Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

May 31, 2013

Love hurts

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:44 pm

May 31, 2013

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Kalki Koechlin, Aditya Roy Kapur, Evelyn Sharma, Farooque Shaikh, Dolly Ahluwalia, Kunal Roy Kapur

Director: Ayan Mukherji

How much you enjoy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani depends entirely on how much you’ve missed the typical Karan Johar formula. Wake Up Sid director Ayan Mukerji takes us on a familiar journey through holiday romances, family conundrums, and big fat Indian weddings. It’s predictable every step of the way, but Mukerji has a superb cast that never slips, even when his script does.

Straight-laced ‘Scholar Naina’ (Deepika Padukone) has little in common with thrill-seeking Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor) when she joins him and his two best friends – Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) and Avi (Aditya Roy Kapur) – on a trip to Manali. But after a series of collective experiences, including a messy run-in with the locals, a midnight trek to a high-altitude peak, and intoxicated Holi celebrations, she’s lost her inhibitions and also her heart. Too bad Bunny is focused on chasing his dream to travel the world, unwilling to let anything or anyone hold him back. When they’re all reunited at a wedding eight years later, Bunny must ask himself if he really wants to make the same choices all over again.

Although writer-director Ayan Mukerji sets his story in a world far from Wake Up Sid, he still has his hero go through an existential crisis in both life and love. If his first film was about a slacker finding a purpose, the message in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is that life can pass you by, if you don’t stop to savor the moments. This idea, however, is couched in the template of a dozen love stories starting from Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

It’s a pity the treatment has a been-there-seen-that feel to it because there are some modern ideas hidden underneath all that fluff. Part of what makes Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani warm and fuzzy is the friendship that Bunny and his die-hard buddies Aditi and Avi share, despite their shifting dynamics over eight years. Mukerji understands and nicely puts across the bittersweet qualities that friendships go through, and more often than once I found myself misty-eyed. Even love is viewed rather practically by the four key characters here – it’s nice if you’ve found someone, but it needn’t be the end of the world if you’re not in a relationship. It’s refreshing also that Mukerji doesn’t tie up all the loose ends in the movie; not everyone gets the perfect happy ending.

These are, however, small mercies in a film that smacks of assembly line reproduction. The high-gloss, picture-postcard cinematography, the gilt-edged production design, and the unending scenes of wedding revelry and over-choreographed dance numbers have that distinct Dharma Productions stamp on them, each frame oozing excess. Still, they’re a lot less clumsy than the scenes of faux realism – like that entirely needless prologue in a Mumbai brothel where Bunny breaks into a dance with a hooker, even if she is played by Madhuri Dixit. Equally unconvincing is the intended grittiness in a sequence where an older Bunny, now a documentary film cameraman, daringly ventures into a seedy European ghetto shooting drug peddlers on the sly.

Many of the film’s problems, fortunately, are smoothened out by the terrific cast. Kalki Koechlin invests heart and spunkiness to the part of brash tomboy Aditi who is the glue that binds this group, while Aditya Roy Kapur is entirely likeable as the goofy Avi. The film benefits even from the spot-on timing of bit players like Dolly Ahluwalia and Kunal Roy Kapur, while Farooque Shaikh melts your heart in a two-scene cameo.

Ranbir Kapoor turns on the charm in full heartthrob mode. He’s pitch-perfect as the devil-may-care wanderer and flirt, and yet chokes you up in the more vulnerable, sensitive flashes. It’s difficult to stand out in the same frame as Ranbir, but Deepika Padukone knocks it out of the park as Naina. She brings a lovely innocence to the early scenes, and then an understated sexiness when we meet her again in the film’s second half. The pair sparks off each other, displaying a searing chemistry that neither has shared with other co-stars.

Too long by at least twenty minutes, this is a watchable film despite its conventional arc. Fans of Wake Up Sid will likely miss the original voice Mukerji revealed in his surprisingly mature debut, but with this one he shows he can do formula with as much ease. I’m going with three out of five for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. If light-hearted mush is what you’re seeking, you’re looking in the right place.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. how i love this review. it’s like a reflection of everything i felt while watching the movie. agree with the negative points too. i loved the movie but above all it’s amazing how well deepika has portrayed her character.it’s so heart touching and she sure can act. ranbir is so great as usual and together with deepika form an amazing couple thus giving an amazing movie
    it’s also true that for both of them never have we seen them sharing such amazing and cute chemistry before with any of their co stars. already want to see them in more movies together. two talented actors for sure. would say brad pitt and angelina jolie 😀

