Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is exactly what you expect it to be. A good romantic comedy. The first half is breezy and fun but guess what? The second half delivers! Remember the last time the Hindi film industry did all of that? I’m glad you don’t because this would help you enjoy the film more.
All the usual ingredients of a typical big-budget romantic comedy are here. Two stars. Catchy music. Grand locations. Playful comedy. But movies like these need to have one essential ingredient for them to stick. Drama. In romantic dramedies of the past, melodrama took care of it. Now we don’t want the emotions to be over the top, we want them to be sincere and honest. For example, In a Dilwale Dhulaniya Le Jayenge (1995), the lovers were kept apart by external factors like the parents not giving their consent. In today’s day and age, the factors are internal. We keep ourselves apart from fulfilling our dreamy romance.
Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone may be the stars that catch hold of the screen with their personas and never let go but it is Ayan Mukerji’s scripting and Hussain Dalal's dialogues that makes sure it doesn’t let go of your heart. Beneath all the clichés and the songs and the mush lies this refreshing ability to make a movie about people. The emotions aren’t big, everything around it certainly is. When they profess love, they don’t shout it on mountaintops. When they fight, they don’t scream and breakdown. When they repent over their regrets, they don’t crave for a melodramatic reunion. They act like people.
Apart from romance, the film captures a bit of life. People change. Things don’t turn out the way you wished they would. You don’t end up with people you wanted to. Then you look back and you see why. Not many mainstream movies go here. When they do, they make a big deal about it. This is what I liked about this film the most. It may seem like a mainstream film on the surface but it does things that usually Hindi films don’t care to address.
The supporting characters played by Kalki Koechlin (who I liked for the first time in any movie) and Aditya Roy Kapur are the pillars that hold fort when the the main characters dwindle. Many things remain unsaid. When they are ultimately spoken, they are not just genuine but emotionally mature. How friendships change over the years and we don't know how to deal with them until we must.
Have you ever told your friends/ loved ones that you’re leaving town and going off to study or live in another city? Remember that emotion they feel when they don’t want you to go but are happy for you? It is these nuances which may not be alarmingly unconventional but they are true and rarely conveyed on the big screen.
There are a few scenes that give us a glimpse of the protagonist's relationship with his parents. They manage to touch you even when a flashback would usually seem jarring. The hero's relationships with, not just the potential lover, but others around him reveal how unlikable he actually is. I find it fascinating when I see a character whose actions I would not approve of and even be ticked off by otherwise, but when a thoroughly charming and likable star plays it, it's all good. Why? Well, because we want to like him. We want to see him shed the imperfections. Movie stars might seem flawed, like us, but we like them to end up perfect.
Ayan Mukerji is done with a coming of age film (Wake Up Sid!) and a romantic comedy. I'm eager to watch which genre film he will tackle next and give it a much needed silent revival. Not transforming the genre but make it look good again.
More than anything, I think a good romance needs separation. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. We need to feel for the lovers when they unite. (Ya so you didn't want the ending spoiled?). I could give you several other aphorisms which we have seen on screen before but clichés don’t matter here. It’s not about what happens in the film, it’s about how it happens. That’s what matters. When the film ended, I had a smile on my face. I felt good. I love it when movies do that.view less