Friday, January 24, 2014

REVIEW 241: JAI HO



Release date:
January 24, 2014
Director:
Sohail Khan
Cast:






Language:

Salman Khan, Tabu, Naman Jain, Daisy Shah, Danny Denzongpa, Sana Khan, Nadira Babbar, Genelia Deshmukh, Mukul Dev, Mahesh Thakur, Ashmit Patel, Suniel Shetty, Pulkit Samrat
Hindi

I’ve just come away from watching the most unexciting Salman Khan film since Veer in 2010. Jai Ho has none of the slick action of Wanted that helped Salman cross over from his traditional fan base to a larger audience. It has none of the action comedy of Dabangg that planted him firmly in the midst of this new-found following. In fact, it has little that’s new to offer within the Salman Khan genre of films (and yes, that is a separate genre).

Jai Ho is an official remake of the 2006 Telugu film Stalin which was inspired by the US film Pay It Forward. In the original, a child (played by Haley Joel Osment) starts a goodwill network kicked off by doing a favour to someone and asking the recipient of the favour to “pay it forward” to three others who are in turn asked to pay it forward to three more, until it becomes a national campaign. Since Indian film industries are adult-star-obsessed, the child of the Hollywood film becomes an adult played by a major male superstar in both Tollywood and Bollywood: Chiranjeevi in Telugu and Salman Khan in Hindi.

In Jai Ho, Salman plays ex-fauji Jai Dikshit, a one-man army who smashes to bits any man he catches doing wrong in his presence. His penchant for fisticuffs unwittingly earns him the enmity of the state Home Minister Dashrath Singh. Somewhere in between, when he rescues a kidnapped baby, he asks the child’s parents not to thank him but instead to do a favour to three people and further ask each of those three to help three others. That chain of favours gets lost somewhere along the way as director Sohail Khan gets diverted to what seems like the primary task of most of Salman’s directors these days: to show us how cute Salman is, how intimidating his fists are, how well-muscled his body is, how the sun rises from his eyes, how the earth revolves around that sun and how he is the centre of the film’s universe.

Sohail seems so complacent that he has neglected every other department in Jai Ho. The songs are lousy. The dances are lacklustre. Equally lacklustre is Daisy Shah, the light-eyed, light-skinned, slim-waisted actress chosen to play Jai’s girlfriend, possibly based on the MCP assumption that it doesn’t matter who the hell is the heroine so long as “Bhai” is in the film.

So unimaginative is Jai Ho that despite being a die-hard advocate of heroes going bare-chested in films, I found myself torn between yawning and being offended when Salman, as expected, finally does reveal that impeccable torso here. The man is in the middle of a truly gruesome fight. He’s been punched, shot and stabbed. He’s bleeding and in pain. Getting him to take off his top right at that point to pleasure his viewers felt truly distasteful. Was his battered, broken body meant to be titillating? In the past I have pointed out that the objectification of a willing woman is not objectionable if the goal is to provide visual pleasure without demeaning, degrading or dehumanising her. The same argument holds for our chest-flashing heroes. There have been other films in which Salman’s shirt has come off mid-fight, but they were handled better. In Dabangg, for instance, there was humour in that moment in which the wind ripped off Salman’s shirt. Today’s scene, especially considering that Jai Ho takes itself far more seriously than Dabangg, was disquieting.

Such mindlessness should not come as a surprise though in a film in which a female adult makes an inappropriate comment about a little boy’s shrivelled penis, and that child in turn nicknames her Pinky, after her pink panties, much to his Uncle’s amusement. The boy in question is Jai’s nephew (played by Naman Jain from Chillar Party) whose character is one of the loudest, crudest, most irritatingly precocious children I’ve seen in a Hindi film.

The irony is that Jai Ho’s most bearable performance comes from Tabu playing Jai’s sister Geeta. The two together give us the film’s nicest scenes. If she had been the lover, Jai Ho may have been worthwhile. But hey, it’s unthinkable in Bollywood that a 40-plus actress would play the girlfriend of a major male star even though that male star looks every bit the 48 years that he is, appears a bit tired (I noticed with a twinge of sadness) the way he did in 2012’s Ek Tha Tiger, seems no longer as light on his feet as he once was; and all this got emphasised by the fact – loudly expressed by a lady in the hall where I watched this film – that “woh heroine uski beti lagti hai”. The old order changeth, even though Bollywood and Bhai’s fans resisteth.

The film is as tired. The only novelty is that Salman here not only beats up people, he also roars in Sunny Deol style and – get this – he bites. Sunny roared in so many films that it got tiresome. Then in Yamla Pagla Deewana in 2011, he revved up the cliché by inviting us to laugh at it. Still, in his heyday he could pull off a tiger’s roar. Salman looks weird doing it, especially since he spends so much of the rest of the film talking gently about social change. Tigers are an endangered species for no fault of theirs. It’s boring films like THIS that deserve to go extinct.

