Jai Arjun Singh, in his blog Jabberwock, writes that liking a movie is totally subjective and it depends on a number of factors. These factors could be your state of mind, the company, your mood on that day, etc. He says, "I have touched on this before in my many rambling posts about reviewing. I have also touched on how one’s response to a film depends on an un-quantifiable or unknowable combination of things – from the mood you are in on the day you see it to whether you’re seeing it alone or with company; the lingering effects of something you have just read, or a conversation you have just had, or something you have recently lost." I watched Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and I do not know how to quantify my reaction. The movie had a deeply calming and a comforting effect on me, rather I should say cathartic. It made me cry a lot. From the middle of the first half to the climax, the eyes just could not stop at some moments. It is amazing that a movie has the power to control your emotions. Ever since I have stepped out watching it, I have been thinking about it and it has grown on me continuously. The last movie that touched me like this was Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
I do not know from where to start. One of the many themes that the movie was based on was respecting individuality. तु right नहीं है, बस मुझसे बहुत अलग हो. The movie says that we all are different people, we all want different things from life and we should understand that. During their day trip at Udaipur, Bunny and Naina kept discussing the things they like about in their life but eventually they say that no one is right, it is just they are both different people with different aspirations.
तु right नहीं है, बस मुझसे बहुत अलग हो
At one earlier point in the film, when all of them were playing that game 'I Never', I really liked the fact that they did not make fun of Naina at all. She was not cool like the others but they all respected that she is a different person. When she excused herself from the game, Kabir (I like the name Kabir more than Bunny) graciously let her go. They did not judge her for being the way she was.
In one of my favorite scenes of the movie, Naina says to Kabir that she has always been a boring person in life. She did not have any friends in school and she used to sit in one corner. She does not know how to party. She has never traveled away from home. Then Kabir awesomely says to her that she is such a cool girl. She fights gundas, she wins races against him, she sings Bachchan's songs and she has the guts to come all alone on a trekking trip. खुद पे दया करना बंद करो और खुद से प्यार करना सीखो. This was such an amazing scene. He did not make fun of her at all, instead he understood her completely. From that minute, I started loving the movie.
Tum bahut cool ho, Naina :)
Gradually, Naina starts falling in love with Kabir. Finding life through love - that essential premise that never seems to go old. One of the other themes that ran through the film was that to love someone, you need to understand someone. When Kabir gets admission to the Northwestern University, Naina was about to tell Kabir that she loves him, but backtracks and does not tell him. She realized that this was Kabir's dream and what good will she do to him if she told him. Would her love stop him? Kabir always wanted this in his life although he did say to her, main chahta hun is raat ki subah na ho, but Naina realised that subah ho gayi.
Naina's power to understand Kabir was also shown when they both were going on trekking to the top of the mountain and she says to Kabir that they should stop as he is tired now. And then he says, मैं थकता नहीं, and then she says, अच्छा मैं थक गयी. She knew that Kabir wanted pace in his life and he would get defensive, so she says that she is tired.
During the final moments of the film when Kabir hugs Naina, when they both realize that they do love each other, she says to him that she understands him and that he wants to take that job but they do not have a future together. What after the 'I love you'? She was such a mature person. It is awesome when a person has such great understanding.
जानती हूँ तुम्हे, समझती हूँ तुम्हे, पता है तुम्हे ज़िन्दगी से क्या चाहिए
I did feel that the pace of the movie dropped in the second half. The first half went past breezily but the second half started slowly. But I think maybe it was intentional on Ayan's part. It was symbolic of the tiredness that Kabir was feeling with his own life. The second half starts with the Ilahi song and Kabir has grown a beard. There were some scenes in the song that clearly showed that something is not right.
He says, मैं उड़ना चाहता हूँ, दौरना चाहता हूँ, गिरना भी चाहता हूँ, बस रुकना नहीं चाहता. Speed or raftaar gives the thrill to him but eventually he did get tired and finally when he goes to his home, he says to his mom, मैं अब थक गया हूँ. He got every thing that he wanted. He traveled to the most exotic places, gets to make out with French girls and yet he longs for something. It is as if his life his incomplete. He has got so tired of it that when Aditi asks him about Venice, he says it is Europe's sewer!
At Aditi's wedding, when he looks around, all he sees are the couples. He was missing the companionship. He realizes his utter solitude. In that moving scene, when he finally opens about his father's death, he realized that in his quest for not missing anything, he missed so many other things in his life. Like his dad's funeral.
He was so tormented from inside that he was literally begging Naina to hold him for five more seconds and not to let him go when they both hugged each other.
This is also there when he wants to go and see the light and sound show at Udaipur. He says to Naina what if the show turns out to be awesome and they missed it out. And then Naina beautifully says to him, जितना भी try कर लो life में, कुछ न कुछ तो छूटेगा ही. Like he will miss the view of the most amazing sunset. Like he missed his own dad's funeral. And that is why he needs to slow down and experience other things too.
And that was the film's message as well. That there is a time for everything. He says to Naina in the final scene, हर चीज़ का एक वक़्त होता है. At no point is Ayan saying not to stop living your dreams. He is just trying to make the point that do not hold too much onto them that you start hating them. He is simply saying to do what you feel like. You wanted to travel. Go do that. You got tired and want to settle now. Go do that. It is because with time, the things we want in life change. But always follow your heart.
In one of the most brilliant scenes, when Kabir comes home, his mom says to him that his father loved him for the fact that he always lived life on his terms and that brought him happiness. And then she reinforces the film's message when she says to him , "Live your dreams. अपने दिल की सुनो"
Live your dreams. अपने दिल की सुनो
I just saw its trailer again and now understand the message of the film more. "You can never be old and wise if you were never young and crazy." Experience everything when you have the time.
