Salman Khan in “Jai Ho.”
What happens when a filmmaker borrows a thematic quotient a la Rajkumar Hirani, packs in bone crunching action Prabhu Dheva ishtyle and throws in a few ingredients from Rohit Shetty brand of cinema?
Jai Ho is the final outcome. Of course, there is always a chance of all of it turning into a khichdi. In that context, even though Jai Ho doesn’t quite turn out to be uniformly relished thali, it has a spice or two from every dish that can be savored.
Of course, it is primarily the man who brings in the platter, Salman Khan, who makes it all possible as he makes it all piping hot. After that, it is the taste buds of the audience, both literally as well as figuratively, that give the most honest reaction.
All this means that for quintessential Salman Khan fans, there is enough on the platter to pick and choose. Bhai ka bracelet, bhai ki ‘dahaad’, bhai ki bike, bhai ki body, bhai ki kick, bhai ki honesty – it is bhaigiri all the way which ensures that Jai Ho goes beyond the script.
(Above): Daisy Shah and Salman Khan in “Jai Ho.”
Not that the script didn’t have much to offer. As a matter of fact, the core story idea is fairly impressive. ‘If someone helps you, help three more, and ask them to continue the trend’ – The core concept of ‘paying it forward’ is actually very pertinent, whether in the current times, or the ones gone by. However – and this is the most surprising part of the film – there is hardly any important sequence or highlight in the film where this idea is actually ‘executed.’
Told, preached, propagated, suggested, repeated – Yes, yes and even more yes. But bringing that into action? Nah, that doesn’t quite happen, which is the sad part.
This is why Jai Ho comes as a film that has two parallel streams running, that try to intersperse with each other, albeit not as seamlessly as one would have wanted. So on one side one gets to see the softer side of Salman Khan who wants the world to follow the path of peace and help. On the other hand he gets into a roadside panga, only to find himself sitting face to face with a Home Minister (Danny Denzongpa) who is inspired from the world created in Ghatak [the dog reference] and Indian [play mind games with the hero].
Having said that, one must credit Sohail Khan for ensuring that there are individual elements in both streams that actually throw in ample moments – both in the first and the second half – to quickly get over any slack that may have been built in the narrative. The whole pretext of ‘paying it forward’ is established well with introduction of Genelia D’Souza’s character, the drunkard (Sameer Khakhar from TV serial Nukkad), autowallah (Mahesh Manjrekar) and even a beggar girl child.
(Above): Salman Khan in “Jai Ho.”
On the other hand ‘blink-and-you-would-miss’ subplots of Vatsal Sheth, Varun Badola, Tulip Joshi and Nauheed Cyrusi are a quick pass. How one wishes that escapades of the three cops – Aditya Pancholi, Pulkit Samrat and Sharad Kapoor – had an even larger presence, as was the case with Salman’s friends (Ashmit Patel, Yash Tonk).
As for Salman and his sister’s (played by Tabu) endeavor of ‘badla nahi, badlaav’ (which was recently evidenced in Anil Sharma and Sunny Deol’s Singh Saab The Great) is constantly challenged by goons of different shapes and sizes. Due to this, Salman is forced to get into 8-10 major fight sequences, which makes it one practically every 15 minutes. So while he hits, kicks and punches with a Singham like ferocity, there is one particular sequence where practically 500 goons run away after Salman throws just 4-5 punches. The last time one saw a man take on such a crowd was in Ram Charan Teja’s Magadheera and still, the count there was just 100!
(Above): Salman Khan in “Jai Ho.”
This is where the magic of Salman Khan comes in handy, as a result of which you want to join him once he takes on the goons who have put a haath on his sister’s izaat. The pain in his eyes is all there to be seen and so is the euphoria when he goes bare chested in the climactic sequence.
That’s the climax one waits for in a Salman Khan-film where the leading lady (Daisy Shah – confident, and a good dancer), negative force (Sana Khan – stereotypical) and a few dozen other supporting actors are there, well, just to support!