Rarely have I come across a relatable, refreshing film with as much feel-good power as Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na (JTYJN).
Any student will relate to the part about an aunty telling you your phone is the reason you don’t know where your time went.
The first time I saw the film, I was still in school. I couldn’t wait to enjoy all that young-adult life would offer. I was smart enough to know my friends and I wouldn’t be able to break into choreographed dance sequences. However, I looked forward to the late-night dance parties, picnic trips, and surprise birthdays. Most of all, I think I wanted that experience of things aligning seamlessly for oneself in the professional, personal, and of course, romantic sense.
It has become common to see or hear about films or television shows from childhood becoming irrelevant for several reasons. For example, movies like You’ve Got Mail, or Home Alone might not make the most sense for viewers today. However, JTYJN is still relevant; it still makes sense. If nothing, all of the songs on the playlist are absolute gold.
The pandemic hit the earlier half of my college life. In the latter half, I find preparing for graduate school daunting and degree requirements endless. Amidst all this, I got the idea to revisit this classic Bollywood romantic comedy to see if college turned out to be what JTYJN portrayed. If it hasn’t, I think I do have the capabilities to make it as memorable, in the filmy style, as I can. After all, I do still have a year left.
For those who haven’t watched the movie, it follows the lives of a group of college kids with a significant focus on Jai Singh Rathore (Imran Khan) and Aditi Mahant (Genelia D’Souza). Supporting characters include Bombs (Alishka Varde), Jiggy (Nirav Mehta), Rotlu (Karan Makhija), and Shaleen (Sughanda Garg).
From the start, you can tell that this is a movie without typical Bollywood tropes. The leading man is characteristically non-violent. The leading lady does not shy away from a fight. The group of friends and their families are supportive of each other. We witness a strong single mother in Savitri (Ratna Pathak Shah) who wants to endow her son with a healthy upbringing and strong moral values. Savitri engages in heated conversations with her dead husband, Amar Singh Rathore (Naseeruddin Shah), who talks to her through his portrait in their house.
Additionally, the facets of each character’s relationships are relatable and endearing. Most can understand Aditi’s love-hate relationship with her brother Amit (Prateik Babbar). The exploration of Meghna’s (Manjari Fadnnis) domestically violent background is done in a poignant manner allowing audiences to make sense of her complex character. Furthermore, Jai’s struggle to pay respect to his lineage instead of adhering to his upbringing provides a powerful climax.
The airport scene where Jai manages to find Aditi before she leaves for New York City is the end of what we can see of their college life.
At this point, I think my time at LUMS is quite close to the utopian vision of student life offered by JTYJN. I have mostly been on a beautiful campus in a wonderful city to live within. The campus has countless supportive peers and faculty who help catalyze growth and positive change in each other. The batch nights are a respite from the stresses of academics.
Sure, it isn’t perfect. Enrollment issues, work drama, personal drama, society politics, the bout of online education because of covid.
Regardless, I think it has been good so far on an absolute scale.