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Jaane Jaan, Kareena Is Dazzling In Her Murderous Avatar



Jaane Jaan

Jaane Jaan(Netflix)

Rating: ****

Kareena Kapoor, Kalimpong and Keigo Higashino are the three factors that make Jaane Jaan a whiplash-sharp,hefty whodunit.

 Subtle  and supple, the crime  thriller  based on Higashino’s mysterious  and kinetic  novel The Devotion Of Suspect X  projects the protagonist  as being as hapless and heroic as Hitchcock’s heroine.

There are a 2008 Japanese film  Suspect X, 2012 Korean film  Perfect Number  and   2017 Chinese film The Devotion of Suspect X , all based  on the same Japanese novel.Jaane  Jaan compares favourably with all the movie adaptations of  the novel. Director Sujoy Ghosh makes the original enigmatic ballad  on sublime  love during a spell of  crime, evocative  and  poetic  without  trying to be  either.

There is an easy fluency in the narrative , and  credit for it must go to the two leads Jaideep Ahlawat as Kareena’s  unconditionally  besotted neighbour who brings  a zen-like grace to his borderline-stalkers’ role.Vijay  Varma who I suspect was getting typecast as  the grey-hearted smooth-talker, is  a good dedicated cop who gets smitten enough by the murder  suspect to convince himself into believing whatever cock-and-bull stories  she feeds him.

The thing is, who is not?  Who would not be  smitten by Maya, a single  mother  running a café in Kalimpong,  as she is played by the certifiably incandescent  Kareena  Kapoor Khan. No one else could have pulled off Maya’s  mysterious manoeuverings with  such magnificent muliebrity. She is  at once  naïve  and scheming, strong and vulnerable, simple and seductive.

When she  ends up snuffing her abusive husband out  she is  …not  quite the damsel in distress, though the men around her, especially her troubled introverted mathematician neighbour Naren(Jaideep Ahlawat)   who wants to keep Maya  and her  daughter  out of harm’s way no matter what  it takes, would like to believe she needs to be  looked after.

 This is   love beyond the prescribed paradigm.Director Sujoy Ghosh never known to let go of a  chance to let his female hero find her way out of the tangled web that is woven around her, gives Maya a free flowing  access  into an alibi  to escape from her  crime.

Jaane Jaan is  a curiously non-judgemental  film. It says ,in not so  many words, that it is okay to  err on the side of  crime,  if the  provocation is  extreme. And yet it is  not willing to let Maya get away with  murder that easily.

The  tug  of war between ethical  justice and legal closure is brought to a close in a highly exaggerated and unconvincing climax. Jaane Jaan is  a flawed  police procedural. But one look at Kareena emoting to Lata Mangeshkar’s timeless song Aa jaan-e-jaan, and we are as willing to forgive the film’s flaws as the men in Maya’s lives are willing to  overlook her blind spots.

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