Stardom can achieve a lot in India. Apart from convincing masses to buy various products, it can turn dud scripts into blockbusters. Ayan Mukherjee tells us something about the youth, yet again after 'Wake up Sid'. Is he representing the current generation? Is he out to inspire them? Does he have an undying message in the life and travels of Bunny Thapar? Disappointingly, it is none of the above. 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani' rides on the back of Ranbir Kapoor who at times, appears lost in bland scenes and tries hard in others to put life in them. The anguish can be felt by some of the audience and instantly they can conclude that this melodramatic, cheesy and inebriated representation of a non-existent class of youth is just over-the-top.
The wafer thin plot revolves around Bunny's (Ranbir Kapoor) aspirations of carefree world travel. Not only does he have to convince his father (Farooq Shaikh) to let him live his dream but he must then tolerate his friends, the loud and indecisive Avi (Aditya Roy Kapoor) who has some occasional funny dialogue and Aditi (Kalki Koechlin), who was frankly better off in Kashyap's realistic films since the fake vibe she carries is terribly unconvincing. Then of course, they take a 'make-my-trekking-trip' to Manali, joined by the studious Naina (spectacled Deepika Padukone) who must awkwardly endure the games, flirting, drinking and street fighting that the others so happily indulge in. Thereafter, Bunny travels abroad for his education and career, without much happening in that phase apart from solitary moments of photography, random hook-ups and pensive introspection. Then suddenly, he gets a video invite to Aditi's wedding in Udaipur where they are all back to flirting, drinking, fighting and a lot more dancing this time.
â€œI want to fly, I want to run, I even want to fall but I don't want to stopâ€... at the surface, Bunny's philosophy is alluring but without the backing of a script to support it, those lines just fade away into drunken indulgence. On one hand he claims to enjoy his way of life and on the other, being love struck, his conviction melts in a lip-lock scene. His dilemma is his weakness and perhaps the film's major drawback.
The immaturity and inaneness of several scenes contribute to the incredulity of Mukherjee's script. While he tries to resolve fundamental differences between the lifestyle of two individuals, he indulges in nonsensical representation of today's generation. Now he leads the folks of small towns and villages to believe that city-dwellers are a part of this cool culture where girls call each other 'dudes' and a guy addresses a girl as 'Man'. To add to that, the pahadi folks would feel miserable about their own lives knowing that city people can hike up the snowy peaks while being dressed for a party, drinking along the way, listening to their music on large headphones and then discover German mountaineer parties over the next hill.
The other harsh reality that is uncovered by Mukherjee's vision is that as you start traveling around the world, you tend to grow an ugly beard because you don't have to give a damn. Rana Daggubati, Aditya Roy Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor tend to have striking visual similarities with their beards that may perhaps appeal to Mukherjee's version of those chic city girls (Lara).
Eventually though, Mukherjee gives rise to the much needed maturity in the film when Bunny and Naina struggle to relate to each others' lives and conclude that â€œtum galat nahi ho, sirf alag hoâ€. Only if the conclusion of it all had been along those lines, the film would have been more realistic and meaningful.
Ranbir Kapoor rides the film on his shoulders. As versatile a dancer that he is, Ranbir also pulls off comedy, tragedy, indifference and seriousness with equal credibility. With just a handful of memorable dialogues, his potential hasn't been realized by Mukherjee and to make it worse, the supporting cast does not match up to his level. Kalki Koechlin was impressive in Anurag Kashyap's films but she seems quite out of place here. The first half of the movie is overacted with loudness that gets irritating. Aditya Roy Kapoor too tends to be louder than required and is reduced to the most poorly written character in the movie. Farooq Shaikh extended a favor to the director by taking up his role which wasn't worthy of such a fine actor. Deepika Padukone still struggles with the simplest of roles and tries to drive attention to her skimpy clothing rather than expressing various emotions. Her spontaneity may have improved but versatility and credibility of her character are still lacking. The true star of the film however, is Manali and its surrounding snowy scenery. The Himalayas have seldom been depicted in such spectacular fashion and the scene on the mountain top is awe inspiring (only to be spoiled by Ranbir's unnecessary screaming).
There are too many songs by Pritam in this Deewani Jawani. Balam Pichkari is a catchy holi song while the Madhuri Dixit Via Agra track is forgettable. Kabira is melodious but reminiscent of Iktara. Badtameez Dil is fun to watch with some excellent choreography and upbeat tunes.
Ayan Mukherjee's attempt at portraying the lifestyles and challenging relationships of today's youth had some foundation but lost its way in the cheesy, incredulous delivery of the script. Too many fake characters delineate little more than indulgence in alcohol, women and the carefree attitudes. Zoya Akhtar's take on such a subject was far superior (ZNMD) in every aspect with depth in its story, characters and the exemplary direction. 'Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani' is just not meaningful enough for the viewer to care about the characters or story. Too much of it was over-the-top from the beginning to recover its credibility. Add to that, the occasional overacting and numerous songs that put brakes on an already struggling story-line. Bunny's character seems determined to live life his own way at times but still seems confused and uncertain about the long run. If that was the point of Mukherjee's film, then it should have been titled 'Wake up Bunny'.
- 6.233 on a scale of 1-10.