Friendship, much like romance, is getting quite jaded in Bollywood. Only the number of buddies, their social status, conflicts and desires seem to change, while the soul remains constant.
So, much like ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Rang De Basanti’, ‘Rock On!!!’, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, ‘3Idiots’, and ‘Kai Po Che’, one-film-old director Ayan Mukerji’s gang of four also go through their share of ups and downs, only to resurface stronger and thicker.
And, he pads up the Bollywood buddy clichés with a lavish dollop of mush.
Even his love story – a demure girl-next-door who skips her heartbeat for the commitment-phobic boy – isn’t novel, but his leading cast makes it work.
To Ayan’s credit, he does the unthinkable and makes the stereotypes work, rather convincingly, through stunning frames and killer tunes.
Another negative is the fragmented tone of the storyline. There’s the influence of other filmmakers that surface unintentionally. At one point, it’s textured like a Karan Johar movie, at another it echoes Zoya Akhtar’s sensibilities, and, yet another, it shows shades of Farah Akhtar.
And, between all this, you’d find Ayan as well.
While ‘YJHD’ is formulaic, and nothing exceptional in terms of story, Ayan’s narrative’s got style and flair, and he textures it gorgeously. A quality we’ve witnessed earlier in his debut ‘Wake up Sid’.
For most parts, ‘YJHD’ isn’t damaging and does make a fun, frothy buddy flick.
Ayan packs off a fun bunch of four school friends, each with their own quirks and philosophies, on a life-changing road trip in ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’.
At two-hours-and-42-minutes, our attention span does waver, but Deepika and Ranbir work towards keeping us hooked.
Deepika gives school nerd Naina Talwar, who is looking for a drastic makeover, a compelling face. She plays out Naina’s insecurities and her discovery of newfound freedom and zest for life with restrained maturity.
Ranbir fits in as her perfect soul mate with an outstanding performance. There’s not a single frame or emotion that he gets wrong, creating a world of Bunny within our hearts.
Even their friends – Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapur – are equally charming, but Ayan’s screenplay never allows us to explore their desires and conflicts. There are glimpses but nothing that gives us an insight to their world.
Despite that, Kalki is striking as the funky Aditi, who eventually mellows down in life, and Aditya is equally delightful.
Of their family and friends, it’s veterans Farooq Sheikh, Tanvi Azmi and Dolly Ahluwalia who are outstanding. Even Kunaal Roy Kapur’s fidgety Taran is loveable.
While it’s not appropriate to compare ‘Wake up Sid’ and ‘YJHD’, we can’t help but spot the similarities in terms of every character’s impeccably dressed homes (remember Kokona’s stunning room), his hero’s love for the camera (still/moving, much like Sid), and the parental conflicts.
If anything, we expected Ayan to stay away from the unpredictable in the end, but that is where he falters.
That aside, we’d propose you step out of your homes and allow Ranbir and Deepika to take you on a fun ride that you won’t regret.