Poor Jaan-e-Mann. When it showed up on my door - courtesy of dear Dr. Marcus, fellow Fulbrighter and Bollywood-watcher - I gobbled it right up. But it's been a month and I can't figure out what I want to say even though I really enjoyed it (despite too much of muscles and a very lackluster role for Preity, whose talents ask for so much more). I loved its use of imagination, memory, and daydreaming. It's also really rich in visuals, many resulting from all the flashbacks and imaginary scenes. When its quirkiness was tied to something relevant, it worked really well. My two favorites were Suhaan (Salman) and Bonney (Anupam) comforting flashback Agastya (Akshay), who had somehow come out of the story and joined present-day Agastya as he told his tale of woe.
That's how sadness is sometimes - it slips out of your past and demands that your here-and-now life pay attention to it. And when we're lucky, here-and-now can help out the past, or at the very least acknowledge its realness. I thought this scene was so sweet. Also fun was the boys dancing with cardboard Preity in "Jaane Ke Jaane Na."
There's definitely a joke to be made about her seeming more lively as a cardboard cutout, but someone probably made it already. The movie-fication of the wished-for life was also lovely - pretending, as one does in Bollywood, that stalking is sweet and touching.
But sometimes the zany was too loosely constructed, like the completely pointless dwarfing of Anupam Kher. Seriously, people, what was that all about? I'd love to know how they did it, though, especially in the balcony scene - where's the rest of his leg?
On the con side, Suhaan and Piya (Preity) toyed with Agastya's feelings, even if they did so selfishly rather than maliciously. The movie might also be interpreted to be validating the Really Stupid Idea of "a baby will hold this marriage together!" But overall, I found it satisfyingly filmi with a yummy dash of surprising flight of fancy.
I went a little nuts with the screen caps, so now it's time for show and tell. To start, in keeping with Suhaan's dream about winning a Filmfare award, let's pass some out to Jaan-e-Mann.
Worst Wig, 2006
Electrical Outlet Most Likely to Make Me Think This Was Not Filmed in New York
Dance Fusion I Never Need to See Again
(That's Salman+Riverdance, in case you haven't seen it.)
Best Use of Archival Footage
Isn't he darling? Look at that smile.
SRK Did It Already, but It's Still Funny
I also want to point out the truly delightful movie-related segments with all of their fantastic details, like the posters outside the offices of the agents Suhaan pursues. They range from Main Hoon Na to Bollywood Hollywood and even include the Beatles (Hard Day's Night and the documentary Let It Be), and you know how I like it when Bollywood and the Beatles intersect.
A special nod for Salman being willing to make fun of himself here. Well done.
Also note Suhaan's first movie shares the title of the actual movie. Cute.
And for those who are curious, the Shirtless Wonder dropped sleeve at 15:28.
Is someone compiling these stats?