    Comment by anon — May 31, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

  2. how i love this review. it’s like a reflection of everything i felt while watching the movie. agree with the negative points too. i loved the movie but above all it’s amazing how well deepika has portrayed her character.it’s so heart touching and she sure can act. ranbir is so great as usual and together with deepika form an amazing couple thus giving an amazing movie
    it’s also true that for both of them never have we seen them sharing such amazing and cute chemistry before with any of their co stars. already want to see them in more movies together. two talented actors for sure. would say brad pitt and angelina jolie 😀 <3 them both together and awesome review

    Comment by anon — May 31, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

  3. Good review it’s not a 5 stars movie but it does make for a great watch.
    Ranbir rocks as bunny and deepika looks sizzling and is talented at the same time . good one from ayan mukherjee

    Comment by roshan — May 31, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

  4. though, very well written review I still have something to say which is against it. I think Rajeev still couldn’t deal with commercial bollywood movies. I saw it and can say that it deserve to get better review(or ratings) from Rajeev Masand. Movies like Rowdy Rathore, BODYguard and many others like these deserves thumbs down but YJHD couldn’t be overlooked.

    Comment by Paras — May 31, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

  5. I thought u would give 2 stars….You are being too generous here

    Comment by Mini — June 1, 2013 @ 2:28 am

  6. its disapponiting…

    Comment by shishir h p — June 1, 2013 @ 6:47 am

  7. Surely the chatter in social media also indicates that its the Big star formula and conventional romance…And this poll and wordcloud also point towards that http://on.fb.me/15oDXEz
    …Do you think Kalki, Aditya will also be talked about for their performance even Ayan hardly gets a mention….

    Comment by Neha — June 1, 2013 @ 6:53 am

  8. Enjoyed reading the review Mr.Masand. Keep up the wonderful work. Here’s my review of ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ http://aajani.blogspot.ca/2013/05/movie-review-yeh-jawaani-hai-deewani_31.html Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone recreate the magic that was missing in previous Bollywood films as sparks fly on screen.

    Comment by Amin Ajani — June 1, 2013 @ 9:56 am

  9. If you have watched ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ … at times you would feel as you are watching a Advertisements of (Eclairs, FoxTravels, Vim Liquid, Aquafina, Maggi, MakeMyTrip, FedEx , Nokia Lumia etc ) instead of movie.. Cheap marketing stunts…

    Comment by AG — June 1, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

  10. my good god! rajeev!! i had set u in such high pedestal!! u give 3 stars for this crap f a movie!! i’ll give half a star..!! tell me one single thing that is original about this movie.. so so peripheral… every shot..every scene is somthn that has been seen b4…the script for what it believes is XXL in size while its characterization is poverty struck… its ok.. once in a while a fall for u is humane, else i love ur reviews..!! may be the mist in your eyes made it tough for you to see what shit it exactly was!!

    regards, anand

    Comment by anand ekarshi — June 1, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  11. it was more like love aajkal reworked. aditya needs to watch out against being type cast as an alcoholic and deepika against being typecast as the gf always waiting for the hero to realize he loves her after an interval before he gets back to her. sheeesh!

    Comment by ria — June 1, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

  12. My review for the movie

    Comment by Ashwath — June 1, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

  13. This is probably the worst Rajeev Masand review ever. Period.

    Ayan Mukerji has clearly lost all the respect that he had gained in my heart after Wake Up Sid. This seems more like Karan Johar deliberately meddling with Mukherjee’s version of YJHD by filling it in with mindless song and dance sequences. At 2 hours and 43/45 minutes its a stretcher of a movie with little or no plot. Editing is poor, the TV version of the track Badtameez Dil is much smoother than the movie. The only bright spot is Kalki’s role of Aditi – though not my personal favourite but she carried it off like a breeze. Her voice, hair, the lifted eyebrows at the perfect moment and her subtle expression deserve a special mention. No one else could have played the role of the funky spoiled brat better than her. In my humble opinion, she should have been cast in Priyanka Chopra’s award winning role of the lead actress in Barfi.

    Just because UTV is the distributor does not mean you pay favours to the family and cast the brothers – Kunal Roy Kapur and Aditya Roy Kapur together. Any intelligent viewer can see through that. Evelyn Sharma comes out beautifully especially after the minion role she got in Nautanki Saala.

    Yet again Ranbir Kapoor dons a role where he is shown to be an ‘awara’ having a job that means nothing in this real world (Barfi, Saawariya, Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani, and so many more).

