Number of good-hearted crooks: Two. Number of bimbette girlfriends: Two. Number of evil villains: One. Relief upon exiting the theatre: Priceless.
MAR 15, 2009 – OF ALL THE ACTORS CAPABLE OF PORTRAYING a cool-cucumber conman, the kind who’ll hotwire a car even as a police posse sniffs at his heels, would you pick Fardeen Khan? It’s not just the looks. (Who knows – perhaps the underworld is littered with carjackers who resemble a ball of butter that’s never seen the outside of a refrigerator.) Even his attitude is that of someone who’s never done a day’s work in his life, let alone slave away as a garage mechanic (hence those lethal carjacking skills). His is the face you see in the ads in low-rent lifestyle magazines. There’s not an iota of individuality in his pampered features, but he does seem the sort who’d only have to snap his fingers before a liveried servant scurried over with refreshments. Just who’s going to believe him as Jai, one half of the roughneck titular duo in Jai Veeru?
As the other half, Kunal Khemu at least has it easier, a small-time actor attempting to convince us he’s a small-time crook. The moves are the same – the full-tilt swagger intended to conceal the faint whiff of desperation at not being able to crack the bigger leagues. At one point, Veeru wants to ask Divya (Anjana Sukhani) out for a cup of coffee, and when Jai reminds him that he hates coffee, Veeru remarks that it’s okay, because, “Coffee ke saath toffee bhi to hai.” I suppose that’s how you know you really want to be an actor, if you signed a film even after a line this appalling appeared in the screenplay (along with the opportunity to stick out your behind and fart loudly) – in the hope that the big break is just around the corner, till which time this is useful pocket money.
Of such pseudo-existential musings (and several glances at the wristwatch) is a viewing of Jai Veeru made – unless, of course, you actually intend to follow the plot about Jai and Veeru joining hands (yes, yes, like that other Jai and Veeru) in order to bring down a deadly gangster named Tejpal (Arbaaz Khan, who appears to be playing a lovesick teenage girl in disguise, considering how lovingly he records every minute detail of his daily dealings in a little journal). Director Puneet Sira is content imparting a solitary touch to the proceedings, wherein he freeze-frames an arbitrary shot (to the accompaniment of a soundtrack whoosh) and drains the colour to a pallid yellow, which gives the impression of the raw stock having turned ill at the indignities it’s being subjected to. Even a sort-of romantic interlude involving Dia Mirza and a pair of handcuffs can’t stave off the bottomless tedium.
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