In a nutshell, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani tries to be different but ends up being the usual bright and colourful romantic-comedy-drama that Karan Johar’s Dharma Production is so famous for. The story is a mix and match of a number of previous new-age blockbusters and while Ayan Mukherjee, after the success of Wake Up Sid!, brings in a certain freshness, the film still feels like a rehash, one that is all mashed up to look new.
YJHD is somewhat of a coming-of-age story of these four friends, who over time discover friendship, hardship, loss, love, and eventually realize that the bonds that hold them tight might seem breakable, but aren’t. Ayan, managed to capture the youth rather well in his earlier venture, but here he gets carried away with the trademark Karan Johar-isms which include, but is not limited to, a tomboyish Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) secretly loving her friend Avi (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and eventually emerging as a girly-girl in the second half.
So, while you have elements of Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejainge, Kal Ho Na Ho, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and the likes, the film just fails to entice the audience like these earlier films did. The most prominent aspect of the film lies in the fact that it lacks viable drama. With the exclusion of any parental tension, what we get is a lot of individuals being self-cantered and selfish. It is after all the “me, me, me, me” generation, but then that’s life and the drama that does arise proves to be too juvenile for my liking.
Looking into the realities of the film, it certainly lacked any consistencies. So while going on a hike you have the men wearing jackets and shivering, the women wear skimpy clothes, neither of whom mind you are sweating or have a hair out of place. This reminded of the film Jab Tak Hai Jaan where again it looked like the filmmakers were unsure if the weather was hot or cold and dressed their actors for both seasons. The initial half of the film also came across more as an advert for a travel agency, and I wish the filmmakers would have done a little research into how people really travel/backpack before depicting it in the strange fashion that they did in the film.
Now, Ayan, I’m guessing being a bit superstitious, once again makes our hero a photographer/cameraperson just as in his previous film, but that once again brings no depth to the film. The comedy is stale and aside for a few chuckles there really isn’t much to laugh about, unless you take the story as a whole which can be considered as a big joke being played on the paying audience.
The good thing about Indian films and the lengths of reels that are used to make them is that there is always something that the audience will eventually like. Keeping up with the tradition, the songs and dance numbers are pretty awesome. The sets are big, the cinematography excellent, the numbers foot-tapping, and that’s where the film scores big points. Moreover, the first half of the film moves at almost a breakneck speed with events happening one after another, and so there isn’t enough time to ponder over any one instance, unfortunately like most films, the second half drags by about half an hour.
The best aspect about the film, except for maybe the clothes that Deepika Padukone wears (come on everyone was thinking about that, I’m just admitting to it), is Ranbir Kapoor. I’ll go out on a limb here and even state that he is the best and most versatile young actor we have in the Indian film industry at this moment and it is an absolute charm to watch him in this film.
In the end, hate it, love it, admire it, or find it repulsive, the producers have already minted a lot of money from this fun and entertaining watch that needs to be taken very lightly with a pinch of salt... and a shot of tequila.
Rating: 2.5 / 5