You can never be old and wise if you were never young and crazy
That brings me to the topic of Naina and Kabir. In the first half, Kabir explains to Naina the importance of enjoying life. He tried to make her understand the importance of being young. And very interestingly the roles overturned in the second half. Eight years passed. Now they are past their youth and now in this phase, Naina makes him realize the importance of slowing down. She becomes the wise one. All their scenes at Udaipur, Naina is the wise one as compared with their scenes at Manali, where Kabir is the wise one. That is why I think they both complemented each other and perfectly understood each other. That was the brilliance of the film. It aged according to its characters. The second half became slow and mature with the characters.
In my absolutely favorite scene from the movie, Kabir comes to Naina who has put her feet in cold water. He is afraid to put his feet in the water but Naina tells him, धीरे धीरे सब ठीक हो जायेगा. He does put in his feet and realized he was afraid of even trying. That scene was a metaphor to their lives. With time, things change. And later in the Kabira song, he comes all alone and puts his feet in water. To me, it was a brilliant scene. Getting comfortable with cold water and eventually finding the right balance and reaching the equilibrium. Loved it.
There were some other scenes as well that talked about time. When Kabir is having a drink in Venice, his host asks him, kya dekh rahe ho. He says, waqt ko guzarte dekh raha hun. It is as if he is slowly started to realise that his time too is flowing. In the scene where he proposes Naina, he says, वक़्त किसी के लिए नहीं रुकता, लेकिन बीतता वक्त है और खर्च हम होते है which is such a brilliant line. Wow!
बीतता वक्त है और खर्च हम होते है
I also loved Aditi a lot. She also goes through a phase of emotional development. She loved Avi but he could never understand her love. She finds Taran, who might not be perfect but as she said, कुछ लोगों के साथ वक़्त बीताने से सब कुछ सही हो जाता है. She will always love Avi, the way she called him on New Year's Eve. But she chose Taran. At least he will give her happiness.
I felt inspiration from a number of films. You know a lot of criticism is given to the film by saying there is nothing new. But I think we all are influenced one way or the other by something or someone. Ayan clearly is inspired too but that doesn't mean his work ain't good. I loved the film like anything. But here are some references which I thought.
Naina is the bespectacled girl who does not know how to smile. Kal Ho Na Ho also had a Naina with same glasses and who did not know how to smile. Ironic name for someone who is named Naina.
Naina..suno, jeeyo, khush raho, muskurao..
The train hand scene...Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.
Apart from this, I felt Kabir and his dad's relationship was somewhat like Raj had with his father. Raj's father wanted his son to live the life he was never able to. Kabir's dad was also indulgent towards him. Even if he could not afford it, he gave him money to go. In that moving scene, his dad is crying and says, he does not want Kabir to go but तुम्हारा यह कहना ही मेरे लिए बहुत है..
आज के बाद फिर मत कहना की तू अपनी जवानी जेचुका है
तुम्हारा यह कहना ही मेरे लिए बहुत है
Mohini from Tezaab..
And references to Jab We Met... the Manali trip and finding life through love..
In Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Arjun had said to Laila, diving ek nasha sa hai... a nasha similar to what Kabir says..
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is Ayan's second film after Wake Up Sid. I have always believed that films, especially coming of age, are autobiographical. In Wake Up Sid, Sid had a love for photography. Here, Kabir loves photography too. I am very sure that Ayan loves photography himself. The film has some of the most brilliant cinematography that I have seen and a director who understands it can only bring that to a film. This is his second film after almost four years and maybe the Sid from Wake Up Sid had shades from his own coming of age and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani takes it further. It looks as if Ayan is telling his story. In fact, Ayan does make an appearance in the film.
The Guy in White: Ayan Mukherji
When Naina and Kabir, both, went to the haunted mountain, they see an animal, but it was probably some reference to blessings of spirits.
What do I say about performance? I have always loved Ranbir in each and every role. Here is finally an actor who does some great films and performs brilliantly. The way he communicated through his eyes is haunting, especially the emotional scenes. Deepika surprises me with every film and slowly and slowly, she is becoming my favorite. I loved both of them. They are just awesome. All others, especially Kalki, Farooq Sheikh and Tanvi Azmi are excellent. You have to look at Ranbir's dancing. That guy moves his legs like anything. Balam Pichkari, Dilli Wali Girlfirend, and Badtameez Dil..my eyes were on him. He has a terrific screen presence. Music is brilliant. But all credit to Ayan for writing such a beautiful film. He is easily my favorite. In Wake Up Sid, he beautifully shows Ayesha's house. And here, he shows us Kabir's wall and his scrapbook. It made me want to travel too.
I really do not know what will happen to Naina and Kabir, given their different priorities in life. But I hope it does work. I was jealous of Naina and Kabir. They are such a perfect couple. When Kabir comes home to Naina, he behaved so awesomely with her and she starts crying. Can people be so nice? Does love really have that power? I want to experience such things in my life too. I want to feel special sometimes. I am much like Naina of the first half. Boring. Uptight. Not cool. Will someone come and change my life too?
When that Kabira song was coming, I was literally sobbing with Naina and Kabir. If you think of it, their problems are first world. But still they were not happy. What is that brings happiness to people? I don't know. Till then I will copiously shed tears when I watch Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani again :(
Dialogue of the Day:
कभी कभी कुछ बातें हमारी यादों की इतनी खिड़कियाँ खोल देती है की हम दंग रह जाते है. बहुत खूबसूरत होती है यह यादों की दुनिया. हमारे बीते हुए कल के छोटे छोटे टुकड़े, हमारी यादों में हमेशा महफूज़ रहते हैं. यादें मिठाई के डब्बे की तरह होती है. एक बार खुला तो सिर्फ एक टुकड़ा नहीं खा पाओगे.
- Naina, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani