Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: Fun, frolic and a bit of love

MUMBAI: One of the tried and tested genres of film, acceptable to just about all kind of audience is a feel good love story with music to back it if one knows how to. This ‘how to‘ involves the romance to be plausible, clean and emotional. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is only the second outing for writer-director Ayan Mukerji. His first was a coming of age film, Wake Up Sid, which was also with Ranbir Kapoor. While Kapoor has since done almost a dozen films, Mukerji, to his credit, has not only come of age, he has matured into an accomplished writer-director.

Producers: Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar.
Director: Ayan Mukerji.
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Kalki Koechlin, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Kunaal Roy Kapoor, Poorna Jagannathan.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani has no side characters, no comedians or villains and no distractions. To make up for all that, it has been shot extensively on pleasant outdoor locales and generally carries a positive flavour throughout. And, during these parts, the film carries that whiff and charm of those Nasir Hussain romances.

The clique of school backbenchers, Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapoor, decide to go on a track with a group of 25 others when a top ranker, scholarly, bespectacled Deepika Padukone, bored of her bookworm life, decides to join in. She has none of the traits of the three and is an odd one out in the group. They believe in enjoying each moment, something she has never had the inclination or the time to do in pursuit of her studies, earlier for school and now medical. But everybody is enjoying and it does not take her long to join in. The trek outing is all about having fun, drinking, games and bonhomie. There are two one-sided romances happening: Padukone is gradually drawn to the charm and youthfulness of Kapoor while Koechlin loves Aditya; why the latter is indifferent is not known while Kapoor does not agree with the concept of love, marriage and being tied down to one girl or one place.

The outing is over. Kapoor proceeds to the US with the scholarship he has been offered and takes to travel photography. Just the dream he nourished, roaming places and meeting people. He has no intentions of returning to India, having lost his father, Farooq Shaikh, while having no communication, and has no ties with stepmother, Tanve Azmi. His contact with his friends is almost negligible. He has been busy filling his scrapbook with notes on places he visits. Now, he has been offered a dream posting, an assignment in Paris. That is when he receives a message from Koechlin asking him to attend her wedding, a five day affair in Udaipur.

The four friends come together again. Koechlin is marrying Kunal Roy Kapoor, Aditya runs a bar which he is about to lose having incurred heavy losses (It seems he is never without alcohol in his hand, and he probably drank up his bar!). Padukone is a doctor running her own clinic and Kapoor, of course, is a TV host of international repute now. Elaborate weddings being a favourite with filmmakers, this part is all about fun and dances and every Indian identifies with it. There is no melodrama but, yes, the buried romance is rekindled in Deepika‘s heart and, unwittingly though, this time Kapoor too succumbs. It is time for the film to head for its happy ending.

The feeling is that the film stretches its length at least by 15 minutes; this becomes more evident as there are just two able artistes to carry it through its 161 minutes marathon duration in Kapoor and Padukone. As the film begins, for some time the proceedings are dull, the Madhur Dixit item number is unnecessary and is not even good. Otherwise, the first half of the film passes smoothly. The second half becomes slow towards the latter portions, as one expects some drama towards the end.

For positives, the film has a well written script and competent direction from Mukerji. Pritam‘s music is a definite plus with almost all songs having appeal, while Amitabh Bhattacharya has provided perfect lyrics to blend with the theme of the film. Filmed mostly outdoors, between snow-capped mountains and picturesque Udaipur, it makes for a pleasant viewing. Kapoor is getting better with each film; he is a natural. Padukone is a perfect foil and justifies her lovelorn look throughout. Aditya carries on with the glass he picked up in his earlier film; no idea what he would have done with his hands otherwise. Koechlin has a limited range. Kunaal is okay.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani has opened reasonably well, especially at multiplexes and, with its positive reports, is sure to get better over the weekend.

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