Reviewing the Reviews: 1.5 to 3.5 stars for Jai Ho

27 Jan,2014

By Deepa Gahlot

Jai Ho
Director: Sohail Khan
Starring: Salman Khan, Tabu, Sana Khan, others

It’s a Salman Khan film, what can you expect but nonsense seemed to be the tone of every review; all critics well aware that Jai Ho is  the kind of film that exists in its own intellect-proof universe. If Salman Khan fights, dances, and takes his shirt off in the end, his fans are happy. They wouldn’t care about the story, director or leading lady.

Salman Khan goes through the motions with a kind of sneering brazenness, that comes with big profit– does he care about cinema as an art form?  Naaah!

Believe that a smooth, well-muscled dude who can beat up 200 guys is a common man, and everything else goes down easy.

Jai Ho got ratings from 1.5 to 3.5 and an overgenerous 4.5 from trade writer Taran Adarsh, that must have surprised even the Khan Brothers who made this film.

Baradwaj Rangan of The Hindu commented, “There’s no effort evident anywhere. Then there are the action scenes where Jai bites an opponent’s arm and roars and slashes his fingers across a cheek, leaving behind marks like those by a claw. Finally, we get the line, this film’s conceit: Aam aadmi sota hua sher hai. The common man is a sleeping tiger. I can’t vouch for the tiger bit, but as the film went on, this common man was definitely close to sleeping.”

Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express wrote, “The usual cautionary warning in the opening credits should have been replaced by this : in the making of this film, no Salman Khan fan was hurt. Because that’s all ‘Jai Ho’, like all Bhai vehicles, aspires to. But even for those that adore the man with agate bracelet, I’d say his new flick is little more than a damp squib. The faithful who had gathered to have themselves a time on the first day first show could only be roused on two counts : one when he is wading into the baddies, and the other when he is at the centre of a running joke involving the size of a young fellow’s goolies, and the colour of a girl’s underwear. Yes, that’s right.”

Aniruddha Guha of Time Out ranted, “Over the years, Sohail’s made one dud after another, among them Auzaar, Hello Brother and Maine Dil Tujhko Diya. After a 12-year hiatus, he returns to direct this remake of Telugu hit, Stalin, which itself was a rehash of the Hollywood film, Pay It Forward. Sohail lacks any sense of storytelling and finesse, but gets to direct an event film that is expected to set the box office on fire, and features his superstar sibling Salman Khan.”

Anupama Chopra rightly asked if it was even a film. “In all honesty, I’m confused about how to evaluate Jai Ho. Because it’s not a film. It’s a cartoon. So, to point out that the story is laughably ridiculous or that the characterisation has no depth seems churlish. After all, you can’t go to see a cartoon and then complain about its disconnect with reality.”

Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN was left cold by the film. “To be honest, very little stays with you when you leave the cinema, aside from the unpleasant aftertaste that comes from being shamelessly manipulated. From exploiting limbless little girls, to showing us beggar children being assaulted, the film stops at nothing in its attempt to move you to tears. If your heart does go out, it’s to the few good actors who’re wasted by being made to stand around and participate in this silliness.”

Sukanya Verma of wrote, “What could have been a relevant crowd-pleaser with a little effort from Sohail Khan and his writers is mostly a tedious and overcrowded drivel that shamelessly depends on Salman’s strapping charisma to tide them over.

Nandini Ramnath of Mint commented that Jai Ho delivers just what it promises, which isn’t much. “What we get from Jai Ho the movie: Salman Khan saves his family honour and, by extension, the honour of the nation, in slow motion, single-handedly dispenses a battalion of baddies, rattles off repeat-value dialogue, romances a freshly excavated young female whom we might never see on screen again, divests himself of his upper garment and wriggles his bottom.”

Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror wrote, “Purely as a superhero film, Jai Ho works on far greater levels than, say, a Krrish 3. Petty powers like flying, web-spitting palms or acting aren’t required, because the man has hands. And they’re not the 2.5-kilo version. He even has legs that can kickstart an ambulance.  In one partially believable adrenalin-pumping sequence, Jai even uses a ballpoint pen to stab three vile villains. Not sure if there’s a subtle message for film critics in there somewhere…”

Vinayak Chakravorty of India Today joked, “Jai Ho! Here comes the common man. Watch him snub gravity like Spider-Man and power punch the goons like Iron Man, and then declare he is aam aadmi. You realise it’s only Salman. In planet Bollywood the superstar will always be superhero and he doesn’t need to wear a cape to prove as much, or the chaddi outside his pants.”

And then the usual praise from Times of India’s Madhureeta Mukherjee. “The film has the heart and the haath (read: fist) in the right place.”  Indeed…in the gullible viewer’s pockets!



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