The Hindi web series Jaane Jaan is directed by Sujoy Ghosh and stars Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat, Vijay Varma, Lin Laishram, Naisha Khanna, Shyam Gopal, Uditi Singh.

Where can you watch Jaane Jaan in the UAE?

Jaane Jaan is now available to stream on Netflix.

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Jaane Jaan review

+ Sustained enigmatic mood
+ Kareena, Jaideep terrific
+ Battle of wits

– Weak investigation trope
– Narration lag

A good crime thriller is as much about the story as it is about its set mood. The director, Sujoy Ghosh understands this essential verity of cinema. In his 2012 movie Kahaani, he uses the enigmatic tone and tenor of Kolkata to great effect. The city was as much a part of the script as was, say, Vidya Balan’s acting. Sujoy Ghosh brings to the fore that same skill in Jaane Jaan, where the Kalimpong, in the foothills of the Himalayas in West Bengal, comes alive with all its misty moodiness. The choice of the place adds the right flavour and feel to this emotional suspense drama. The sense of enigma in the air heightens the inner mystery of the characters. Further, the title Jaane Jaan, a take on that yesteryear song Ae Jaane Jaan, adds its puzzling fervour. If you remember, the song is an iconic number and a rare cabaret sung by Lata Mangeshkar. Its emotional heft (set to music by Laxmikant Pyarelal) is different from a dance floor song. But its inner pulsation felicitously fits the needs of a grey whodunit. The new film also features a refitted version of the old song in Neha Kakkar’s voice.

Such an approach helped Maniratnam to attempt films on the MGR and Karunanidhi rivalry (Iruvar in 1997) and Dhirubhai Ambani (Guru in 2007). Some may see this as an intellectually dishonest way to approach a subject. But on the other hand, it is equally a fact that Indians are notoriously touchy and don’t take too kindly to faithful biographical accounts.

Jaane Jaan is said to be adopted from the Japanese novel The Devotion Of Suspect X (written by Keigo Higashino) and the subsequent Japanese film Suspect X (2008). But Sujoy Ghosh and his co-writer Raj Vasant seem to have structured their script more on the 2012 Korean movie Perfect Number,  which is also a tweaked version of The Devotion of Suspect X. 

The story is simple. Maya D’Souza (Kareena Kapoor Khan), a single mother, runs a cafe in Kalimpong and lives with her daughter. She had endured a difficult marriage. As it happens, her estranged husband is missing, and the cop Karan Anand (Vijay Varma) arrives on the scene with his prime suspect, Maya. But there is also Maya’s neighbour, the ‘Teacher’ Narain (Jaideep Ahlawat). He has several secrets up his sleeve. He and Anand were college mates.

How is Narain involved in the case, and what happened to Maya’s husband? The suspense part is limited. 

But the battle of wits between Narain and Anand is of sustained interest. It is a cerebral chess with each trying to out-guess the other.  Jaideep Ahalwat, who hasn’t had a bad outing recently, is as terrific. This grey-shaded character is another testimony to his acting skill as he keeps the beat of nature in sync with that of the story and its narration. Kareena Kapoor, returning to the screen after a hiatus, shows no sign of rustiness. Kareena shows her veteran skills in a pared-down character, in which she has to throw up subtlety and secrecy. Vijay Varma, who was hitherto slotted in the lover boy roles, has a meaty investigating cop character. And he is more than adequate.

The cinematography of Avik Mukhopadhyay is a major plus, as Kalimpong’s quiet beauty comes alive in diffused hues. Sachin-Jigar’s music fits the bill. Though they have recreated the Ae Jaane Jaan song, the film features Lata’s original. Even if there is some lag in the latter portions, this moody thriller, for the most part, works. 

What are the other critics saying about Jaane Jaan?

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Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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