My expectations were soaring from JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM. The movie reunites Abhishek Bachchan fresh from the success of his blistering performance in GURU with director Shaad Ali Sahgal after the success of SAATHIYA and BUNTY AUR BABLI. The rest of the casting with Preity Zintaa, Lara Dutta, Bobby Deol and Amitabh Bachchan in a guest appearance was also fresh. The energetic promos were a visual treat for the eyes, and the music was superlative, so does JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM live up to expectations? In my humble opinion, YES….! The movie is a full-fledged fun-filled ride with little in the way of a story yet like his previous film BUNTY AUR BABLI he has managed to make an immensely entertaining and intermittently likeable film which leaves the viewer with a big smile on their face right from the very start till the very end…paisa vasool!
The story of JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM was for the majority kept a secret until its release, and that’s mainly because there isn’t much of one at all. The writer Shaad Ali has constructed a film that relies less on story, and more on the charm, charisma and sheer madness of its cast and their comic timing. Ali takes one oldest clichés in Indian cinema yet manages to pack it into a fresh and rather appealing romantic-comedy. Ali’s ability to maintain a fine line between the technical finesse of Hollywood while maintaining the earthy soul of “Bollywood” is evident here again after BUNTY AUR BABLI. But JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM is not a con-caper by any means, yes it does feature yet another “twist-in-the-tale” like Abhisheks previous release Rohan Sippy’s BLUFFMASTER, but here the focus is more on the romance than anything else. The axe in Ali’s story comes from Screenplay writer Habib Faisal who manages to “stop” the movie for certain periods relying entirely on the charm of its stars to take the movie forward (or to the next song!!). Ali’s penchant for putting on a musical score is simply magnificent here yet again after BUNTY AUR BABLI. In-fact, Ali and Faisal turn the movie into a musical for 30 minutes before going back to the story which is a masterstroke of creativity as it elevates to something better than it was, and from there-on the movie really picks up. Post-interval the movie rocket launches into a zany and insane world of two very colourful people which merged with Ali’s creative instinct really propels the movie into pure madness. If KAJRA RE was then, JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM is now, the impact of the song is simply devastating to say the least, and the audience seemed to be loving it!
The movie has no doubt been designed to showcase the various talents of its cast in the movie entertaining way as possible. Amitabh Bachchan’s Sutradhar act started out rather weak for me despite the addictive title song, but as the movie progressed the film started turning more into a showcase for Abhishek Bachchan who along with Bobby Deol, Preity Zinta, Lara Dutta, and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy delivers the goods in the second half. The entire dance competition song with the various infused versions of “Jhoom Barabar Jhoom” catapult the movie into something that can only be called the higest usage of OTT that one can imagine. At times the movie is prepoustously OTT which works in the films favour. The entrance of Amitabh Bachchan in the song just before it ends works like a charm as well, for some strange reason quiet a few people happy to see Amitabh in his get-up which was funky, but all said and done I certainly would’ve loved to see Amitabh in a full-fledged role here, heck I didn’t even mind the get-up after a while.
Preity Zinta as the leading lady is in fine form again after her rather “serious act” in Karan Johar’s KANK. And lets just say between Rani and Preity…Preity got the better deal. This is the kind of performance that has become the Preity Zinta trademark! Lively, bubbly, spirited, and just generously charming throughout. Theres something so brutally honest about Alvira Khan that you cannot help but laugh, and it would be unfair to say Abhishek dominates the first half alone as Preity matches him step for step throughout. It’s the chemistry between the two which keeps the movie going unlike GURU where the movie turned into a full fledged Abhishek show. The sequences with Lara and Bobby all merged into together well, and both actors make a striking “comeback” of sorts.
A special mention must be made of the chemistry shared between Abhishek and Preity, they’re the perfect foil for each other. Their natural chemistry and level of comfort with each other is evident all the way.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Bobby Deol in true masala form. He’s the kind of actor who can be at times effective depending on who the director is at helm, and in this case Ali knows what he’s doing. His entry infact livens the proceedings in the second half and Bobby manages to surprise with his comic timing, and dancing! His entry in the second half is simply magnificent, and Shaad has made good use of Bobby’s history as well as the movie shares a priceless moment where Rikki and Satvinder(Steve or even Sattu as he gets called in the movie) ride on a bike similar to the ones their father did, and the homage is captured perfectly. Unfortunately Abhishek and Bobby don’ get too many scenes together, though Bobby does manage to match Abhishek all the way in the “musical” dance competition.
