CAST: Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat, Vijay Verma, Naisha Khanna, Karma Takapa
DIRECTOR: Sujoy Ghosh
Jaane Jaan, otherwise renamed as “Suspect X” for the US market, is a thriller set in the misty, mysterious hills of an east Indian hill town in the Himalayan foothills of West Bengal called Kalimpong.
Netflix India continues to deliver thrilling content with titles inspired by iconic Hindi film songs. Among the current lineup of India originals on the platform, you can find titles like ‘Raat Akeli Hai,’ ‘Haseen Dillruba,’ ‘Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein,’ and ‘Monica, O My Darling.’ The latest addition to this list is ‘Jaane Jaan,’ which, much like last year’s ‘Monica,’ is based on a book by Japanese mystery writer Keigo Higashino.
Incorporating a touch of nostalgia, the 1969 thriller ‘Intaqam’ featured the rare cabaret number ‘Aa Jaan-E-Jaan,’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar and picturized on Helen. In ‘Jaane Jaan,’ Maya D’Souza (played by Kareena Kapoor Khan), the central character, is a former nightclub dancer who has managed to escape her tumultuous past.
Jaane Jaan tells the story of a single mother and her daughter who found themselves in the spotlight due to a murder they committed in self-defense. The film maintains a tense atmosphere right from the outset, and the presence of Jaideep Ahlawat adds an element of fear and apprehension to the entire narrative.
Kareena Kapoor’s debut in the digital realm is a refreshing departure from the typical roles offered to lead actresses in Bollywood. In ‘Jaane Jaan,’ she portrays a character that’s authentic and age-appropriate, eschewing the glamorous and ornamental roles often seen in the industry. Gone are the designer outfits and heavy makeup, replaced by a natural and unfiltered look. What’s truly commendable is her willingness to embrace her dark circles, under-eye pouches, and freckles. This transformation showcases the beauty of the digital platform, effortlessly turning a glamorous Bollywood actress into a genuine performer.
Kareena does justice to her role, portraying the challenges of a single mother weighed down by her troubled past. ‘Jaane Jaan’ highlights Sujoy Ghosh’s penchant for strong female characters in murder mysteries. It’s not just Kareena; both Jaideep Ahlawat and Vijay Varma deliver impeccable performances. The film opens with Jaideep Ahlawat as Naren Vyas, a teacher contemplating suicide. However, his life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters his attractive new neighbor, Maya D’Souza (played by Kareena Kapoor). He quietly falls for Maya and eavesdrops on the interactions between the mother and daughter through a hole in the connecting walls of their apartments.
Vijay Varma, in the role of a cop, delivers a decent performance, although not his career-best. The real standout is Jaideep Ahlawat, who flawlessly captures the complex psyche of the teacher. His expressions, body language, and dialogue delivery are on point, reflecting a deep understanding of the character’s trauma and introspection. ‘Jaane Jaan’ weaves a tightly-knit murder mystery with no loose ends, making it a must-watch. After viewing the film, its story lingers in your thoughts, completely consuming you. This is the magic of Sujoy Ghosh’s storytelling.