Take any day in your life that you wish you had a helping hand. A day you may have forgotten your wallet, when you needed to pay for your bus ticket. A day your car broke down, when you had to go to an interview. What if a stranger gave you that helping hand? No questions asked and in return, didn’t ask for money or a favour. Just that you help another when the chance came to you. Would you? Jai Ho shows us how a common man that left his army life, takes on the fight to help humanity, and for a bit of masala, bashes a few bad guys along the way.
Based on the concept from Pay It Forward (2000), A. R. Murugadoss’ designed the power packed story for his film Stalin (2006). Being the remake season that it was (or is) the film’s bumper success made it to the ever watchful eyes of Sohail Khan but for one reason or another the film got delayed until now.
Now in the past, we have had some questions about Salman Khan’s movie choices and stories, but reassurance comes in the form of Sohail Khan helming the megaphone and Dilip Shukla adapting the story for Hindi cinema. Yes, the film has some funny caricatures in the form of the nephew Kabir (Naman Jain), Rinky’s mother (Resham Tipnis) or Rinky herself (Daisy Shah) with her random Gujarati dialogue. But the story is simple and with a message worth thinking about. One man, whether he is a common man or an ex- army officer, can make a change. Of course when that man is Jai Agnihotri (Salman Khan), who stands up and fights with the ferocity of a lion if he needs to, you can expect a few bloody faces. Even if that bloody face belonged to the minister’s (Danny Denzongpa) son-in-law to be.
Salman Khan has always done action filled roles but of late, he has been accused of not having a character as such and taking over the camera. Yet Jai Ho will show a restrained Salman without the slapstick comedy emotion. The fire that would be apparent in a fighter is believable, but that’s not to say the actor doesn’t smile or have fun. Even though Daisy has no role to speak of besides the leading lady, she shows promise that at least she is a good dancer. Tabu plays Salman’s sister and as an actress that we have seen don various roles, she fits the part and plays it well making sure she is mature in performance even though it is not clear that she is mature in age to Salman.
Nadira Babbar as Salman Khan’s mother makes a funny entrance and continues to add comical value with a practicality that we as individuals will hear ourselves say sometimes. However, as much as the protagonist characters show some sort of ‘character’ and have a few meaningful lines, the same cannot be said for the antagonists. Danny Denzongpa is serious in face yet lacks in word. Whether his character is supposed to be a verbose villain or not, he doesn’t leave the required impact a political villain would give. In fact his daughter played by Sana Khan, showed more promised of cunningness that a female antagonist would have but also falls apart due to lack of screen time.
The individuals that make cameos like Tulip Joshi, Mahesh Manjrekar and Nauheed Cyrusi play their part in the miniscule amount of time they get given but Genelia Deshmukh’s cameo as the handicapped student Suman leaves the biggest impact and not just on Salman.
Yet while the performances collaborately work together toward pulling the film toward box office success, there are certain technical aspects that pull it back. The editing, done by Harsh Tiwari, worked when looking at the crispness of the action scenes and the slow motion ‘ultra-violence’ that any action film goer would enjoy, but it is too long for the story line that is in front of the audience. The music by Sajid-Wajid and Amal Malik leave as big an impact as a needle in a haystack: You might find them by chance likeable but literally forget them once the song is done. As big as “Dhinka Chika” from Ready was, it’s composer Devi Sri Prasad returns with simply an introduction song for the leading lady. However he too falls down the same forgettable path. However kudos is to be mentioned for the stunts and cinematography as both of them excel in their respective fields whether it be smashing buildings apart or designing a complex for us.
The biggest factor that this writer walked away with when watching Jai Ho was the fact that it does something that hasn’t been seen in Hindi cinema in quite some time… providing a message. There is no doubt that the action would have been enjoyed by some people, the comedy by others and investors are out there to make money. But the idea that a favour is repaid by instructing others to help as it was shown in Pay it Forward and now in Jai Ho is something that will utilize the world’s biggest asset: the People.
So to the Bollywood film lover who wants to see a Salman Khan film, you will enjoy this as you will see him in a ‘slightly’ different role but just as much action to keep your eyes popping. But don’t be surprised if that message lingers in your mind.