Banner: Vishesh Films
Producer: Mahesh Bhatt, Mukesh Bhatt
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Sonal Chauhan, Javed Sheikh, Sameer Kochar, Vipin Sharma
Money, the good life, and his love — that is his heaven on earth. Unfortunately, for him, they do not mix and the choice is not easy.
Cute boy Emraan Hashmi plays the slick and smart fixer Arjun who has an unbelievable sixth sense of being able to predict cricket match outcomes right down to every ball. In his straight life of crooked ways comes a damsel who steals his heart at first glimpse and compels our hero to go to lengths fit only for a 70 mm drama.
However, his compelling addiction to betting and match fixing coupled with his extraordinary talent at it provides the roadblock to a blissful ever after. Damsel demands mending of ways, especially after Arjun’s connections with a terrifying Don are revealed. But Arjun finds it difficult to do so and this tug-of-war ends in a dramatic end typical of Mahesh Bhatt films.
For Vishesh Films/Hashmi fans, this is soul-satisfying stuff. The film, although well executed, follows the production house formula of a controversial story stir-fried with two scoops love sautéed in five scoops emotion and garnished with five scoops drama. The other ingredients in the tadka include one foreign location to hide economical production values, Pritam’s trademark music, and above all, Hashmi’s trademark kisses.
For its entire formulaic pattern, Jannat is not a very bad. The film cashes in on the Bob Woolmer episode with the cricket frenzy of the nation and the grey underbelly of match fixing.
Nevertheless, in all fairness, the match-fixing and betting episodes are the ones best handled in the film. The script and screenplay is swift and crisp, and Kunal Deshmukh, the 24-yr-old director contributes in both areas. Dialogues are tight instead of trite and thankfully bereft of the emotional overload Bhatt films are wont to have.
The young Deshmukh handles the subject with a deftness belying his years and extracts decent performances from a listless Sonal Chauhan and Hashmi, otherwise a certified average performer. Despite a meaty role Chauhan leaves a lot to be desired in terms of presence, energy, style or performance. Hashmi serves the over-ambitious, super-confident, over-the-edge character perfectly and hence does not have to rely to hard on performance to take him there.
Among the supporting cast, Javed Sheikh plays his negative character with suitable aplomb looking the part of an international Don every bit. Sameer Kochar makes his presence felt with his good cop but his attempt to add dimension to his personality with the brown-bread sandwich bit is a distinct case of over-doing a character. Vipin Sharma appears in a surprising cameo as Hashmi’s dad and performs worse than he did in Taare Zameen Par.
Cape Town looks lovely in the small footage that it has been attributed. Cinematography of course does not do it enough justice, but it really is not meant to. It serves the story well except the ingeniously artificial graphics which harm an otherwise smooth visual flow.
Calling it a breath of fresh air is going a bit over board but in the context of tripe like Sirf, Black and White, Jimmy and what not; Jannat actually is quite nice. The choice for you is not that tough. A good time-pass is surely in the offing.