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JAI HO - It doesn't play with the borrowed content well but has a positive message to give as its only merit. (Review By Bobby Sing)
24 Jan, 2014 | Movie Reviews / 2014 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / J

Another biggie, another South remake and another inspired film to take the box office by storm as they loudly say in the media. But since here we are more concerned about the film’s content, irrespective of any earning figures at the box office, so let’s talk about the project in parts, clearing the much discussed confusion over its inspired stuff first as required.
The Inspiration Angle & Comparison
Officially announced as the remake of Telugu film STALIN (2006) directed by A.R. Murugadoss, featuring Chiranjeevi in the lead, JAI HO does take its entire storyline & most of the exact sequences from the south original to put it straight. But then in reality, even STALIN had its major plot of forming a HELP CHAIN (by helping 3 more people), clearly lifted from the English flick PAY IT FORWARD released in the year 2000. Interestingly another important fact about this inspiration story remains that the Hollywood film in this case is a completely different emotional tale of an intelligent child, his lonely-disturbed mother and a caring school teacher. So it has nothing to do with either STALIN or JAI HO in terms of storyline and just the “Help Chain” idea has been lifted here by both the Indian versions without any courtesy.  
Now coming to STALIN, it is a typical high energy, action packed, fast moving South film with a larger than life Hero, who is social messiah and also interested in spreading a loving message of HELP in the people around. The film can easily be rated as an over the top, loudly executed project having everything routine along with a feel good factor used as its major triumph card claiming novelty. Yet despite being nothing great, it strongly works as an explosive action drama with many blood pumping conflicting moments to keep you engrossed, especially with a brilliant opening and a concluding social sequence directed skillfully.
However when I saw its Hindi version JAI HO, made on an almost similar script and identical characterizations then I frankly couldn’t feel the same high paced energy in its different execution, which also fails to bring forward the noble message as strongly as I was expecting. So in comparison terms, director Sohail Khan mellows down the whole pulsating South drama to make it more ‘viewer or family friendly’ and at the same time also adds all the usual ingredients of a Salman Khan film to play it safe. But sadly in the process, he actually dilutes the whole impact of the solid script and delivers an average film with the only strong point of its HELP CHAIN plot desperately asking for some praises and nothing else. For instance he completely changes the entry of the hero in the beginning, making it pretty ordinary and then simply ends the films quickly without leaving any major impact on the viewer. So comparatively, I would like to rate STALIN as a better entertaining film than its official remake JAI HO and certainly PAY IT FORWARD is from a different quality league all together beyond comparison.
JAI HO
Having said that, a major positive factor about JAI HO (which will be loved by all Salman fans) is that this is a different and much improved film from SALMAN KHAN’s recent blockbusters since WANTED (2009). So in case, you felt that his DABANGG, BODYGUARD, READY & EK THA TIGER had nothing much in the name of storyline, content or anything worth mentioning, then JAI HO is at least ahead of these all due to its basic script and a clear social message, which is sure going to be appreciated by many.
The film begins in a very routine manner with an English Club song played along the credits, followed by a typical Hindi Film Hero’s entry beating the goons as usual. Surprisingly all these scenes never make you feel that you are watching one of the most awaited and bigger films of the year quite frankly. It gains momentum once the AAM AADMI related sequences come in with a tragic emotional twist played well and then the HELP CHAIN message brings in a certain kind of freshness, unarguably. Further all the routine elements get slowly introduced in the first hour, including the much needed love angle, a likable child artist, the military flashback and more with the songs interrupting the progression as always. But just before the interval a powerful action sequence comes in as a winner and the viewers feel like the game has just begun taking it sportingly. So before intermission the film largely turns out to be an above average venture with a difference, also spreading social awareness among the people as a welcome change.
But unfortunately, everything falls back to the same seen before kind of stuff post intermission and the film simply fails to materialize on the find build up made in its first half. No doubt here too we have some energetic conflicting sequences with the main villain (introduced in the second half only) offering few fiery dialogues and an enjoyable action. Yet Salman keeps roaring like a Lion in a Sunny Deol mode and again rips off his shirt in the climax as if they are not allowed to make a film without taking off his shirt in the end.
