When an actor like Anupam Kher changes tracks and decides to take up the directorial tasks in his hand, it is bound to generate a buzz, both positive and negative. Many would comment saying he should have taken a better script or he should have taken more saleable stars. Rest assured, Anupam KherÂ´s directorial tasks fall no way short of his acting talent. Producer Vashu Bhagnani sounded pretty upbeat in his pre-release interviews and had all the good words for Anupam Kher and the overall product. Yeah, the basic theme revolves around three brothers with a different approach to life, which has been executed many times before. But, when Anupam Kher said that his treatment of the subject would be different and wouldnâ€™t be fake, we had no reason to doubt him.
Om Jai Jagadish is the story of a mother Saraswati Batra (Waheeda Rehman) and her three sons Om (Anil Kapoor), Jai (Fardeen Khan) and Jagadish (Abhishek Bachchan). All three of them have different approaches to life but the same final destination. Om works for a music company and looks for fresh talent and launches them into the world of music. Jai, an ambitious character, is completing his degree in motor engineering abroad and has an aim of designing the fastest car in the world. Jagadish is like the guy next door, studying in college with a passion for computers and interested in hacking sites. Om, recognizing JaiÂ´s talent, takes a big loan from his employer (Parmeet Sethi) and sends Jai abroad. Jagadish, on the other hand, is carefree about his future and most of the times is hacking college databases to either get examination papers or change the attendance scores. Jai gets a job with a big automobile company on completing his education and expresses his desire to work there. But because he loves and respects his family and wants to stay together, he returns to India. He gets married to Nitu (Urmila), his girl friend from college abroad. Jagadish with a passion for computers, wants to take up a course to further specialize in the field and therefore requests Om for some money. Om, already under the burden of previous loans, refuses. Jagadish is upset because he thinks Om is favoring Jai over him. Soon, Jai and Nitu decide to return to USA, as Jai wants to pursue his career abroad. Om is shattered and looses his brothers, whom he loves the most. Next is how Om gets out of the burden of the loan and how the three brothers get back together and shows the importance of determination and self-respect in life.
Yes, the plot might have been witnessed many times, but what makes it a delight to watch is KherÂ´s treatment. Having worked with some of the top-notch directors like Yash Chopra, Mahesh Bhatt amongst many others, Anupam Kher commands a total grip over the subject. His narration is good. Though at the start you realize that he has rushed through the Anil-Mahima and the Abhishek-Tara Sharma episodes, it is only when the move unfolds further, you realize why he preferred to cut them short. The characterization of the 4 principal characters is just first rate and sure enough Anupam Kher knew what he wanted out of those characters. As a director, Anupam Kher knew where to differentiate between emotion and melodrama, reality and escapism. The climax, one of the best seen in recent times, goes through highs and lows of emotion without being melodramatic and there you know Anupam Kher is a winner as a director.
First some drawbacks and yeah there are some. The first half lacks proper editing. Though the first half is just over an hour, it is a bit irregular at places. The narration of the first half is also hindered by the use of many songs, one or two of which Anupam Kher could have done without. MahimaÂ´s character is under developed and though she has her moments, Anupam Kher and Rahul Nanda should have focused on her part and probably a little on the other supporting characters. Music of the movie is average and because of the songs it slows down the first half. Fardeen KhanÂ´s disappointments with his career and triumph in the second half, sounded a little very easy.
On the positive side and boy, the second half is just superbly executed by Anupam Kher. Not for once you feel like taking your eyes of the screen. The climax of the movie is touching. Art direction by Sabu Cyril is good. Rahul NandaÂ´s script, though not completely original, is strong on characterization of the principal characters. Technically the movie is decent and the picturization of "Chori-Chori" and "Pyar Ka Matlab" is very good.
Now to the performances and they are first-rate. Waheeda Rehman, portrays the character of Saraswati Batra with conviction. It seems the role was just written with her in mind and nobody else. Her expressions, whether joy or sadness, laughter of fear, proves the legend she is. Her dialogue at the climax and the scene where Fardeen wants to go back, makes you want to sit there and appluad. All her scenes with Anil Kapoor are some of the best in the movie. Fardeen Khan as Jai does justice to his role. He has some good lines and he delivers them well. The scene where he wants to go back and take up a job aboard, yet the love he has for his family is well done. Abhishek for the first time since his debut has looked so good and this can be called a sincere effort. He shares excellent screen chemistry with Anil Kapoor. Given a good director, he can really perform and though in comparison to Refugee he has less screen time, here he gets to perform and he does it with sincerity. Of the ladies, Urmila has the meaty role. Her role has negative shades and she does it well. Being her third movie with Fardeen, the pair looks decent on screen. Mahima, AnilÂ´s wife in the movie, plays the role of VJ turned "gharelu bahu". Tara Sharma looks cute in her debut. She doesnâ€™t have many scenes, other than a few songs. Supporting cast lead by Parmeet Sethi, Raju Kher lends decent support, yet under-developed. Last but not the least, the portrayal of Om by Anil Kapoor is the highlight of the movie. He plays the character that is the pillar of the Batra family as the big brother and sure his performance is also the pillar of the movie. It is hard to imagine anyone else of the current actors barring Naseeruddin Shah who can play this role with such conviction. His scenes are the real highlight of the movie and the emotion he has displayed proves the actor he is. He portrays the numerous shades of his character with utmost ease and that too heart-wrenching. Anupam Kher and Anil Kapoor, a combination to look for in the future.
Overall, the movie is worth the ticket. Anupam KherÂ´s direction, the performances and the treatment of the story, giving it the middle class family touch makes it a winner.