Monday, July 14, 2008

Jaane Tu... ya jaane na

I watched the movie the second time yesterday. The first time, I was so overwhelmed by it that I couldn't straighten out how I felt. It was after I watched it again that I understood some of the reasons why it affected me so powerfully.

Near the beginning, Jai consoles Aditi for the loss of her cat. And it seemed like a vague shadow of my own loss back when I was in b-school, the death of my father. And how the Guy had stuck faithfully by me then. How he had seemed to realize how much worse it was when I was alone, and tried to ensure that I was not. I had a boyfriend, then, who was at my side much of the time - yet whenever he was not, the Guy would come over quietly and sit by me and try in his absurd way to make me laugh. One evening, I was feeling terrible and had a compelling voice in my head that was telling me to walk off alone to oblivion and that I was trying to fight off. I called up the boyfriend - he was busy and talked to me for some minutes about whatever it was he was busy at before we hung up. Then I called up the Guy, and as soon as he heard my voice he asked if I was ill, for I didn't sound as usual. I asked him to come, and he came. He came and listened while I cried uncontrollably (in a very public place), and slowly he brought me back to sanity and made me laugh. Neither of us remember how he did that, but we remember the horror I faced and how he helped me fight it.

We spent a lot of time together, the Guy and I, and while we weren't as stuck together as Aditi and Jai (and no one assumed we were together - maybe because of the boyfriend?), the natural way in which they seemed to gravitate towards each other reminded me of us. Of how I would be sitting in a classroom and the Guy would hurry in, just in time, and take the empty seat by me. Of how, when we had nothing to do, we would find each other - usually in the canteen. And yet we never considered, then, that we might be together. I did wish my boyfriend were more (the Guy would correct me here and say, somewhat) like him, and he wished he would find a partner like me. But we didn't wish for each other. For each of us, the other was the ideal, nearby and yet unreachable.

Remember the scene in which Aditi's brother is raving about Jai and she says, "He's so good isn't he? I know", and smiles proudly, even though he's not hers? I remember feeling like that, back when we had left b-school and weren't in touch, when I remembered him fondly and felt proud of him, and felt like I owned a part of him that was totally mine, even though I didn't even have the right to be his friend any longer.

This was the first romantic movie I've ever seen that I could actually relate to. All others - even rare ones I liked, like Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met - seemed to be unsatisfying in their reason for why the lead pair come together: there simply didn't seem to be enough reason. But in this movie, you know they are meant for each other: they are the best of friends, they know each other through and through, and enjoy each other's company. When the movie ends and they are together, you know they're going to be happy.

All the secondary characters seemed so well-etched in this movie. Shaleen, the sensible, smart friend. She knows what's in all their hearts but is too wise to advise them. She looks on affectionately as they love and lose and love again, but is too mature to indulge in such games herself, too strong to need someone.

Jai's mom - probably the best mom ever portrayed in a movie (at least any movie I've ever seen). No son of a mother like that could turn out screwed - no wonder Jai has the right head on his shoulders and his heart in the right place. She understands his feelings better than he does, and is too wise to tell him what to do but waits for him to find out. She holds him when he cries with heartbreak, and cooks comfort food when he is disappointed. She has brought him up to be sensitive and independent, a guy who cooks (not once in a blue moon, to impress a girl, but regularly, taking turns with his mom) and is a friend of his mother.

Meghna was a complex character. Jai gets what he wants for in her - a romantic, nice girl - and she turns out too romantic for him. She lives in a dream world of her own. And you know that, interesting as she is, she's not right for him - he needs someone more direct, more headstrong, to balance his easygoing nature - someone like Aditi.

Jai himself is the nicest "hero" I've ever seen. He is sensible, sensitive, grounded. He refuses to be carried away into fighting - unless there's something worth fighting for. He is so nice that he antagonizes Amit, Aditi's brother, by his very goodness - and yet understands how Amit feels and doesn't dislike him for it. He doesn't seem to demand anything from anyone: he accepts people as they are, and tries to understand them. Best of all, when he finds out that his mother has lied to him all these years, he laughs. Loud and hard. He laughs at himself for being a fool, and at his mother for going to such lengths to deceive him. It doesn't take away from all the care and love and respect she has bestowed on him.

My favourite character was Amit. The sensitive artist who isn't understood by his family and retires into a shell. Who is blunt and provocative, because everyone around him is so nice and polite. Who says the only benefit of being rich is that he doesn't have to work: a statement with multiple layers. He has found no other benefit of being rich because he doesn't care to buy things. He misses having friends - or family - who understand him. And yet he doesn't want to get caught in the daily grind and is grudgingly grateful that he can do what he wants - paint, read, listen to music. For someone who's derided as being unemployed, he's rarely idle - you see him painting most of the time.

Before we walked into the theatre yesterday, the Guy wondered if this time would be disappointing. But it wasn't. The little bits of melodrama seemed even more amusing, like they'd been deliberately put in to spoof formula-based romantic movies. We noticed little things, like how Shaleen beckons to Jiggy on the dance floor when the music changes to a romantic song, and they leave the couples to dance together and find company in each other. And as we walked out, I said to the Guy, "I wouldn't mind turning back and watching it again."


chandu said...

I saw it yesterday and actually disliked the movie!

Loved the lead pair and the charecters but somehow the whole film together didn't do it for me

Indian Home Maker said...

I mentioned this movie in my last post and intend to do a whole post on it. Like you, I felt I could totally relate to this film. Why? The movie comes close to life, it's like watching our families on screen... I see my kids talk about the same things, share the same kind of jokes...yes, loved the boy taking turns in the kitchen, loved the smart way he rescued Meghna in the Disco...also they've shown how violence at home affects children, and I loved Aditi's brother's room :)

Unmana said...

Chandni: sorry about that. :D

IHM:Indeed, I totally agree with you.

Sorry for being late in responding.

Anonymous said...

I came to this post from Starry's post on stereotyping of the Indian woman... and as I read through it, I realised I never analysed the movie the way you did... something drew me towards it again and again... but I never really thought about each character (except for the mother- I loved how they portrayed her) and how they were such real people... people who actually existed and not "filmy"... Wow! thanks for showing me this perspective...

Unmana said...

lifeslikethatonly: Thanks for the kind words, and for visiting. I hope you keep reading.

dipali said...

I loved this movie! I have never seen a more mazedaar talking portrait!!!!
That apart, it portrays friendship and closeness and several relationships really well.

Unmana said...

dipali: Yes, the talking portrait! It's such a great touch, and the way the husband in the portrait and the wife talk to each other is hilarious. (Even more so when you remember they're a real life couple!) And in a way, it shows that Jai's mom still misses her husband so much she talks to him all the time, even though she doesn't like everything about him!