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05 March 2024

Bollywood review: Salman Khan’s ‘Jai Ho’ is an indulgent take on being human

Bollywood actor Salman Khan attended dance reality show 'Dance India Dance' with co-actor Daisy Shah to promote their forthcoming movie 'Jai Ho'

By Sneha May Francis

Remember what a massive blockbuster ‘Dabangg’ was? Remember how it united the die-hard Salman Khan fans with those who weren't? 

Remember how Chulbul Pandey became an overnight sensation, and his aviators and his waist-belt-sliding dance move turned into a rage?

Remember how Salman even twisted out a sequel so that his not-so-famous brother Arbaaz could have another go at stardom?

Well, ‘Jai Ho’ is Salman’s attempt at resurrecting another brother’s career.

Not just that, it’s also an effort to help his closest pals, who’ve either done their Bollywood stint or whose career never really took off, giving them each a part that exposes Salman’s immense generosity.

From Monish Bhel to Suniel Shetty, to Mahesh Manjrekar, to Ashmit Patel to Yash Tonk, to Mukul Dev to Sana Khan, to Tulip Joshi to Vikas Bhalla, to Aditya Pancholi to Sharad Kapoor, they all find a part in their pal’s social crusade.

It’s not their talent, or the lack of it, but their loyalty to the Khan that clearly worked in their favour.

If anything, it appears to be Salman’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to his friends.

He even pitches a newcomer as his ladylove, further emphasizing how ‘Jai Ho’ is more about flaunting Salman’s ‘being human’ persona and less about a movie.

So there, he borrows a slogan made famous by AR Rahman’s musical genius in Danny Boyle’s Oscar-winning ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ropes in 'Ghajini’-famed Murugadoss to spin a story influenced by his pal Sanjay Dutt’s endearing ‘Munnabhai’ series and Aamir Khan’s celebrated ‘3 Idiots’, and calls his buddies to fill in the blanks.

The only hiccup being there’s no real genuineness in this attempt.

While Salman loyalists might applaud and hoot, and ensure their star remains unaffected at the movie box-office, it’s the other discerning movie-watchers who are left rather disappointed.

‘Jai Ho’ kicks off with Salman playing the unforgiving social crusader, who roars deafeningly when he tackles rogues and criminals or swiftly turns into Hulk when his vocal chords fail to create an impact.

And, when he isn’t breaking bones, or flinging people around or tearing up his shirt in menacing fury, he’s busy creating innovative dance moves with his ladylove or gang of boys.

That’s not all. He even devises an incredible chain reaction that prompts people to clean a system corrupted by social evils.

“Don’t say ‘thank you’. Instead, help three others, and ask them to help three others,” he repeats consistently through the two-hour-twenty-minutes screen time.

Whatever the reason for choosing ‘3’ as the magic number, the formula works. And, why not? It’s Salman who is the teacher.

He’s incredibly flamboyant and plays up his personality with panache. You only wish there was a good story to back his efforts.

And, joining him in this revolution is the pretty Daisy Shah, who twirls and sways with much earnestness. But, in a movie that never really shifts focus from Salman or his piercing eyes, she remains sidelined.

Even Tabu, despite being sincere, is left without much to do. Her little son, who is charming as a little monster, is probably the most entertaining, after Salman, of course!

So, with so much going on, and nothing really, ‘Jai Ho’ is just a glorious canvas that piggybanks heavily on Salman’s colossal popularity.
Head out only if you are a Salman supporter, if not, this social campaign might appear unimaginatively tiring.