One of the characters in this film says that he is tired of eating Maggie all the time. Right. So are we. Two-minute noodle love stories are easy to make, easy to watch and yes, easy to forget. And fortunately Ayan Mukerji’s 'Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani' is not the two-minute variety. On the contrary, it is a delicacy, which requires patience, passion and it comes with unusual flavours.
Naina Talwar (Deepika Padukone) is a nerd, who on a chance meeting with school buddy Aditi (Kalki Koechlin) realises that her life is passing by and she is missing out on all the fun. So on a whim she joins in on a holiday that Aditi plans with her best buddies Avi (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and Bunny (Ranbir Kapoor), only to discover that she is far different from the rest of the group. At the outset, the tomboy Aditi, drink-loving Avi and outwardly flippant Bunny seem very different from her but amidst the spellbinding snow-laden mountains (superb cinematography by V Manikandan), Naina manages to get them to warm up to her. And yes, somewhat predictably she falls in love too.
Ranbir played a spoilt, rich clueless brat in Ayan’s debut film, 'Wake Up Sid'. Looks like both Ayan and Ranbir’s character have matured with this film. Bunny knows what he wants from life, and he doesn’t want to be tied down by emotions or relationships that could hamper his quest and zest for exploring life and his love for travel.
Ranbir Kapoor is brilliant. This is a true star, who moves you to tears with a simple scene that he shares with his dad (played sensitively by Farooq Shaikh) and he also challenges to take your eyes off him when he is shaking legs with the gorgeous Madhuri Dixit.
What could be called a case of good casting, Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapoor give reliable support. In fact, this must be one of Kalki’s best performances till date.
But wait, it is Deepika Padukone who finds her place in the sun, in one or two scenes even managing to steal the thunder from Ranbir. Naina of the second half of 'YJHD' reminds one a bit of 'Love Aaj Kal’s Meera. Deepika’s well-sketched character and performance is just like the movie, slow, self-confident and not in a hurry to prove anything. Their crackling chemistry is palpable. The movie also boasts of some of the most poignant moments that we have seen in Hindi films, accessorised by wonderful dialogues (Hussain Dalal).
At two hours and 40 minutes, the movie is a tad too long but while the snail-walk pace irks at places, it works on other occasions. What really bothers is the clichés that the filmmaker indulges in at times. To cite one instance, why does a ‘good’ girl in a Hindi film always have to prove her worthiness by burning the gas stove and cooking parathas for an entire army of strangers even when she is supposed to be holidaying? The characters are no novelty, they have been seen umpteen times earlier. But it is the treatment that makes it 'alag' and the credit must go to the director with a mature, sorted head on his young shoulders. Watch this at least once. It feels like a slow dive into the depths of emotions, at times fulfilling and at times uncomfortable.