Sunday, December 03, 2023

Jaane Jaan Review: Jaideep Ahlawat steals the cake and eats it too in Kareena Kapoor’s OTT debut

Sujoy Ghosh is a no-cub when it comes to adaptations and Jaane Jaan is a testament to his fondness for strong female characters in mysteries.

Shruti Kaushal Shruti Kaushal Published on: September 21, 2023 12:30 IST
Jaane Jaan Review
Actors Jaideep Ahlawat and Kareena Kapoor Khan Photo:FILE IMAGE
  • Movie Name:Jaane Jaan
  • Critics Rating: 2.5 / 5
  • Release Date: September 21, 2023
  • Director: Sujoy Ghosh
  • Genre: Mystery/Crime

Netflix's Jaane Jaan is Kareena Kapoor Khan's first foray in the OTT universe. Unlike her "Delulu girl" roles like Poo in Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, which I believe was loosely inspired by Alicia Silverspoon’s character in Clueless, Bollywood’s Bebo takes the plunge just like she did during Chameli or Talaash. This time, she is back with another multifaceted character, Maya D'Souza in Sujoy Ghosh’s film. Since Jaane Jaan is her OTT debut, movie aficionados must be keeping a tab on her performance. But can one turn a blind eye to the exceptionally talented fellow cast of Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma? And who steals the cake among the three? 

For those who have been asleep for a decade, Jaane Jaan is the adaptation of the bestselling Japanese novel, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. Sujoy Ghosh is a no-cub when it comes to adaptations and Jaane Jaan is a testament to his fondness for strong female characters in mysteries. With two critically acclaimed men, Vijay Varma and Jaideep Ahlawat, the filmmaker offers a range of elements in the 2 hours and 15 minutes of the film. 

As Jaane Jaan opens, we see papers scattered in an apartment as Naren Vyas, played by Jaideep Ahlawat, wakes up from a nightmare. He peeps into his ‘hot’ neighbour Maya D'Souza, played by Kareena Kapoor Khan, and her morning banter with her daughter Tara, played by Naisha Khanna. Naren is a mathematics genius who teaches in a school, while Maya runs a cafe called Tiffin in ‘mystic’ Kalimpong. Unaware of Naren’s affection for her, Maya greets and welcomes the ‘Teacher of the city’ to her cafe and packs his egg fried rice special like every other day. 

Amidst this, an unanticipated guest, Maya’s estranged husband, Ajit Mahtre, played by Saurabh Sachdeva, arrives in the cafe. The story progresses as Ajit is murdered. In the meantime, a shrewd cop, Karan, played by Vijay Varma, arrives in Kalimpong looking for Ajit. After finding Ajit’s dead body, Maya is the only strong suspect Karan sees in the case as he probes the murder. 

Just like his previous works Kahaani, Badla, Typewriter, and the recent Sex with the Ex for Lust Stories 2, which failed to deliver as promised, Ghosh’s characters in Jaane Jaan are like hues of nail paint which look best only after multiple coats. Kareena Kapoor Khan is a single mother raising her daughter away from her husband who has an insatiable hunger for money. Though Khan’s acting seems off in some scenes, her no-makeup look and her kohl eyes save the boat. Her singing the reprised version of Jaane Jaan is the highlight of her performance. Vijay Varma, a well-behaved cop who is determined to unravel the murder mystery. Notably, Varma’s recent character was also a cop in JioCinema’s Kaalkoot. And he aced both the roles with the ‘maha sweet’ smile of his.  

For me, the star of the show is Jaideep Ahlawat, a balding mathematics teacher who finds a silver lining when he meets his new neighbour Maya for the first time. He is also secretively cool and calms his rage by practicing dojo. His character has an intricate inner life that acts only for his first love. 

Jaane Jaan is a mystery that unfolds at its own pace. Though the climax leaves room for ambiguity, the plot is predictable. Comparing Jaane Jaan with Kahaani would be unfair, however, Sujoy Ghosh’s second innings with Netflix, after Typewriter, is unfulfilling but it will surely leave one craving for ‘Dragon Momos.’ 

Also Read: Jawan Review: Shah Rukh Khan's second Bollywood bonus for 2023 with some help from the South