The best thing about a Mukhesh Bhatt release is that no one expects much from it. And more often than not, his films turn out to be quite entertaining. He is also credited with having launched budding directors in this new age of Bollywood (Recall : Anurag Basu). Jannat is the directorial debut of Kunal Deshmukh, and among all the flops that have come out of the Indian hindi film industry this year, Jannat happens to be a huge surprise.
Jannat has two parts to its story. The former set in India, the later in South Africa. Essentially, like most Bhatt films, it is a love story. However, its main storyline deals with betting and match fixing in the cricketing world. Arjun, the character portrayed by Emraan Hashmi, is a man with, what he calls, a 'sixth sense'. He is a master predictor of cricket matches. He becomes a bookie and soon gains attention in the eyes of underworld don Abu Ibrahim, who buys arms and ammunitions with the money he makes from betting on cricket matches. Torn apart by his love for the girl of his dreams, Zoya, and his greed for money, Arjun is left with making a choice between living a normal hard-earned life and an easy, yet deceiving one.
The first good thing about Jannat is that it has a solid storyline. Whether it is the childish, yet well defined love story, or the complexities of a man who is clearly suffering from some obsessive compulsive disorder or other. Then there is the cricketing world and underworld bit. This is one of the most original and well written storylines to come out of Bollywood this year so far. When it comes to being effective, it achieves that in its entirety in its two hours and twenty minute running time. With everything from the mention of a cricketer turned comedy show host, to the murder of a coach at the World Cup, the storyline is the strongest point of the movie.
The music is not as good as one expects it to be. Judai being the pick of the lot. However, the version sung by Kamraan Ahmad is not there in the film. Zara si is just okay. Characteristic of a Bhatt film. Rupam Islam's hindi singing debut is noticeable, although missable. The song is too similar to the songs of his band, Fossils. The background score is very good. It gels in very well with the pace of the film. Emraan Hashmi, apart from having earned the tag of 'serial kisser', happens to be a freakishly good actor. The versatility of the roles that he has done clearly shows that. From being a wife-thief, to an undercover agent, and now a simple man with quite a serious mental disorder. He is like what his dad states in the film - 'A compulsive liar'. And in order to get himself out of any situation, he does what is characteristic of him. He lies some more. Newcomer Sonal Chauhan is okay, making the transition from a sweet and bubbly Mumbai girl to a sexy bar dancer in South Africa. She does look quite anorexic in certain scenes, but as a whole she looks great. Javed Sheikh, as Abu Ibrahim is cold. Effective. Vishal Malhotra, as the sidekick serves the humor quotient well. The lad has come a long way from hosting Disney cartoons on Doordarshan.
Bollywood's only great film this year happens to Jodhaa Akbar, with Mithya and Shaurya being the other two 'good' films. Race might be a commercial success, but it is a highly frustrating film. Even Bhootnaath failed to click. Tashan is a no brainer! In a year when Bollywood is churning out flop after flop, Jannat serves as a breath of fresh air. Although far from heavenly, Jannat has a lot to offer at a time when cricket is on the lips of almost every Indian (Read : The IPL).
The IPL has come to a stage when it gets boring to sit down and watch an entire game. Do yourself a favor, grab a Jannat ticket and spend two and a half hours in an air conditioned theater watching a film which redifines all the 'Ishtyle' and 'Pharmoola' that Bollywood has been coming up with off late.