Friendship and doomed sobbed love, painful breakup, and sibling growing apart, cool parents and a man who doesn’t believe in gender bender is rarely portrayed in our films. As a man, cupid struck like a piercing arrow uninvited in this incredible city called Mumbai where suddenly the lamest thing came across as beautiful, pain was miracle and wounds turned into balm to me. Who says, gender should be dissected!
There are few gems like Jaane Tu…ya Jaane Na coming at a time when I was still a student in the 2008 and to think this year, this relatable film for the young gen clocked a decade plus one. Hard to fathom the years flitted by and multiple things Jaane Tu…ya Jaane Na taught me, making it super relatable. First, I could see myself in Jai when a difficult love-hate-love and eventually painful breakup relationship with S was unfurling. I was growing restless and eventually found solace in the bottle when Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na wiped it off! It held a mirror to my relationship. Dash of fresh air engulfed with this youth anthem effortlessly reminded us that male aggressivity and toxicity enshrined in patriarchy is not the way to approach a relationship, something I’ve never done.
The main character, Jai was brought up by a successful, educated and secure mother played brilliantly by Ratna Pathak which made him the confident man he grew into, found friendship with Aditi and eventually love. He never forced his woman to love him. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is all about free love and bonding where Abbas Tyrewala beautifully explores the deep and intense relationship between Jai and Aditi, first the entire equation and ode to friendship, before realizing that the best friend and girl closest can be the one.
Relationships are complex and fickle where the entire bonding between Aditi and her brother, played by Pratik is touching when he tells her, We were friends earlier till you found new ones. Such a beautifully explored aspect about our relationship and of course, Jai going out of his way to stand for his friend Aditi, the tomboyish making it endearing in showing that a woman can be all that she wants and not being judged by her group of friends. A lesson that can put B-School Gurus to shame!
An ode to the charm of college life, innocent crushes and friendship with two of the most amazing songs, Kabhi Kabhi Aditi and Pappu can’t dance saala brings us back to the lifetime memories carved and staying with us forever. One of my favorites was Jaane Tu Mera Kya Hai.” College days sums up life in my book, the best days and the feeling of living an entire life with perfection. Jaane Tu…made me live and re-live those days.
The film is also about love vs tradition hinging on violence and conservatism. Remember Ratna Pathak arguing with the portrait of husband Naseeruddin Shah. We laughed at the scenes. Yet, the director ingeniously drove an important point how such nonsensical tradition should never make the cut for it verges on this entire male toxicity and few tradition of the dark ages, carrying the lineage forward and the mother as the real boss bringing her son in a world where freedom and modernism can never be traded. It makes sense in 2019 when for instance, depression remains a very important issue that afflicts men yet there is always the fractured ego in refusing to own up. The biggest battle for a man to fight out this illusion that vulnerability is out of question and the movie is ahead of its time in gently teaching us about equality and the right way to tackle inner weaknesses.
Gender bender can be an illusion if we choose to blur the line between men and women, through social agents like Jai and Aditi. Emulating Jai and Aditi is the most sensible things to do. No overarching sexist jokes or so-called aggressivity in several other mainstream films doing a disservice in reminding women where their place lies in society, permeating sexism for between close friends and lovers, there are no superiority and inferiority running rampage. It is the film and ode to the young generation where inequality is not only lost but parents as the most loyal friends unlike the I told you so! Who says, tension cannot be diffused! Remember the howlarious fight between Aditi and the college bully. How Jai steps in for his friend but wins over the villain’s heart! Being manly doesn’t mean going on a rampage in an unintelligent manner to beat someone. Kick butts not with force but the brain!
The cherry on cake are the two brothers, Sohail and Arbaaz Khan the Rathore meeting Jai in jail, the only role where perhaps both of them acted. Both Khans looks dapper, suave and royal making the combo a treat. Cliche never looked more beautiful and stylish with the timeless Hindi film formula chasing the girl at the airport! Jai finally rides a horse to woo his lady love at the airport in what is the most epic scene, winning hearts, mistaken for a terrorist and singing few lines, albeit horrible, Tera Mujhse hai Pehle ka naata…Jaane tu ya Jaane na! The cop played by Murli Sharma is kick ass, “Terrorist gaana gaa raha hai, meow Sir, mein aaoon nahin!”
Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na is about not just love and friendship but Mumbai or Bombay the city shot in a landmark fashion and real-time, adding zing to the characters and tale. A true ode to Amchi Mumbai rendering a sense of realism and down to earth, a city witnessing our love, break up, loneliness or pain. Who can forget the sidekicks, Rotlu, Bombs, Jiggy and Shalini, the entire gang. Of course, I had a crush on Meghna, played by Manjari Phadnis and probably the namesake belongs to one of my closest friends in Mumbai. The characters, Meghna and Adita, while sparkling distinct to each other yet wearing similarities, the scars and inner battles faced. Don’t we all! This reminds us of everyone in the college group.
The vivacious energy in the film, right from the side kicks to the supporting cast and the main actors make Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na truly priceless, timeless and an underrated classic. I feel that Genelia as Aditi is sadly underrated in a way for she nails this performance in an awe-inspiring and bravura way. Of course, Imran’s easy and cool demeanor is everything Jai.
And, the parting gift by the ex to me was a video CD of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na songs to tell how much the film grew on me, the relatable quotient and tribute to real love lost. Truly a film which addressed masochism, sexism, misogyny and this false sense of ego among men denying fragility or fracture and fitting answer to the Kabir Singh that Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota! We don’t need to force our way to make a woman love us as wrongly depicted in several potboilers. For me, love and
masculinity dignity of a man respecting love scythes its place of honor in a film like Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na! Timeless and love vocabulary or commandment spanning across generations. 11 years of awesomeness!