Lara Dutta gets to play a rather “crude” character in the second half of JBJ in which she delivers a dazzling act of impressive comic timing. Her French accent in the first half got a bit over-bearing after a point, but her short skirts and cleavage is more than enough to keep the male audiences happy…she look HOT!
A special mention must be made of the utterly delightful Piyush Mishra as
As a director Shaad Ali is in terrific form in my view. Not everyone take extract such brilliant performances from a talented cast, and the manner in which he merges it with his impeccable comic style is just amazing. The movie is laced with so many in-jokes throughout that the movie indeed turns into a “homage” of sorts, this time to the Bachchan family on the “whole” rather than just a homage to his “era” which BUNTY AUR BABLI was. His first movie was a Remake of a Tamil Classic which proved to be successful in Hindi too. Obviously it does help that Yashraj is backing the film, but Shaad Ali’s remake was one that even director Mani Rathhnam approved of, and he was credited with the story and screenplay. His venture was more creative and slightly zany, but with BUNTY AUR BABLI he was lucky enough to have a sound story, here his story (or lack of) does the film slight damage as it does turn into a “showcase” after a point, rather than a movie and though some critics will call this “indulgent crap” I’d beg to differ, the movie is innovative and creative and Ali manages to construct it in a efficient manner. Right from the rather witty and blisteringly funny interactions with Abhishek-Preity in the first half to the completely AWOL second half where Ali lets completely loose with his creative inhibitions completely loose.
Habib Faisal’s dialogues are in sync with what the movie is trying to achieve and have been carefully crafted keeping the actor in mind. Abhishek no doubt gets the best lines in the movie, and Abhishek proves his worth as a Comedian by playing completely to the galleries. This is the kind of performance one usually expects Akshay Kumar to play with-out a hitch, and to see Abhishek proving equally worthy in the genre with his own style is impressive.
It’s been a while since Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music was put to such good use. I wasn’t a huge fan of the song picturisations in DON, and the picturisations in KANK was dull. Here the songs are a focal point, and there were times where I found myself waiting for the next song to elevate the proceedings, and they did. Ali’s indulgence is evident in the second half as he relies entirely on a 30 minute song festival where he splashes colours, stars, money and music around like crazy!
The title track which comes on initially sets the pace going right from the start. TICKET TO HOLLYWOOD and KISS OF LOVE are well merged into the story. The best track in the movie is no doubt the JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM title song which appears in various forms merging various musical elements and styles into one. Pure stroke of genius right from Gulzarji’s ever innovative poetic lyrics to to the outstanding singing by Shankar Mahadevan, Neeraj Shridhar, Alisha Chinoy, Zubeen Garg, Rahet Fateh Ali Khan, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Vishal Dadlani, Vasundhra Das, KK and offcourse Sukhvinder Singh.
Technically the movie is as expected from a Yashraj film, exceptional! Ayanaka Boses’s lens captures the song, dance, mood, flavour, atmosphere and ambience of JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM like a true staged spectacle, and she deserves a standing applause! The absolutely stunning locales of London and France too are mesmerising. The song picturisations, merged with Vaibhavi Merchants mesmerising dancing makes this a true treat for the eyes and ears.
Another standing ovation is on order for Costume Designer Aki Narula who brings an array of staggeringly creative and stylish costumes which again add immensely to the entire “farce” nature of the film.
JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM is fun, refreshing, and more importantly entertaining film, and Shaad Ali once again deserves full-marks for presenting the viewer with something a little new, but still preserving the old as Ali is no doubt at his indulgent best here, and combines so many elements together (as infrequently as they are) that he turns JHOOM BARABAR JHOOM turns into a visual spectacle of homage’s painted onto celluloid by an extremely talented, and creative team.