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Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
3.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

We are at the weekend officially and the Pathaan wave is fluttering high! In a record-breaking Box Office Day 2, not only is King Khan ‘Zinda’ but it is also the power of the audience who have finally come to the party by out-numbering the trolls. This does feel like a personal victory, atleast for the time being. And while the fans are going berserk over Pathaan, there are also a bunch of other releases to cover for the weekend. And first up, I did finish watching the new Hindi series, Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke which is now streaming on Zee5.

There have been time and again, series and films made around the patriotic theme. Some of them do have chest-thumping jingoism which often doesn’t serve the purpose. On the other hand, if the focus is on the story and its human characters coupled with a theme of patriotism then often those are the ones which have worked in the past. Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke also did fall in this ‘patriotic’ genre but I was skeptical simply from its name that did seem a tad too jingoistic for my liking. I hadn’t watched its trailer previously and so I did not know what to expect. So then does Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke manage to impress, lets find out.

Story & Screenplay

Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke follows the story of the Indian authority trying to stall a ‘Big’ attack in the country which is carried out by a famous terrorist organization. Will they succeed? The story again doesn’t have anything new to offer but thankfully the treatment is quite engaging, especially when the focus is on the protagonist. The screenplay standing at 8 episodes ranging from 20 odd to 40 odd minutes does make for a brisk watch.

The drama does open with the introduction of the protagonist who is a senior cop. A quick glimpse into her family does reveal that things aren’t smooth between her and her husband, both of whom are unable to allocate time for their child. I did like the effort in the writing here wherein there was an effort made in humanizing the protagonist, as opposed to making her commercial and over the top. Soon, the conflict is introduced wherein she does get an Intel about ‘cement’ being smuggled across the border. How she and her team are able to track down this Intel, forms the rest of the tale.

The drama might be predictable wherein you would know exactly where it is headed. Having said that, it is engaging and compelling in more ways than one. The dots connecting each event is nicely integrated and often seamless. The writing is such that it is able to create an atmosphere of intrigue without allowing the proceedings to drift. There are certain sequences that constantly keep the drama moving ahead, with something or the other happening at any given point of time. Even the aspect of religion which is introduced in the drama does have a nice contrast of thoughts given that the religion was common on both sides with respect to a few characters.

I still did feel that there was scope for improving on the characterization of atleast the antagonists. While we do get an idea of their background and origin but they were told through a series of dialogues as opposed to showing the audience, things about them. Probably a parallel timeline could have been created to tackle this issue. The events leading up to the final act are interesting and layered. But I did feel that the final act was a little too simplistic and cliched. A part of me also did think that things did seem to be rushed as opposed to tactfully spacing things out. But thankfully, unlike what the title had suggested, the chest-thumping patriotism never found its way into the screenplay. Instead things were kept subtle in terms of patriotism that did add a lot of value to the overall screenplay that did turn out to be a pleasant surprise.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are well written with atleast a couple of them standing out. The BGM was good and it did enhance the impact of the drama. However, a theme music would have worked wonders as opposed to opting for a generic one. The cinematography is edgy and could have been better. <span;>But the three cultures of Meghalaya, Rajasthan and Kerala are captured well here through the cinematography. The action sequences are decent too. <span;>The editing has multiple jump cuts at various places which did make things minutely choppy. Director Srijit Mukherji does a fabulous job here in constantly keeping the viewers engaged throughout the narrative. He did opt for creating situations with genuine human emotions as opposed to mindless action which did work in the favour of the series. In other words, the direction is pretty good here.

Performances

The performances by the ensemble cast are pretty good as well. This was a case of smart casting as every character was picked keeping their strengths in mind. For example if a character was a Keralite, you had an actor from Kerala carrying out the duties. Sandeep Dhabale as Manas and Deepika Amin as Sumithra are first rate. Barun Sobti as Sameer is soft spoken and wonderfully restrained despite a limited screentime. Chandan Roy as Chandan is absolutely wonderful to watch especially due to the emaculate Hindi that his character speaks. Gayathrie Shankar as Thasleena is absolutely brilliant and intimidating in a few scenes.

Mita Vasisht as Mahira is such a natural onscreen with such clarity in her pronunciation of words that it was an absolute pleasure witnessing her performance. Sumeet Vyas is such a phenomenal actor with a sort of ease to his performance in each of his role. Here too as Tariq, he is spectacular, being subtly intimidating and towards the end unleashing his unassuming streak of comedy in that wonderful interrogation scene. I wish his character had little more meat but this was a great performance nevertheless. Regina Cassandra as Kavya is phenomenal here wherein she does emote really well along with excelling in certain combat scenes. It was a powerful role here and carried out quite well.

Conclusion

Jaanbaaz Hindustan Ke does spring a surprise, it is an engaging drama with good performances minus the chest-thumping jingoism. Available on Zee5.

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