Mumbai, 03 Mar 2017 12:43 IST
The Manjari Fadnis and Arbaaz Khan-starrer is a hilarious ride, although that wasn't the intention of the makers.
It's a good run for lovers of trashy films. Last week there was Shekha S Jha’s Wedding Anniversary. The film had many moments that evoked unintentional laughter. This week, Keshav Panneriy’s Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai serves those too. The good (or bad?) news is it does so for its whole runtime of 170 minutes consistently.
Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai is the story of an abla naari (helpless woman) transforming into an epitome of naari shakti (empowered woman). Alia Patrick (Manjari Fadnis) hails from a lower middle-class family in Udaipur. Right from her childhood, she faces discrimination at home for being a girl. Her father, who works in a mill, treats her like a maid he doesn't have to pay. She falls in love with Alex (Himansh Kohli) in college.
But Alia is forced to marry Kunwar Vikram Pratap Singh (Ashutosh Rana), who falls for her beauty and wins over her father with expensive gifts. Kunwar Vikram Pratap Singh is an egoistic, evil man, proud of his lineage. He strips Alia of all freedom and she is confined to his palace. Her only solace is the old family worker, Laxmi (Supriya Pathak). Later on, Aditya Kapoor (Arbaaz Khan), a millionaire businessman, enters her life. But will Alia be able to come out of a living hell?
Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai boasts of a rich and detailed production design and pleasing visuals. But these aspects have no value if the film mocks the very idea of storytelling. The result is uncountable moments of accidental laughter.
Here are some prominent sequences worth recalling:
- Alia goes to interview her college trustee (Rana) for her college magazine. He straightaway reveals his chauvinistic and evil nature and insults her. Depressed and annoyed, she returns to her college only to find that the trustee has mailed the answers to the principal. Alia instantly states how great her life is and starts singing a romantic song with her boyfriend.
- Alia’s father fixes her marriage with Kunwar Vikram Pratap Singh without even consulting her. When Alia gets the news, she is not taken aback, leave alone being shocked, despite knowing Singh’s character traits.
- Later, Alia’s father convinces her for the marriage by citing a verse about sacrifice from the Bible.
- Alia’s boyfriend, too, seems unaffected by the news of a forced marriage. All he says is, "Tum azad ho" and then there's snowfall… in Rajasthan!
- A woman is about to receive an award from the President of America (no, they haven’t shown Donald Trump). She is informed that someone close to her has passed away. She abandons the award ceremony, but her husband stays on. May be free five-star food and drinks?
- A magazine editor (Prem Chopra) sends the CV of his best writer to an American publication (we don't know why). The writer is selected without even a telephonic interview. When Chopra’s character gets the news, he feels disappointed and taunts the writer for leaving him alone, when the latter had nothing to do with it.
- The film has some glaring continuity flaws. Alia moves out of the airplane alone onto the runway. In the very next scene, she is accompanied by her daughter. In another scene, Pathak’s character is explaining something to Alia at night. Even as they talk, bright sunlight creeps in.
- An American TV journalist narrates a news item in Hindi with a heavy accent.
- A restaurant sells ‘couple dishes’ like ‘He and she burger,’ ‘He and she sandwich,’ ‘He and she dal,’ ‘He and she tandoor,’ etc.
The content is such that the actors barely get to show much skill. To be fair, Phadnis and Chopra make a sincere attempt.
There are two occasions when the film doesn’t crack you up — the worst portrayal of a homosexual and when you wonder how such scripts get financed.