Aadil Keluskar’s ‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’ is an ‘anti-romantic’, heavily conversational film, set in modern day, unobtrusive Mumbai.
Directed by- Aadil Keluskar
Produced by- Vinay Mishra
Star Cast- Khushboo Upadhyay, Rohit Kokate, Himanshu Kohli
This conversational storytelling through a-day-in-a-couple’s-life, starts at Marine Drive, makes-out in a kaali-peeli, sits at Irani cafe, fights at a beach and fornicates at an hour-based hotel room. And their every thought, every action and every discussion have something to say.
The film starts with our protagonists, walking on the side lane of Marine Drive. And as it starts, the conversational tone between the two middle-class lovers clues into the possible distress it is going to cause with its free-spoken storytelling.
Besides, it doesn’t dawdle; It picks it up from the very beginning where the two unnamed lovers start walking the alleys of Marine Drive in sultry heat. On the one hand, where all these years Bollywood has only romanticized it with chai and baarish, ‘Jaoon Kahan…’ dares to unmask the fabricated goodness of love, relationships, city life and life in modern times as a whole.
Amongst a lot of other things, they converse about each other, politics, films, society and its hypocrisy, which actually helps us understand our two protagonists better.
In the taxi scene, the male protagonist strikes a conversation with the taxi driver played by Himanshu Kohli and asks about his political opinion. Fearlessly, the cabbie goes on taking the names of the ruling parties and their leaders. And condemning them for their miniscule work as opposed to the time taken. This shows Keluskar has the gumption to portray the society as it is, without unnecessary sugarcoating.
Furthermore, the characters have been kept nameless. The couple address each other as “janu” or “janeman”. Probably because the names and identities are too irrelevant in the chaos and humdrum of a city life.
He, played by Rohit Kokate, is a byproduct of a phallocentric society. But what is most disturbing is, he is aware of his chauvinism. And this chauvinistic pig belittles his financially independent girlfriend every now and then, but when she dissents, he forces himself onto her without her consent. Whereas, she is hopelessly in love with him. She cries for his attention and persists to get married but is equally fierce and self-assertive.
However, there are many shades to these characters. On the one hand, whereas he stinks with misogynistic conduct, his ‘nihilistic’ perspective towards life, death and everything in between would compel you to think. As an audience, you will loathe him, and feel disgusted and sick to the core…but you cannot ignore him. Maybe, he is the mirage which represents power equation of the society?
Anyhow, as the film progresses, the watch becomes even more uncomfortable. In one of the scenes where the couple goes to a theatre to watch a film, the female tries to concentrate but the male is sexually restless and rants about how these movies show no real politics, no real sex and no real society. The girl suggests to him to watch ‘artsy’ films. To which he replies, “...samajik samvedna wali film white collar logon ke liye hain…”. Needless to say, he can counter anything and everything.
The last part where they go to a hotel room to have sex is somewhat nauseating. His conduct is loathsome. Her resistance is empathetic. And the extreme consequence of this caustic love is frightening…
Over and above that, throughout the film what interferes between you and the characters is their language. It is raw and harsh which reflects Keluskar’s eagerness and intent to depict real-life edginess.
All in all, ‘Jaoon Kahan Bata Ae Dil’ is a dark, anti-romantic film which pricks the idea of ‘Mills and Boons’ conventional romance, but also there is so much more to it. The question is, are you ready to understand it? Just as he tells her “…life comedy hain, agar tu joke samajh pai toh…”.
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