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Review: Jhoom Barabar Jhoom

 
Rajeev Masand Reviews
 

  Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Preity Zinta, Lara Dutt, Bobby Deol, Amitabh Bachchan

Direction: Shaad Ali Sahgal

Welcome to the decadent world of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, an orgy of blinding lights, razmatazz costumes and enough bling jewellery to put even Puff Daddy to shame.

Director Shaad Ali Sahgal’s film stars Abhishek Bachchan as Ricky Thukral a Bhatinda-born fixer who bumps into Preity Zinta – who’s playing London-born Pakistani Alvira Khan – at Waterloo Station. Both are waiting for their respective fiancés to show up on a train from Birmingham, they tell each other, then proceed to narrate their respective love stories to the other.

Two hours later, when the train pulls in, Ricky and Alvira go their separate ways, but it’s clear they have a connection. Now, what to do?

Ricky and Alvira meet again, at a club in Southall with their respective partners – Lara Dutta and Bobby Deol, but things only get madder in this madcap musical until the end, when real lovers are united and secrets come tumbling out.

Oh, and yes…Amitabh Bachchan pops up every few minutes or so, dressed in a hideous technicolor jacket and a hat spiked with ostrich feathers, dancing to the beats of the title song.

Much like last year’s Jaanemann, Shaad Ali Sahgal’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is also directed like a musical, and it makes exactly the same mistake that Jaanemann did – it expects fabulous production values to compensate for a bad script.

Jhoom Barabar Jhoom has a superhit soundtrack, it’s sensationally choreographed and has excellent camerawork, but it’s still a film with a plot that just doesn’t work.

The screenplay is a mangled mess and much of it is so indulgent, you feel like the filmmakers are taking you for granted. I understand it’s meant to be a light-hearted romantic comedy but there’s no excuse for those tasteless jokes about Princess Diana’s death, or about why Indians and Pakistanis are constantly fighting.

I even thought that bit about Preity Zinta swearing not to fall for a kaala kalootha was horribly racist. As a little girl she prays to Jesus begging him to find her a man who’s as fair as Jesus himself, never a dark-skinned Asian.

Do we really want impressionable young children to think its okay to make such racist jokes?

You know, all that aside, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is still a tough pill to swallow because so much of it is so damn boring.

Those scenes in which Ricky and Alvira narrate their romantic stories are both tedious and bird-brained, and it’s hard to believe anyone over 12 years of age was involved in writing the script.

I’d have no problem at all if Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was merely a mad film. Mad can be entertaining if it’s done intelligently. But the problem with Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is that it’s stupid. And stupid is different from mad. Stupid suggests that the director isn’t in control of the film, and that’s absolutely true in the case of this film, which is really all over the place, it’s scattered because the script is so weak.

In all fairness, the second half of Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is marginally better than the first, and credit for that must go to Bobby Deol and Lara Dutta who’re both hilarious in the post-interval portions, especially Bobby who plays the dim-witted mamma’s boy to perfection.

Sadly you have no words of praise for Abhishek Bachchan or Preity Zinta who can’t rise above the flawed script. Abhishek Bachchan, in particular, hams it up and overacts as if he’s performing in a Dinyar Contractor stage-play.

Shot in Paris and London it may be, but Jhoom Barabar Jhoom is low-brow in its sensibilities, it goes for the kind of pavement comedy you’d usually associate with Madhur Bhandarkar’s films.

That scene in which Preity and Lara use cheap Hindi cusswords to prove their fluency in Hindi is a perfect example of the level the director will stoop to, in order to raise a few laughs from the front-benchers.

In the end, if it wasn’t for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music, Vaibhavi Merchant’s choreography and Ayananka Bose’s cinematography, there’d be nothing at all worth mentioning in this film.

Director Shaad Ali Sahgal ought to send bouquets to his technicians, they’ve done a great job – how you wish he’d have done the same.

I’m going to go with two out of five for Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, it’s an average film at best. Don’t go in expecting too much, perhaps you won’t be too disappointed.

Rating: 2 / 5 (Average)

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