Jaane Jaan Review: Jaideep Ahlawat Soars as the Silent Winner in This Mediocre Sujoy Ghosh Thriller Comeback


Jaane Jaan Review: Kareena Kapoor Khan stars as Maya D’Souza, one of the three titular characters in her debut OTT film releasing on September 21, 2023 (also, Khan’s birthday). Alongside her, Jaideep Ahlawat plays the role of a genius and eccentric Maths teacher Naren, and Vijay Varma gets pulled in as the suave police inspector Karan in the Hindi Netflix movie. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, who’s also responsible for the movie’s screenplay based on the highly acclaimed Japanese novel The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, the crime thriller movie is based in Kalimpong.

Produced by Jay Shewakramani, Akshai Puri, Hyunwoo Thomas Kim, Shobha Kapoor, Ekta R Kapoor, the film also stars Saurabh Sachdeva as Ajit aka Maya’s estranged husband and Naisha Khanna as her daughter, Tara, and Karma Takapa as Sundar in supporting roles. Jaane Jaan has a runtime of around 2 hours and 10 minutes and is streaming on the platform with English subtitles for international audiences.

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Jaane Jaan Movie Review Contains No Spoilers

Jaane Jaan Synopsis

Maya D’Souza is a single woman trying to make ends meet while also racing away from her inconvenient past. Though her present life is getting by peacefully, her estranged husband’s murder turns the tables on her, once again disrupting her life’s order and pushing her to the centre of a crime investigation. Her neighbour, a maths genius, steps up to help her, while a persistent cop paces forth to solve the mystery at hand.

Jaane Jaan Review: Discussion

Kahaani‘s director meets the dream team of Kareena Kapoor-Jaideep Ahlawat-Vijay Varma in a mystery thriller setting inspired by an acclaimed Japanese novel. What could go wrong? The execution and a lot more. Sujoy Ghosh had big shoes to fill after his recent missed marks. A lot was riding on the Hindi Suspect X adaptation’s release, especially after the captivating tone set beforehand when its trailer was unveiled. So, does Ghosh make things work after all? Yes and no. He hits but he also misses again.

Watching this movie enlightened a glimpsing reminder of his previous work in Kahaani with Vidya Balan, but that old memory of his frighteningly unpredictable hit only went on to highlight all the missed opportunities in his latest work. Despite Jaane Jaan having the whole package including the quintessential looks and visual appeal of a thriller, with the setting being equally shrouded in the cold clouds of Kalimpong, its writing fails to heighten the climactic resolution’s adrenaline rush, while also lacking in terms of bringing a sense of three dimensionality to its characters.

Jaane Jaan Review: Kareena Kapoor Khan and Vijay Varma.

It’s not as bad as his last project featured in the Lust Stories 2 anthology starring Varma and Tamannaah Bhatia, but the movie’s finale, regardless of how eccentric it may be, was wrapped up quite chaotically, which left me with mixed feelings in mind. Then, coming down to the exceptional star cast.

Kareena Kapoor has repeatedly expressed her desire of being known for more than her fan-favourite characters Poo and Geet, and to make room for a rather intense addition to her roster characters played till now, she’s again tapped into her versatility to create a new image. Though she settles into Maya’s shoes by switching from being a woman with a troubled past to a nervous mother who doesn’t want to be separated from her daughter, her intense comeback falls short to reach impressive heights due to shortcomings of the narrative adaptation.

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She shares chemistry with both her onscreen partners – Ahlawat and Varma – in distinct ways, giving way to two different moods altogether, which in turn adds a touch of greyness to her character as well. However, we’ve seen more intense deliveries from her, especially situated in more dire settings, so I was looking forward to more.

Vijay Varma, on the other hand, brought forth a new side to his onscreen portrayals. Posited in a rather positive light this time, Netflix’s prodigal son has come back with a renewed energy. It’s refreshing to see him switch over from having played the bad guy in his past few back-to-back releases. But even that burst of new energy dies down quite early on as we watch him utter the same reductive dialogues on a loop.

Jaane Jaan Review: Jaideep Ahlawat Still

Ultimately, it’s Jaideep Ahlawat who conquers the scene with his relatively suspicious persona as a man of few words. He really is something! Despite his character living a lowkey life, his performance takes the crown. I really enjoyed seeing how he brought Naren to life onscreen as a questionable person. Even though he’s particularly portrayed as a man who’s devoted to his love, there are a lot of instances that had me questioning his conscience.

It’s quite difficult to place his role into the box of a singularly black or white characterisation, and that’s why he’s the silent winner of this trio. If only his character and his morality was further fleshed out well, it could’ve also helped us dive into the question if doing one wrong to clear up another is the way to make a right.

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of everything, Jaane Jaan is still an enjoyable watch if you’re interested in seeing how the three acclaimed actors’ presences play out when matched on the same screen. Even with its unsatisfying and all over the place finale, the film’s premise and visual identity is a catch initially. I just wish that the writing had further dived into the mystery thriller identity of the genre and made the most of what it had in its grasp.

Jaane Jaan, i.e., the debut Kareena Kapoor Netflix film is now streaming on Netflix.

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