In spite of obvious similarities with the Drishyam films this Netflix film stands on its own thanks to the atmospherics coupled with its powerful cast.
September 24, 2023
For those who are not aware Sujoy Ghosh’s Jaane Jaan is based on the famous Japanese novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ by Keigo Higashino. This novel has seen many adaptations. In fact the Drishyam films are supposed to be inspired from this novel.
Jaane Jaan has been an eagerly awaited film for two reasons. One is its director Sujoy Ghosh who has established his credentials as a thriller specialist with Kahaani and Badla. Two is the diverse star cast featuring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma. Jaane Jaan is not in the same league as Kahaani but there is a lot to like here too.
Jaane Jaan primarily revolves around three characters. The setting of this film is a misty hill station called Kalimpong in West Bengal. Maya D’ Souza (Kareena Kapoor) is a single mother who works at the local café. Naren Vyas (Jaideep Ahlawat) is a mathematics teacher at a local school. Naren is also Maya’s neighbour. He is socially awkward but is besotted with Maya. Maya comes with a dark past which is connected to her ex husband Ajit Mhatre (Saurabh Sachdeva). Her new life is shaken up by his re entry but in an accidental scuffle husband dies. She buries him with the help of her neighbour.
Vijay Varma is a police Inspector who is assigned the task of finding Ajit Mhatre. For a change his character Karan Anand is not a deranged psycho (like in Darlings, Dahaad and Pink). What follows is a survival thriller of a determined single mother in the style of Drishyam films. In this case she also has the help of her besotted neighbour .
First and foremost Jaane Jaan is not about who the culprit is. So it is not a story of whodunit in the classical sense. It is more about how the culprit evades the authorities. Sujoy Ghosh takes his own sweet time to establish the daily routine of Maya and how Naren secretly loves her. For some the slow pace might be a hindrance but these portions are necessary in the overall scheme of things.
A big plus for Jaane Jaan is the technical department headed by Avik Mukhopadhyay. He captures the different colour pallets brilliantly through his lens. His cinematography is such that the hill station becomes a character in itself.
The background music composed by the band of Shor Police is in complete sync with the mood of the film. There is no scope for songs in a film like this but the title number pictured on Kareena Kapoor makes for a good watch and listen.
Kareena Kapoor Khan successfully takes off from where she left in Laal Singh Chaddha. Her Maya D’ Souza is a mixture of steely resilience, vulnerability and charm among other things. Kareena delivers a knock out in her debut digital project.
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The way Jaideep Ahlawat who played Naren is smitten by Maya brings a smile to the viewer’s face. His love for Maya and the extent to which he helps her makes you wish that Maya had ended up with him. He was terrific in bringing out the various nuances of his character.
Vijay Varma for a change is a charming cop and the actor plays it with the required coolness. It is refreshing to see Vijay in this avatar. The scenes between Vijay and Kareena are good to watch. During the investigation Karan also falls in love with Maya and the scenes where he flirts with her are adorable. Saurabh Sachdeva is pitch perfect as the abusive husband in his brief screen time.
Jaane Jaan does suffer from editing issues. The film could have been cut short by fifteen minutes. The climax has the typical shock value of a Sujoy Ghosh thriller although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.