    I respect your views nonetheless. Just trying to play the Devil’s Advocate.

    Comment by Shashwat Goel — June 2, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  14. agree totally with you.. plus the film’s soundtrack is a big bonus..
    i go with 3.5/5

    Comment by kunwar siddharth — June 2, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

  15. the movie didn’t deserve more than 2 star!! It was like an old wine in a new bottle..the only saving grace were kalki and aditya. Ranbir and deepikas acting was sloppy and so was the storyline…YAWN!!!

    Comment by akshay — June 2, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

  16. please only becoz of madhuri we all bought the tickets. very much needed.

    Comment by rao — June 2, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  17. Well, its definitely a one-time watch, you smile, you have tears in your eyes, you laugh and you become nostalgic through out the movie but it all gets over in the theatre!
    So after watching the movie unlike Wake up Sid which stayed in my heart for some days, I had nothing to take home after watching Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, except for some scenes.

    Comment by Shreya — June 3, 2013 @ 10:25 am

  18. Totally agree.I kind of liked the movie despite it was formulated.

    Comment by Gururaj — June 3, 2013 @ 10:37 am

  19. I can’t second you on this, too many songs, below average plot.
    Its an Ode to slack-movie making..However the chemistry between the 3 friends is good

    Comment by Shankz — June 3, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

  20. What Mr. Masand …. this is a wrong message that you are conveying in the era of spot fixing. YJHD is no fresh movie. Its nothing worth 3 starts. After long time i am not very impressed.

    Comment by Himanshu — June 3, 2013 @ 2:06 pm


    Comment by RAKESH — June 3, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  22. I agree with the review and rating.

    Comment by prashanth — June 3, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

  23. Rajeev… Your judgement about movies are on spot most of the time .. Good Going.. 🙂
    Am also sharing my thoughts about the movie..


    Comment by Ajit Ignatius — June 4, 2013 @ 12:42 am

  24. Spot on reviews in tandem with the genius, Rajeev..


    Comment by vipul — June 8, 2013 @ 9:20 am

  25. 0/5. pathetic movie

    Comment by ronak — June 9, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

  26. When u give YHJD the same rating as Jab We Met, it “hurts”.1.5 is the justified score here.

    Comment by sidharth — June 10, 2013 @ 8:18 am

  27. despite of the fact that you gave it 3 stars…..i still have no willingness to watch this movie……..because trailer sucked a big time and gave me a feeling that its been their and done before……..disappointed with most 2013 movie after a good 2012 i thought 2013 would be a great year for innovative cinema

    Comment by nived — June 10, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

  28. Considering the junk grade crap that most of our movies turn out to be, this one was one step better. Is it wrong to hope that one day our producers and directors will not put us through 2 hrs of crap for 10 mins of decent cinema?

    Comment by Swapnil — June 16, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

  29. Sorry but was not able to stop myself from writing this:
    I salute to all those who sat and watch the full movie and coming up with good and negative point in forums
    i watch the movie for 15 min and felt its direction is simple bakwaas,story is like bring all past super hits mixed them in a bowl and claim a new dish(movie) quite preposterous .
    And where these directors come high class mumbaian dude see real india ,our country is on the verge of revolution common man is fighting for food ,youth fight for social rights,girls fighting for security and i found a scene in first 15 min where deepika start thinking that she missed so much in her life because she was studying BULL SHIT
    one american director come and show india’s real (we have to except) real face and won oscar we are still making movies for 100 crore.

    Comment by praveen — July 28, 2013 @ 3:42 am

  30. I’m glad I read this after I’d watched the movie or I’d have been disappointed.
    God is in the details and the details were messed up here in the movie to an extent (the wedding extravaganza bit was correctly done though)
    What made it unreal looking to me-
    1. The so called book worm already has the cold gear from ‘The North Face’- a brand that does not yet sell in India as far as I know.
    ‘the North Face’ is such an expensive brand (jackets starting at around 20k INR that I would not expect people who wear every single warm clothing from the brand to travel by train from Mumbai to Delhi!

    2. Wearing hot pants, mini skirts on roads in North India and escaping unscathed (un-raped) is too incredible for words!

    3. The book worm doesn’t have to borrow clothes from Aditi – she gets to bring out her hot pants and daisy dukes whenever needed. Too good a wardrobe for a bookworm medical student.

    4. The man may go and have one night stands and still be desirable- but the girl has to be chaste- not even any romantic history exists for her during those8/10 years. Not just tough to swallow but also somewhat regressive.

    Comment by Jaya — September 18, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

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