Director Sohail Khan puts in all the essential elements of a Salman Khan film in the second half like an overstuffed burger and also keeps repeating the “Help Chain” thought in an irritating manner, completely spoiling the emotional magic which could have been created with a better execution. Plus the same old clichéd climax gets a major turn off when the action sequences have nothing new to offer in their styling and a military tank also comes on the road out of the blue in a quite illogical & hilarious mode. Therefore with such a weak & unimpressive climax, you neither have any praises for the makers nor ‘The HELP CHAIN’ thought stays with you for long, which in fact is very sad since it is indeed a highly valuable idea capable of bringing a major change around us, if followed religiously.
Mentioning JAI HO’s major drawbacks, firstly the film gets hugely affected by a sort of non star-cast ensemble where in except Salman Khan, you don’t have any big face on the screen known in the present times. In a lighter mode, this is a kind of revival project for many forgotten names, who actually haven’t done a film for long like Suniel Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Mohnish Behl, Ashmit Patel, Yash Tonk, Nadira Babbar, Tulip Joshi, Vikas Bhalla and even Tabu or Genelia Deshmukh along with Sameer Kakkar, the famous Khopdi from the 80s Doordarshan serial, NUKKAD. Plus it has loads of names in the supporting cast including Mahesh Manjrekar, Sharad Kapoor, Mahesh Thakur, Mukul Dev, Varun Badola, Vatsal Sheth, Haroon Qazi, Nauheed Cyrusi, Bruna Abdullah, Pulkit Samrat, Naman Jain (the child)and Sudesh Lehri. Also not to be forgotten JAI HO introduces few new names too such as Daisy Shah, Sana Khan and Santosh Shukla with the last two straight coming out of the BIG BOSS house. So if anyone wants to be in a Salman Khan film in the future, then the easiest way for it is through the BIG BOSS house, as evidently proved by JAI HO (also having Ashmit Patel, another participant of the reality show in the past).
The second factor affecting JAI HO badly is its uninspiring soundtrack which doesn’t have any big hit track to bring in the early footfall. And when a big Hindi Film project doesn’t have few great songs to woo the audience then it surely makes a dent in its overall performance, particularly when it’s a Salman Khan movie, which always has at least 2 or more hit songs in its kitty. Cinematography is fine with nothing path breaking and the same can be said about its background score, choreography and action.
In the major performers, Salman is right there in every frame of the film and delivers a solid performance looking stronger and tensed in the major part of the film. And maybe that is the reason they were earlier thinking about the title MENTAL to justify his extreme anger and outrage on the screen. Tabu plays the elder sister’s role well and so does Danny in his limited appearance, post interval. Both Pulkit Samrat and Naman Jain (Salman’s nephew) perform impressively and it was really sporting of Genelia Deshmukh to do such a non-glamorous role of only a few scenes. In her debut performance Sana Khan doesn’t get much to do, except looking gorgeous (reminding me of Mahima Chaudhary) but Santosh Shukla makes the best of the opportunity given effectively. Coming to the leading lady Daisy Shah, she looks beautiful and has some great dancing skills too. But she is not able to do something great as the romance angle in the film falls flat and most of the times the girl appears to be a healthy, tall and big statured version of Rani Mukherjee in disguise. May be she will get rid of that similarity in the coming films through her noticeable acts but that’s what I honestly felt while watching her in that unimportant role.
On the direction front, Sohail Khan shies away from doing something entirely novel and opts for the same tried and tested formula with a wise addition of a social angle. The Human Chain thought suits the ‘Being Human’ Khan like a ‘T’ but I really wish Sohail had the guts to portray it differently so that the thought could spread like a positive virus in the society as a means to make that much needed change. The younger Khan shows the sparks in few of the pulsating moments, but in absence of anything exceptional, he fails to make any kind of solid, long lasting impact on the viewers.
Hence overall, JAI HO remains a half heartedly made film, which wished to convey something meaningful but could not free itself from that same old rotten way of painting the screen with all clichéd colours. In other words, Sohail has tried to play it pretty safe (even avoids any item song) and in that attempt falls short of making a trend-setting film, which could have made Salman a national social icon starting that Help-Chain. And looking from a larger perspective this is really sad and unfortunate both for Hindi cinema, its viewers and the people of this nation craving for a new vision.
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (With the additional 0.5 just for the ‘Human Chain’ thought which I pray catches fire in search of a better society and future.)

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24 Jan 2014 / Comment ( 0 )
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