Those who read my reviews regularly, would vouch that Im rarely harsh about a movie and there has hardly been an instance where I have been unsuccessful in finding atleast one bright spot in the most terrible film. Otherwise, I merely refrain from writing about it. Sadly, that resolve breaks with ‘Jhootha Hi Sahi’ and I have to say, this has to be one of the extremely distasteful movie of the year.
We have Sid (John Abraham), Pakistani friend Omar (Raghu Ram of Roadies fame) running a bookshop in London named 'Kagaz Ke Phool’. Sid’s number gets mixed up with that of a suicide helpline and instead of getting it fixed, he voluntarily agrees to provide consultations to bunch of callers with suicidal tendencies. Whilst not getting into the legalities of having permissions or expertise of the profession, let me also mention here that the helpline is again purely DESI and for desi’s! Anyhow, as fate would have it, our heroine Mishka (Pakhi) calls in wanting to be talked out of ending her life and in true Bollywood romantic flicks style, our hero falls for her.
Yes, couple of reels later Sid bumps into her when she visits his bookstore. However, see the twist is, Sid knows Mishka as his desperate-advise-seeking-caller, but Mishka doesn’t know Sid as her (k)night-in-phone-friend. Yet Sid won’t reveal the big mystery right away, because he is shy around beautiful girls (though he has a stunner of a girlfriend). He’ll just play along, spend sleepless nights being agony-aunt, and hope someday the truth will be out and everyone will live happily ever after, while his friends muse ‘Tu usse sach kab bata raha hai’. Now where have I heard this one before – Saajan, Aur Pyaar ho gaya, Rehna hai tere dil mein maybe? Then there’s the whole set of friends-clones with their set of problems or so made to be.
Despite it being inspired or borrowed or whatever, the story is quite an interesting one and so it’s disheartening that a fairly horizontal plot with a strong promise just fails to be. There’s clear lack of direction and screenplay is scattered all over the place. Add to it, the slow pace and the fact that the other supporting roles aren’t flawless either, do not help. Like why is the pregnant sister refusing to marry her loving boyfriend is one of the example of the many poorly etched characters.
Mistake 1: It’s sinful to pick up bunch of references from MUCH-LOVED Hollywood movies/sitcoms and try to desi-fy them with absolutely nil depth or direction or creativity.
Mistake 2: and top it with a setting that is a foreign land (and characters have no trace of Brit-accent??).
Mistake 3: You just don’t cast for the sake of making a film or pleasing your loved ones, there has to be some connect somewhere. Or atleast screen presence. Or atleast chemistry. Or atleast acting capability. Not too much to ask, is it?
Mistake 4: You don’t put together dysfunctional cast with attributes like nerd, Japanese (?!), alter-ego, gay, Asian, and then provide absolutely no track, justification, or history behind them. It’s neither cute nor funny!
Mistake 5: You don’t cast actors like Madhavan in insignificant roles that even out-of-work actors would refuse.
And with that I hardly have anything more to say about this disaster of a movie. I am greatly disappointed and hoping that John tries to redeem himself from yet another blotch to his filmography and sticks to movies like Dostana. He was good in the movie, and so he was in Aashayein too, but when the plot is this flawed, there is no scope for anyone to add any points to his career graph with such a film.
Verdict: JHS should be rechristened ‘‘X ways to bungle up a film’’ and be used as a case-study in schools for ‘upcoming directors/scriptwriters’ as an example of what you should absolutely NOT DO while making/writing a film.
P:S: I have deliberately steered clear from any mention of ‘Jaane tu…’ because any comparisons with that movie are futile.