November 18, 2011
In her second film Na Jaane Kabse, producer-director-writer Pammi Somal carries forward the style she established in her debut release Mummy Punjabi this year. So yes, the film has a certain polish that comes from lovely outdoor locations well shot. But the production issues on other fronts, the poorly developed script, the abundance of cliches about plain Janes and Punjabis, the leading man, the sub-standard dialogues and the veterans in the supporting cast who unabashedly over-act all add up to a film that is really tough to endure.
The story is of Karan whose bride leaves him on his wedding day. He runs off to escape her furious family who are under the impression that he is the one who ditched her, and not vice versa. On the road, he takes a lift from Anjali In Thick Glasses And An Unstylish Outfit. Since the hero repeatedly taunts her for her oily hair, I have to believe him though I couldn’t see any grease. Anyway, it turns out that Karan’s business partner is expecting him to return with a bride since the plan is to promote their new holiday resort as a place so romantic that the owner himself decided to spend his honeymoon there. The international press is waiting! Now what is a man to do?! Well of course he asks Anjali to play his pretend wife. And that’s how their relationship begins.
There’s so much about Na Jaane Kabse that made me cringe, I don’t know where to start. Okay, let’s begin at the very beginning:
- Pammi Somal really needs to rid herself of this penchant to use cue cards to introduce her characters while flashing text and thought bubbles on screen that are meant to be cute. They are decidedly not. Karan’s introductory shot is accompanied by the words “bechara complexed (sic) Karan”. For Anjali the words are, “confused but confident Anjali”. And the interval is announced with the words “Hai Rabba, problem shuru.”
- Lillette Dubey (who plays Karan’s professional associate in this film) is superbly fit and trim for her age, but I wish she would stop accepting roles where she’s projected as this older hottie. It’s become trite and it’s beginning to feel rather ageist now. Likewise, why oh why did Himani Shivpuri debase herself by playing a cheesy middle-aged seductress?
- Since a large number of Hindi film makers are Punjabis, we’ve been well acquainted with Punjabi culture over the years via Bollywood. But that doesn’t mean the stereotype of the loud, brash, crude Punjabi can’t be grating when over-done and over-used. A boisterous character introducing himself to strangers as “Balwant Singh from Punjab” made me squirm in my seat.
- Seriously, there’s nothing more uncool than a person trying to be cool. At one point a character uses the acronym BKBBG to signify “bartender ki biwi bhaag gayee”. Uff!
- And could we please rise above schoolboy humour and toilet jokes? I mean, there’s nothing funny about Anjali’s dad getting loosies!!! Grow up!
Rating (out of five): 1/4 (a quarter star for the camerawork at beautiful locations in Ladakh & Punjab)
CBFC Rating: U
Photograph courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/NaJaaneKabse