Reviewing the Reviews: Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani

03 Jun,2013

Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani

Key Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin

Written & Directed By: Ayan Mukherji

Produced By: Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar

 

After quite a while comes a movie that gets critics divided – what is called “mixed reviews”. The film got ratings ranging from 2 to 4, which is a wide span, and had some loving it, and some blah-ing it with a ‘so what’s new?’

 

It is a Dharma production, so it is lavishly funded with production values that say gleam. Ayan Mukerji’s second after the universally liked Wake Up Sid is more Bollywood romcom formula than the earlier one, but performances, music and dialogue (by newbie Hussain Dalal) lift it up several notches. The target audience of teens have already given it a big thumbs up, and Ranbir Kapoor has got his Big Opener.

 

Rajeev Masand of IBNlive grumbled, “It’s a pity the treatment has a been-there-seen-that feel to it because there are some modern ideas hidden underneath all that fluff. Part of what makes Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani warm and fuzzy is the friendship that Bunny and his die-hard buddies Aditi and Avi share, despite their shifting dynamics over eight years. Mukerji understands and nicely puts across the bittersweet qualities that friendships go through, and more often than once I found myself misty-eyed. Even love is viewed rather practically by the four key characters here – it’s nice if you’ve found someone, but it needn’t be the end of the world if you’re not in a relationship. It’s refreshing also that Mukerji doesn’t tie up all the loose ends in the movie; not everyone gets the perfect happy ending.”

 

Sukanya Verma of rediff.com loved it. “‘You can’t have it all. You will miss out on some things. So why not enjoy what’s in hand?’ recommends Naina enjoying the gorgeous view from a vantage point of a grand fort, just few minutes short of witnessing a breathtaking sunset. Bunny, the recipient of her suggestion, reluctantly agrees. They have a good evening. Director Ayan Mukerji’s second endeavour, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani works exactly like this scene from the movie. You know that content smile you return with after spending time in fond company over effortless laughter and magical connections? That.”

 

The same site’s other critic Raja Sen was not as impressed. “For this is a very good-looking film. It is a film with almost exclusively pretty people, each primped up and glossed and shot at their most flattering, and every time Pritam’s songs burst through the speakers, Ayan Mukerji’s film gallops into gear like the run-rate when the bowler has a towel tucked into his pants. There’s a zingy energy to the uptempo proceedings, the lead actors are at their most electrifying, and the sheer, heady enthusiasm is deliriously grand. Even the greatest heroine in all the land merrily shakes her caboose. It’s huge fun. What should have been a breeze turns into a pained plod, and while things still look all glossy, the songless part of the movie – the story, we dare say? – remains dismally predictable and awfully contrived, eventually becoming quite a bore. When the songs aren’t playing, however, this is a daftly childish film, one where most actors act half their age and the narrative stumbles forward inanely and gracelessly.”

 

Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express was lukewarm too, “It’s been a few minutes since I stepped out of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and I’m finding it hard to remember what I’ve just seen. This is not the sort of amnesia that you have to force yourself into after a bad, blah film. This is because I’ve seen this brand new film, and its characters so many, many times before. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is a been-here, seen-this, much-too-long glossy creature, and not much else.”

 

Sanjukta Sharma of Live Mint commented, “Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani runs on an unmistakable, foolproof formula: The story is secondary; the song, dance, costumes and stars are supreme. When executed cleverly and with good actors, this formula blurs the difference between trash and art. We, unapologetic Bollywood lovers, willingly suspend disbelief and surrender, let Bollywood transport us from the dull funk of life.”

 

Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV wrote, “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is a bright, breezy and brassy film designed for easy consumption. What it certainly is not is ballsy. For all the big ideas about life and the dilemmas of youth that it tosses up in the air over a runtime that’s 20 minutes shy of three hours, it always opts to play safe, vacillating between thoughts of rebellion and acts of conformity. The characters spout familiar platitudes to each other: live your dream, get a life and move on, stop pitying yourself and learn to love thyself…We have seen and heard it all before.”

 

Shubha Shetty-Saha of Mid-day was not upbeat either. “At two hours and 40 minutes, the movie is a tad too long but while the snail-walk pace irks at places, it works on other occasions. What really bothers is the cliches that the filmmaker indulges in at times. To cite one instance, why does a ‘good’ girl in a Hindi film always have to prove her worthiness by burning the gas stove and cooking parathas for an entire army of strangers even when she is supposed to be holidaying? The characters are no novelty, they have been seen umpteen times earlier. But it is the treatment that makes it ‘alag’ and the credit must go to the director with a mature, sorted head on his young shoulders. Watch this at least once. It feels like a slow dive into the depths of emotions, at times fulfilling and at times uncomfortable.”

 

Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror was disappointed too. “The film itself doesn’t move ahead except for a time jump between the halves. It stays within the quadrangle of its leads and the characters in their orbits. Often there is more to the philosophy of the film than what meets the eye, but it is often masked or nullified by booming Bollywood elements. It is only in the second half that a plot kicks in and the real conflict finally takes shape about 15 minutes from the end. It’s too late to touch you in a way it could’ve.”

 

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