The first few minutes of ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ serve as a theatrical throwback to a time when watching Saif Ali Khan sport spunky tees over denims with uber cool hairdos and painting the town red, was the definition of cool. The film banks upon our fond memory of that cherished image to give us a fully-embodied portrayal of a man actually trying to come to terms with age and responsibility.
‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ is largely entertaining thanks to the above premise and the less dramatic portrayal of an evolving father-daughter equation.
Saif stars as Jazz, a 40 plus stud with a dad bod whose life revolves around partying till the wees hours of the night and landing one-night stands with women, he picks up at his friend Rocky’s (Chunky Pandey) nightclub. He chances upon a young girl Tia (Alaya F) at the same nightclub and invites her over to his pad, only to learn that she could be his daughter.
Directed by Nitin Kakkar, the standout technicalities of the film are the dialogues penned by Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal. Saif conveys each line with the wit and candour we’ve known him for. At an hour and fifty five minutes, the film has been smartly cut by Sachinder Vats since the makers refrain from indulging in over-the-top melodrama. But even in its seemingly progressive efforts to romanticise the idea of living solo or having children out of wedlock, somehow the film routinely conforms to the conservative ideals it’s trying to break away from.
Boiling down to the performances, fans of Saif (count me in) have a lot to enjoy in the film. His charm and eventual awakening keep you invested throughout the course of the film. His equation with Alaya is comfortable and easy-going. Alaya makes a refreshingly confident debut, much beyond in comparison to her contemporaries. She isn’t a weepy wisp seeking parental affection but is shown as a young girl brimming with aspirations and agency. Equally outstanding is Kubbra Sait as Rhea, Jazz’s hairstylist friend who knows how to draw the line between intimacy and affection. Even Kumud Mishra as Jazz’s elder brother Dimpy is a delight to watch. However, the treatment to Tabu’s character as the hipster mother Ananya is ornamental and not stretched-out. Clearly, her perspective is left out and the film problematically takes pleasure in branding her, in its attempts to salvage the leading man. Also, irrespective of what role Chunky Pandey essays, his character brief is to replicate Aakhri Pasta.
In totality, ‘Jawaani Jaaneman’ promises a simple, harmless popcorn entertainer.