaani is a been there, seen it before, mushy marathon which seems more like a mish mash of clichés from Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, DDLJ and Band Baaja Baarat. Ayan Mukherji does not live up to expectations as in the end the film turns out to be a beautiful canvas but is still a downer as the narrative is half-baked, too long and largely unconvincing. As renowned film critic Anupama Chopra notes in her review

Ultimately, there is enough eye-candy in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani to see you through, but I wish the film had more meat and less dressing. I’m disappointed because there is a truckload of talent here. What rankles is what might have been

So the summary of this YJHD movie review is that it makes for a pleasant one time watch. Notwithstanding the minor blemishes, go enjoy Naina and Bunny’s breezy dewaani but don’t get too carried away with the candy-floss depiction of life typical of most Karan Johar movies.