Jaane Jaan Killed Devotion of Suspect X for Me . Read Full Review

October 18, 2023 0 Comments

 I was equally thrilled and doubtful when I heard that one of my favorite novels [read the review here] will be made in a film soon. With Kareena Kapoor as lead, the expectations went higher and I was eager to see it translated into a motion picture. While I had my doubts about the Bollywood mainstream execution. The doubts were somewhat backstage when I learned about other character lines, esp Ahlawat and Vijay Verma. If you know me, you would know that I had extra soft corners for character actors [ all due to their immense yet underrated acting talent] than the stars. To me, these character actors are the real stars, and not otherwise, as they really live up to the role and leave a better impression in any film. 

Coming back to the Devotion of Suspect X, being translated as Jaane Jaan in Bollywood, were my fears real? Did the film live up to the great expectations that the novel created? What went right or wrong for me? Read more to know...

1) Prose to Picture: First thing First, the storyline was unique with a dash of maths for mystery. I read this book way back in the early 2000s. I must say that when the book was given to me for review- I wasn't at all excited. I wasn't a big audience of Japanese or Asian Fiction books [given low exposure of course] but given the genre, I picked up and needless to say, was left being a fan of this book. Yeah, I read the English translated version of course. 

Now, converting a Japanese story into Indian Parlance may be a tough cookie and needs a little more genius than expected. Since am not a genius, I would leave that comment but will talk only as a viewer who chanced to have read the book before the film. Many other films were being made on this book, including the famous Drishyam [the Malayalam version which is leagues ahead of the Hindi one] allegedly being inspired by this book. Yet, I haven't watched many of those films but now am eager to watch one of them. 

So translating the Japanese story into Indian parlance was a tough cookie and the makers played safe by placing it in the eastern part of the country. The cloud-kissed roads and muggy mornings were all beautiful but not as dreamy as NE is. The book was quite elaborative [ of course] and could paint a picture of everything while you read black and white. The film fails to do so despite an impressive North East backdrop. The story, characters, and the background didn't blend for me. 

2) Stars over Characters: Kareena Kapoor looked great yet she looked less like Sonia or Maya and more like Kareena. In the novel, you feel empathetic with the protagonist Yasuko, here that was missing. Ditto with the other 2 actors. Jaideep A, I felt was most brilliant but he was made to look unnecessarily repulsive when he could have gotten away with being made to look just plain and unattractive. Now, these two things are different hope you will understand how. The charisma of a maths-led narrative was reduced to mere a backdrop when it could have been more impactful.

3) Emphasis on the star rather than story, dojo rather than double genius.

Unnecessary emphasis was given to the opening fight scene of Vijay Verma. Was it an action film? No. Itna playing to the gallery could have been avoided kyunki then the story would become the backdrop and the stars would look like focus objects. Stars and not characters I must clarify. 

you feel as if those scenes and references were created to push/ maintain an image rather than being part of the storyline. It looked superficial. 

We all know Kareena is hot and could see that. Kareena. Yet the repeated instances looked rather odd, over-pushing than emphasizing. It felt like actors were not paid adequately and the director promised to substantiate that less by portrait and more by repeating sentences. 

The actor who played Ajit could be a good case in point. No efforts or lines were made to tell how sinister he could be, yet with his limited screen time and presence he seamlessly, creates that impression about him. 

While I liked how they infused mathematics with A=B=C in the film, much for the comprehension of a mathematically challenged person like me, the overall impact was missing. And so was the conjecture of the film's title [the famous Bollywood song] with the story. You keep on wondering why the film was named Jaane Jaan. 

4) Too much Too fast

So Vijay Verma was portrayed as a genius police officer with a sharp mind and great fitness, yet his solving 2+2=5 within a few minutes, looked disjointed, too quick, and to the fashion of reverse calculating a problem when you have the solution.

The climax was different than the book but was cliched. 

Numerounity Verdict: The film is a good time to watch and could have done better in theaters with its sound, backdrop, and subject. As a person who read the book accidentally [as I am not in Japanese lit] and loved it, the film falls short of expectations. Given the fact that it borrower almost everything from the Kai Wang film. If you separate the film from the Novel, then this film is way better than Neeyat. Otherwise, it is just another bad copy.

Is this film better than OMG 2? Stay tuned to this blog.

Update: OMG 2 had a brilliant subject but again a star-struck treatment. the film banked too much on its star assets that it failed to focus on overall editorial. OMG1 was way better and crisp. This one was a mishmash and again a case of a lost cause. 


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Neeyat or Bad-Neeyat? Film Review

September 12, 2023 0 Comments

The problem with most new whodunnit, Indian murder mystery movies is that they lack novelty. They all look almost alike, drawn from multiple Hollywood films, widely and popularly streaming on OTT.

Here you can question my use of widely and popularly in the same line, however, that will not change the fact that Neeyat turned out to be a Badneeyat for me. Here let me tell you my views in bullets. 

1) Deja Vu, Over a top setting that doesn't just blend it.

Ok when you saw Glass Onion [one of the many inspired by films], you know it was made in a typical American, OTT manner. The island, the costumes, and the characters looked entirely from the land, part of the plot. In Neeyat, they looked mostly caricaturish. It is like the elaichi in your biryani or let me say- pasta ingredients inside the biryani handi. Ram Kapoor may be taken as an exception along with Prajakta but this can't be said for the rest of the cast. 

The actors were good and made for an interesting cast for me but their portrayal was below expectations or injust for their skills. And pl no matter how much we may have liked Shashank Arora in "Made in Heaven", he looked quite a misfit for a grown-up, estranged son. Most of them including Vidya Balan were wasted except for Rahul Bose who after an initial cliche appearance, looked quite true to his character in the film. 

Shefali Chayya was a fresh breath but then her role was hit and miss. What if she played Vidya Balan's character?

2) Vidya Balan's role looked less like a character than the scriptwriter's. 

She played the role of an impersonator, a CBI head, and from 1st scene, you can make out that she is far from the Officer and something else is cooking. On top of it, her finding answers to every single question in the room was far-fetched and again nauseating. You can easily guess that she has something to do with the lady in the news who committed suicide and the unleashing was less surprising but looked like a tick in the box. you know what I mean. Anyways, moving ahead.

3) Far-fetched Climax

I will not spoil for people who have not seen the film but if you have watched a few crime films, you will make out whether it was a murder or suicide. The truth is interesting but again the narration is just poor. It felt like they wanted to make a lavish murder mystery somehow, by hook and crook without actually spending time on craft and quality.

The movie indeed had a good story but the execution was more caricaturish than cherishable. It neither makes you think nor gives you an "Oh my gosh" moment at all. For me, it was quite a yawnfest and I wonder if my experience would have been different if I had not seen Glass Onion and Murder Mystery.

It is a one-time watch and the best watch on TV. 

Numerounity Rating 2/5

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