At the sub-urban multiplex where I decide to catch the first-day first-show of this Salman-extravaganza, Jai Ho, I found myself sandwiched between two couples. While at first thought that might sound funny, but on serious grounds these couples helped me understand the film better than I would probably have in company of the best of critics.
So Jai Ho starts.
a) Funny goons.
b) Damsel in distress
c) Heroic entry
d) Cracker action
e) Whistles all over in the theater.
All this happens in the first ten minutes and it looks like a good start. The girls in both the couple also clap as Salman beats the goons and does some break dance.
Unfortunately soon this is all that the hero seems to be doing. So within twenty minutes I see the couple of my left finding more interesting stuff to do than watch the film. The couple on my right however goes steady with the film. Avid film-lovers I suppose.
A reason why the couple of on my right side lost interest - Probably the fact that Jai Ho is an extremely predictable formulaic entertainer. In fact it is so calculative in keeping with the 'formula' that there are songs, comic scenes and action stitched into the script at regular intervals. So calculative that they have even woven a partial Gujarati song, probably in line with the fact that a major share of collections in Salman's last few movies have also come from Gujarat. Not to speak of Salman's recent kite-flying episode with Narendra Modi!
To be fair to the makers, Jai Ho does have a heart. Just it is so well camouflaged that certain scenes turn into unintentional comedies. But then a heart is a heart, out in the open or for patrons to discover! So there is a warm brother-sister relationship. There are lovely mother-moments. And there are emphatic actions by this do-gooder her who is on a mission to spread goodness in the bad world.
Apart from an in-form Salman Khan, the film also features a wonderful Tabu and a diligent Danny. Talking about the cast, the film has a barrage of special appearances. So much that it looks like Salman's gift to most of his friends from the industry - many of who are out of work. So there is Ashmit Patel, Yash Tonk, Vatsal Sheth, Genelia D'Souza, Bruna Abdullah, Aditya Pancholi, Nauheed Cyrusi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Mukul Dev apart from Suniel Shetty and ex-Bigg Boss inmate Sana Khan. And of course the scene-stealing delightful child-actor Naman Jain, who has earlier wowed us in Bombay Talkies and Chillar Party! Naman probably is the best of the lot as he brings in the best moments in the film with effortless comic timing. The film also sees the debut of Daisy Shah as the lead girl. She does not have much do.
Repetitions of ideas in the story aside, the film shows tremendous quality in production! Jai Ho is shot and edited stylishly; choreography is impressive; dialogues are 'seeti-maar' and action is clap-worthy. Sohail Khan does his best as a director.
The film brings in a good idea - help three people and in return ask them to three more. Spread the goodness. It also uses the common-man hero as a platform - something that the audience might just love considering the recent turn-around in politics of the country. Nonetheless, the script in itself is more a sitting duck refusing to help the hulk-like Salman push the film anywhere close to what a film with a proper Salman-script combo could have. Our word - Salman Khan fans will love this film and others might just about be entertained, but to expect this film to be the next Munna Bhai is a Utopian thought.
PS: Destiny has it way. The song Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire was originally composed for Salman Khan's Yuvvraaj. And now Jai Ho turns a name for his film. Do not expect an Oscar for this film though!
Critic: Noyon Jyoti Parasara
(2.5 / 5) : Above Average