Confessions of a JBJ fanOk, I admit it: I liked the movie "Jhoom Barabar Jhoom". Anyone who has been at the receiving end of several of my raised eyebrows when it comes to "their" choices in films is welcome to liberally use this fact against me.
I must begin by first admitting that despite a fondness for Shaad Ali and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Abhishek Bachchan, I was all prepared to hate "Jhoom...". It was a Yash Raj Film, it had the likes of Bobby Deol and Lara Dutta, there was all this hype, the faux-accent of Preity Zinta in the trailers. But come opening weekend, this film got pummeled, and "Sivaji the Boss" even superseded the hype-meisters themselves. I was chuckling.
One way of dealing with a Yash Raj flop is to say it must really have been bad for it to dive (recall the arithmetical n'n's'nse called "Neal 'n' Nikki"). The other is that the movie might actually be good. I recalled the cheeky humour of "Bunty aur Babli", and set out to watch JBJ.
It was silly, but it was, undeniably, fun. Like with Bunty aur Babli, I could see myself switching in any point in the first half of the film and enjoying proceedings. Piyush Mishra was brilliant. Lara Dutta's French accent was a revelation. Bobby Deol's schizophrenic performance was 'cute'. AB and PZ were ok, but the chemistry hit heights in the songs. And what choreography!
The picturisation of Bol Na Halke Halke alone would have been worth the price of admission. Simply mindblowing. I rewound the inspired fading of the Taj Mahal from reflection to reality a million times in my head. The Coolie reference, the Humayun ka Makbara, the streets and roads of Delhi, the Yamuna and the Taj showing that the Mani Ratnam film genes in Shaad Ali Sehgal were asserting their influence, the masjid-gurudwara sequence bringing together both sides of Shaad's parentage, the all-encircling camera - all in one unforgettable song that demands applause for Vaibhavi Merchant, Ritesh Soni, and Ayananka Bose.
Baradwaj revisited the film in a typically brilliant article about musicals doing badly. I haven't seen any of the other films, especially "Jaan-e-Mann", which is supposed to inhabit the same space as JBJ. I don't know why very few people liked "Jhoom...". The second half was not so great, but the cheekiness and interesting-ness of the script that was accused of being story-less kept me hooked. A major crib was the director completely ruining what could have been the in-joke of the season: by unnecessarily drawing attention to AB-BD on a scooter by playing "yeh dosti...". If only he had let it go by silently - it would have been that much more satisfying to those who'd have noticed. "Bunty aur Babli" also had a "yeh dosti" moment, so Shaad, next time, a little more understatement please.
The JBJ experience has somehow changed me. I have been confronted by my biases. I realise all this movie-liking business is not so easy after all. Anyway, I'll leave it to "AnaiDaa" to have the last word. As she puts it eloquently (with a little help from Monsieur Gulzar):
no, no, monsieur, no, no, itnaa simple nahii.n, chal dafaa ho kahii.n