Theories can abound - both are vibrant romances with hatke moments, both talk sincerely to a younger generation - but I suspect that the scriptwriter's ability to find a character's inner voice has much to do with it. Everyone seems to identify with the characters. Of course, everyone seems to think of themselves as either Jai or Aditi of JTYJN and their friends are mapped to the sideys but wasn't it Galileo who once said that the Universe revolves around each one of us and not the sun?
This new found character engagement in the script is incremental, not evolutionary. But in Bollywood - which tends to ignore its abundant talent and feed its audiences a steady diet of masala cliches - its enough to get noticed.
More on that later. First off, Imtiaz Ali's Jab We Met is easily the stronger of the two movies.
JTYJN gets only a few of things right - although they majorly count. Its stunt casting works brilliantly. And Imraan Khan connects with the dweeb within with enough flourish to power the movie. (It's also got a low tech heart which is endearing but I digress)
Yet I felt JTYJN's first time director Abbas Tyrewala, who also wrote the movie, had problems pacing it initially. The first third of the movie will probably go down as its most memorable given that it has its two biggest hit songs (Kabhi Kabhi Aditi and Pappu Can't Dance) in it. But those songs are largely responsible for stopping the narrative dead in its tracks. Tyrewala happily overcomes this and finds his rhythm later on.
JWM had another advantage - Shahid Kapur played his character generously enough to allow Kareena to unfold a revelatory performance. In JTJYN, Imraan's geeky flair doesn't have anyone to bounce off of, least of all his partner Genelia, who turns in a safely boring, by the numbers performance.
In any case on to the glass half full - so what is it that causes people to connect both movies together?
I felt that the writers Imtiaz and Abbas had well developed back stories for each character. You couldn't see it in the movie - but when writers work this way, they end up writing lines for characters that sound genuine, making them stand out and allowing audiences to connect with them. In addition, when characters acted a certain way in each movie, they did so with a consistency that matched their motivation and psyche. (Michael Caine's prep story for his role in The Dark Knight is a great lite example of this)
I hope to see more of this trend in the future. But there are a couple of thorny problems worth watching in this space.
This trend needs to move beyond fun-bindaas Bollywood flicks and address characters in larger, masala flicks where characters tend to be broader. I mean no disrespect to the numerous movies that might have done this previously - but we are talking about mass market hits here.
And second, throwing traditional masala moments, like say songs, becomes harder in a movie that is well written. After all, imagine a sad sack who breaks into a dance with a guitar in the middle of a mope worthy moment. It would entirely derail the flick. So new constructs have to be developed.They have to be tried. Some will work, some won't.
Still, it can be done. (JWM snuck its songs into the movie superbly) And I hope it will.
- Both movies have repeat value for Pitu
- j points out that the trend started with Dil Chahta Hai
- Bella identified with Shahid in JWM
- The hit status of both movies brings up a lot of comparisons notes girlie girl
- meena on why she liked JTYJN and one green scarf in JWM that drove her crazy
- Never Mind!! rates both movies
- Kanan loved the songs in JWM
- meena says Scarves on men: Why?!
- Pitu wants one Kareena outfit and remembers some ugliness from Taal
- j demystifies scarves on Indian men
- Mind Rush on the long standing connection between scarves and desi men
- Anyone seen Voice of India yet? asks Anon
- JTYJN reminded Nemo of A Lot Like Love
- leera reviews JTYJN
- svr didn't dig the song placements in JWM at all
- Lin on Veronica-Betty, scarves on men and rolled up jacket sleeves
- Pitu identified with Jughead
- j always rooted for Veronica
- malz wonders if an updated Archie is available
- Right here
- svr expects Aamir's song insertion stunt to set a new benchmark for marketing
- Pitu remembers a similar song insertion in Maine Pyaar Kiya