Having said that, Jai Ho unexpectedly served an educational purpose for me. I’ve learnt today that “gando is Gujarati for “crazy”. The resemblance in sound to a certain Hindi word becomes the reason for much mirth in one scene in which Pinky yells at Jai in her mother tongue. Let this not mislead you though. Jai Ho is only mildly crude in comparison with most Akshay Kumar films of recent years. What’s the Gujarati word for “dull”? Wish Pinky had told us that too.

Rating (out of five): *1/2

CBFC Rating (India):
U/A
Running time:
145 minutes

Videos courtesy: Everymedia PR
Dialogue promo 1:


13 comments:

  1. U r such a ugly female writter and ugly is ur heart! Even i hv watchd jai ho n othr millions r al thumbs up 4 it. N u giving it just half star is an insult 4 u as a critic. If a hatke movie like jai ho deserves 1/2 star, how wud joker, karle pyaar karle deserve. U r still an amateur critic and ur introduction says it all as u r infamous peice of shit. M not abusing u but telling u 2 improve ur taste 1st n then b a critic. Critics b biased and also its better if u change ur proffession if u continue writting da same with poor judgemental abilities.

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    1. English, please.

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    2. Neil-ugly? Relevance? First of all she has given it 1 and a half stars....your reading abilities are quite similar to your writing abilities it appears. So firstly get your facts straight. And just because she doesn't agree with you, she's ugly and her heart is ugly and she's amateur? Do you know the meaning of infamous? You call her shit and then say u r not abusing - looks like your thinking abilities are also as bad as the writing and reading! :D How can someone 'improve their' taste? Tell me, if she likes 'karela' and you don't like it, should she tell you to change your tastes? No, she will only advice that you must try to have it, because it's high on nutrition. She wouldn't abuse or fight - that's for your mother to do! :D Now, go back to school, learn how to read, and write, and also sharpen your brains, and then maybe come back and talk. Good day to you Sir~ ~~~

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    3. Surprised that Anna hasn't given it -2987579405773!! :)

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    4. One word for your 'bhaitard' or 'saltard'

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Dear neil, just because a movie brings in the money doesn't mean that it's a sensible entertaining piece. Seeing that u r a die hard salman fan I guess logic would not make any dent may be if a shirtless torso were to speak, u would probably agree to the above opinion

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  4. Bad Bad Review... well said neil... Anna certainly movie doesnt deserves 1 and half star... Its one of the best Salman movie... and performance... Salman fans want more of him on screen so he has been given maximum footage so whats a big deal about it.. atleast this movie had some logic compared to bakwass Dhoom 3... I thought ur a calculated and matured critic but sorry to say you are no where near that... and salman is looking so young on screen and tabu is looking like his elder sister how can she be his heroine... so this shows you have bad judgement abilities... I was ur fan before this review but not anymore...

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    1. You have to be balancedJanuary 25, 2014 at 2:46 PM

      'Bad Bad Review'??? How can a review be bad or good? It maybe a differing opinion, but how can it be bad or good? Salman looked old and tired even in Bodyguard and Ek Tha Tiger, he needs to act his age, and obviously his body is giving way, so all the more reason. Tabu, is a young beauty, would be like the beauty (Tabu) with the beast (Salman), whether they were lovers, siblings, mother-son or whatever relationship they share in a movie. Even if she DOES look like an elder sister, can't an older person be someones wife or can't an older looking person b some1's lover? I think if you are not her fan anymore, it's good riddance to bad rubbish, because, as a fan you have to have the balance to agree and disagree with what a person says or does - for instance, if you are a Salman fan and if a movie is bad, u should be able to say that it's bad and not blindly say it's good just cos you're a fan, you could very well like his next movie. Same goes for your love for critics. Jai Ho!!! :P :D

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  5. Very well written review Anna. Your review is far more interesting than salman genre movies. To salman maniacs " if you are offended with this review , then good news is that you are in a majority and bad news.... of *sshole*"

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  6. Very poor review. #JaiHo is way better than other Salman movies. Atleast it has a message!

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  7. My only problem with the review is your tone regarding the heroine of the film and labeling it an MCP decision. The fact there isn't a substantial role written for the heroine is a different argument, but it makes perfect sense economically and logistically to take a pretty face newcomer with dates who isn't going to cost as much as a good actress in the context of this film and the way the heroine's role is written. You can label the writing of the female role as MCP, but it would be unfair to call the casting a result of the MCP mentality.

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  8. I am a Salman Khan fan, but I guess not of the variety who blindly follow everything. He is a good person, with all his faults what saves him is that he know who he is. This movie is not well made - but as he said himself in one interview - the director of the ship is the captain - in this case the blame falls on the entire team - director foremost and others. This is a good review, I found another good one that I won't link here but you can search for - an open letter on koimoi.

    I was disappointed. Yet people all over are professing they enjoyed the movie - they must have to say so - so all the more power to them - they got something back for their money - which I didn't.

    So far, I've been disappointed every time a khan brother has directed Salman Khan. Last movie of his that I really enjoyed was Ek Tha Tiger - where his persona - his superstardom really shone through and took the movie to another level - which other film stars might not be have been able to do.

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