Imran Khan …..sigh ! Ok, enough, this review is about the portrayal of young India on the big screen and whether Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na, makes the cut as an intelligent and thought provoking commentary on where 20 somethings (and younger) are located within the context of a globalising nation, and what is it that makes them tick. It stars Imran Khan and Genelia da Souza, as the leads and is co-produced by Aamir Khan, who is Imran’s uncle.
Jaane Tu, is actually first and foremost a romantic comedy, and will therefore appeal to all who have been in love, or are currently in love. Its about two best friends, Rats and Miao (their petnames for each other), who have just finished college, and are embarking on a mission to try and find love in their lives.
Miao’s parents want her to marry and think that Rats is ideal for their daughter, and broach the subject of joining the family, with him. Rats thinks that they are actually talking about offering him a job. When they all realise what was actually being discussed, Rats and Miao, are totally opposed to the idea, saying that they are actually each other’s best friend, but not in love.
The twist in the tale happens when Miao begins to miss Rats when he finds a girlfriend and no longer has much time for her. Rats gets worked up, when Miao finds someone too, to whom she gets engaged, but he turns out to be abusive and self-absorbed. Rats and Miao eventualy realise that they do love each other, after all, when they can’t bear to think of the other, with someone else. Awww….
The plot is however more nuanced though, than just being a regular love story. What is interesting is the way in which family traditions, feminist ideas and the principle of non-violence is intervowen into the story. Rat’s mom could best be described as a modern day feminist, who is totally opposed to her son hitting anyone or being violent in any way. She left the Rathore family home, after her husband died, in order to raise her son in an urban surrounding, where he is far way from traditional family expectations. Some of these expectations are somewhat tongue in cheek, such as it being a Rathore tradition that the men get arrested at least once in their lives. Rats does actually end up fulfilling all the traditions, after he gets arrested for punching Miao’s fiance for having slapped her, much to his mother’s displeasure. But all’s well that ends well.
While the movie makes one laugh and cry, it certainly also makes one reflect on the younger generation in India. The story revolves around urban middle class families, and so doesn’t really focus on issues of poverty or other social divisions amongst the youth, but that was perhaps not its intention. It deals to some degree with sibling rivalries, and the theme of dysfunctional family relationships in contemporary India. Apart from the two main leads there is also the sub-text of what is going on with other friends in the broader social group, two of whom, have crushes on Rats and Miao respectively, but when they realise that they don’t stand a chance, end up with each other. The story is told through Rat’s and Miao’s friends, relating their tale to a new person who has joined the group.
Jaane Tu, is perhaps not as cutting edge as Rang de Basanti, which also had a youth focused theme, or as political, it is rather a feel good story about love triumphing in the end. The title refers to the song Jaane Tu Ya Jaane na, which is the song that Rats sings to Miao, when he finally tells her he loves her, amidst countless airport security officials (you have to see this part to get it).
In the end its a must watch movie, and if the story doesn’t grab you, then the performances by the two leads certainly will.