There are few things more enjoyable on a Friday morning than a good Saif Ali Khan film. Say what you will about the man, he has a knack for choosing good scripts. And Jawaani Jaaneman holds all the promise of a good script — it really does — but somehow lacks that wow factor that you’re waiting for.
A remake of the Argentinian film Igaulita A Mi, Jawaani Jaaneman introduces us to Jaswinder “Jazz” Singh (Khan), a 40-something party animal who believes that any kind of commitment — relationships, marriage or kids — is a death sentence. He works with his brother (Kumud Mishra) as a real estate broker in London and spends his nights compulsively partying and picking up women at his best friend Rocky’s (Chunky Pandey) nightclub.
He meets a young woman, Tia (Alaya Furniturewala), at the nightclub and works his usual charm and brings her back to his place, eager to seal the deal until she drops a bomb — she may just be the daughter he never knew about. While he grapples with the possibility of his life changing forever, another curve ball is thrown is his way — his 21-year-old daughter is pregnant. Now, the man-child is forced to decide between growing up and burrow deeper into his precious azaadi.
Director Nitin Kakkar does a smooth job establishing the scene and developing Jazz’s character. Right from Jazz’s introduction — with Khan’s iconic song Ole Ole to underscore the theme of an aging man clinging to his youth — we are shown his insecurities, fears, and strengths in a well-drawn out arc. The first half is fun, with snarky humour and well-placed one-liners peppering the fast-paced story.
The second-half is where Kakkar loses the plot a little, slipping into predictable tropes and convenient plot devices. While Jazz struggles to accept the responsibility of being a parent (and grandparent), everyone around him seems to be surprisingly, unconvincingly okay with the sudden introduction of a pregnant daughter — including his traditional, Punjabi parents.
There is also a property deal that is used as an excuse to introduce further drama between Tia and Jazz, but Kakkar fails to weave it in effectively and it comes off lame and unnecessary. The film’s focus is Jazz, as intended, but Tia, the disrupter in his life, while given good lines, needed to be more fleshed-out and have a little more depth.
The performances are what keep Jawaani Jaaneman from becoming a boring story. Khan does what he does best — plays the chill, funny, slightly air-headed, but caring man we all know and love. He deftly brings out Jazz’s immaturity and panicky nature but also makes us root for him.
Furniturewala does well as a young woman looking to belong — she doesn’t overdo it and seems to have followed Kakkar’s direction to the T. Tabu gives us the much-awaited cameo as Tia’s hippy, stoner mother. But that is all it is — a 10-minute glimpse of an excellent actor, completely underutilised and wasted with mediocre lines.
Jawaani Jaaneman makes for a good, one-time watch as a funny, heartwarming family drama but fails to leave an impression overall.
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