Movie: Jai ho
Cast: Salman Khan, Daisy Shah, Tabu
Director: Sohail Khan
Rating: Two stars
Get this. A tormented streetkid, a nattering nephew, not to forget a bunch of zapped tots being held hostage on a warfield, are saved from miscellaneous perils by their mega-muscular Uncle. For the bacha party, he’s Krrish, Super-duperman and Spidey, rolled into one tight package. Truly, his shirt’s such a close fit that the buttons are about to pop as he skips-jumps-hops through studio sets, warehouses and yo, even a railway station.
Welcome, then, to another round of Salmantics in Jai Ho, directed by Sohail Khan, with the eye partly trained on the pre-teen constituency. Kids talk about pink panties, go wink-wink-nudge-nudge on sighting some romantic foreplay, and speak as if they possessed the IQs of Einstein. The problem is that no one else does, all the adults behaving as if they had left their brains to behind to frost in a refrigerator. Necessary perhaps because it doesn’t really need grey cells to bash up baddies who’re as canivorous as alligators. Duh.
Quite curiously, Sohail Khan’s direction is as ancient as the hillocks, banking excessively on slow fade-outs, bleaches and gigantic close-ups lavished upon even the most minor and camera-unfriendly of faces. The set designs are retro (not in a good way), the blingy costumes and quite a few of the family bonhomie scenes belong to Sooraj Barjatya’s Hum Saath Saath Hain, while the quotient of politics – demonic minister and his son – is the stuff that cliches are made of. Comparatively, in terms of both style and content, Dabangg and Chennai-cinema-inspired blockbusters of Salman Khan have been leagues aheads.
So what went wrong – or right (after all, this could also end up earning multiple-hundred crores, no?). Either way, this Jai jaikar sourced from Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s do-gooder fest Stalin (2006), seems to be lost in translation. As for the sermons about any recipient of a favour carrying out three good deeds in return, that remains a figure of speech. This intended USP in the screenplay, alas, comes off as much blah-blah about nothing. Or at most, an idea inspired by the Kevin Spacey movie Play it Forward (2000).
The point is more than ever before, Salman Khan must carry the burden of action-romance-comedy-melodrama on his shoulders. Admittedly, he does radiate a charismatic screen presence, and it’s obvious that frequently he goes on an improvising spree, resulting in goofball antics, unquestionable dance moves and the ability to make stale dialogue about the much-exploited ‘aam janta’, brand-new. But that’s it. If you’re the sort who can relate to an actor going all over the place, like a bull in a chinaware shop, fine. Those who crave more from cinema, however, may have serious issues about the goings-yawn.
Which are? Well. Our demi-god of a hero has had to quit the army because he disobeyed some obscure orders while rescuing those kid hostages. Apparently, unemployed now, he shoots the breeze with his amplifier-loud mom (Nadira Zaheer Babbar, over-the-top), a supremely irritating nephew (Yakety Yakathon) and a sister (Tabu, wasted), who has married against the Amplifier’s wishes. Sister keeps entering and exiting, theatrically, as if she had just been combed, touched up and synthesised in a vanity van. Incidentally, the Sister’s disapproved husband (Grin Carnival), eventually donates a kidney to his ma-in-law, and she approves of him instantly. How ‘matlabi’ is that?
So much for family values. Next: there’s a catatonic dancer (Daisy Shah, barely passable), who discos, Bharata Natyams, garbas and longs to marry our Jai. Who doesn’t ? He’s uber noble: he helps out a limbless girl (Genelia D’Souza, likeable as ever) to write her college examination papers, sheds tears when she commits suicide (a grisly 15 minutes of the plot, this), generally aids the meek of the earth. And takes on the mighty Monster Minister (Danny Denzongpa),his burly sons, a fidgety vamp and about a 1000 goons. As always, during the combat scenes, those goons patiently wait for their turn to be pummelled. Ouch. Surely the stunts could have been executed more plausibly.
Over to the big moment: the ripping apart of the shirt to exhibit abs, is a given. About the only ancient thing that’s missing are those dhishoom dhishoom sound effects.
Aah, so you wait patiently for the finale, to check out the list of cameo players, who almost seem to have been resurrected from the backwoods, be it Suneil Shetty, Ashmit Patel, Nauheed Cyrusi, Tulip Joshi or Vatsal Sheth. In fact, throughout the malarkey, there’s a population explosion.
The unremarkable dialogue attempts to get nationalist and jingoistic. Plus there’s a thoroughly odd visual – of an aged garage worker in underpants. Wazzat?
Sajid-Wajid’s music is nothing to hum or haw about either. On the techfront, the editing, sound design as well as the editing – especially the transitions – belong to the last millennium, enhancing the overall tedium. Ummm.
All said and endured, here’s the sort of average product which is immune to criticism. Say anything you honestly feel, down the decades it has been huffed – so what? That doesn’t make a jot of a difference. Correct. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t express your take. You may be in a minority of one or two, but you can’t help feeling that Salman Khan, like most of his peers, could do with immediate re-invention. Repetition and excess can sell. Unpleasant question: but for how long?