JAANE JAAN is the story of a single mother and a teacher who try to fool the police. Maya D’Souza (Kareena Kapoor Khan) lives in Kalimpong along with her daughter Tara (Naisha Khanna). Naren Vyas (Jaideep Ahlawat), a math teacher, is their neighbour. Naren is in love with her but is too afraid to confess his feelings to her. He comes to her food joint daily to pick up a parcel of Egg Fried Rice. He tries his best to talk to her but gets tongue-tied. All is going well in their lives until one day, Inspector Ajit Mhatre (Saurabh Sachdeva), enters the life of Maya and tries to create havoc. One thing leads to another, and Maya becomes a prime suspect. This is when Naren comes to her rescue. However, the investigating officer, Karan Anand (Vijay Varma), coincidentally also Naren’s old friend, realizes that something is fishy. He decides not to stop until he finds out the truth. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
JAANE JAAN is adapted from the Japanese novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ by Keigo Higashino. The story is gripping. Sujoy Ghosh’s screenplay keeps one captivated. Sujoy Ghosh and Raj Vasant’s dialogues are decent and some of them are quite meaningful and sharp.
Sujoy Ghosh’s direction is great. He doesn’t make the narrative nail-biting. Yet, he ensures that the audience is not bored. Thanks to his execution, the audiences will be deeply invested in the story and what happens next. A few sequences stand out, like Ajit’s surprise visit to Maya’s house, Karan consuming Dragon Momos, Naren practicing Dojo in the middle of the road at night, etc. The suspense is unexpected and is sure to amaze viewers as they won’t see it coming.
On the flipside, a few developments are unconvincing. The actions of Naren are difficult to digest. One wonders if he could have thought of a better solution. A few questions remain unanswered; in fact, the film ends abruptly. It would have been great if the makers had opened up on it, instead of not divulging the secret at all. Lastly, JAANE JAAN seems similar to a popular Hindi film franchise and comparisons are bound to happen.
Speaking of performances, Kareena Kapoor Khan delivers a riveting performance. She handles a difficult role in a very nuanced manner without going overboard. Jaideep Ahlawat, as always, scores a sixer. One has seen him in challenging parts before and yet, he’s sure to surprise the audience. However, he appears too tightened up in the intro scene at the café. Vijay Varma shines. He makes his performance seem easygoing. He, especially, is impressive in the spicy momo scene. Saurabh Sachdeva leaves a mark. Naisha Khanna is decent. Lim Laishram (Prema) and Denzom Lepcha (Babu) lend able support. Markush Lepcha (Dipok) is fine, but his track seems a bit forced. Karma Takapa (Sundar Singh; cop) is quite good. Habib Al Aidroos (Naidu; forensic doctor) does well in a small role.
JAANE JAAN is mostly a song-less film. The title track, a recreated version, is played at a crucial juncture. The end credit song is forgettable. Shor Police’s background score is subtle but impactful. Avik Mukhopadhyay’s cinematography is splendid, and the location is beautifully captured. The use of novel colour tones adds to the eerie and mystery feel. Aki Narula’s costumes for Kareena Kapoor Khan and Dipika Lal and Anirudh Singh’s costumes for the rest of the star cast are stylish yet realistic. Rajesh Choudhary, Madhumita Sen and Ajay Sharma’s production design is appropriate. Heera Yadav’s action is as real as it can get. Futureworks Media Ltd’s VFX is top-class while Urvashi Saxena’s editing is sharp.
On the whole, JAANE JAAN is a gripping film and works due to the execution, unexpected twists and turns and terrific performances of Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma.