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JannatJannat : Movie Review
16th May 2008  23.50 IST
By Aparajita Ghosh  


'Jannat' is an engrossing, touching tale of an intuitively gifted bookie who loses his love in pursuit of his idea of heaven.

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, let me confess at the outset that I, being not a fond admirer of the game of cricket, had my apprehensions before watching the Vishesh Film's latest presentation Jannat which was touted as a film on cricket match-fixing with ample incidents and characters from real life squeezed in the narrative to give the movie a semblance of realism.




Thankfully, I liked the film more than expected solely because it sticks to the rocky love story between the protagonist and his ladylove, while cricket and match-fixing forms just a backdrop against which this romantic tale unfolds.

Writer Vishesh Bhatt deserves a pat on his back for writing a simple story and providing it two distinct yet continually intersecting layers that eventually unite at the end with a dramatic climax. First-time director Kunal Deshmukh ought to be commended for his controlled and smooth handling of the subject and for giving the love story a tone of impending doom.

However, what mars 'Jannat' is the lack of sufficient development in the romantic track. After a while the story seems to go in circles. On top of it you don't strongly relate to the emotional turmoil of the lead characters.

Arjun ( Emraan Hashmi ) comes from a middle-class family, but his dreams are big and he doesn't mind taking the short route to riches regardless of morality, or the lack of it. He graduates from being a gambler to bookie, solely by the dint of his intuition to predict correctly. He falls in love at first sight with Zoya ( Sonal Chauhan ) and eventually goes on to win her heart, her trust, and her respect with his love and his riches. But when she comes know the source from where the riches come, she hands him over to the cops.

Arjun goes to jail and vows to reform himself - all for the sake of love. But then, one sight of jannat, one last temptation to fix a match, gets the better of his senses. And situations turn around so unexpectedly that he finds himself sinking just when he was about to come ashore.

Like all the Bhatt films, the story of 'Jannat' steers clear of the good-versus-bad formula. It is a subject in which both good and bad coexist inside the leading characters. There is no moral message, no sermonizing, but just the poignancy of a tragic love story.

Without doubt the man-of-the-movie trophy goes to Emraan Hashmi - the blue-eyed boy of the Bhatts - who gives a skillfully restrained performance, playing an ambitious man with shaky morals and firm equanimity in the face of success or failure.

Newcomer Sonal Chauhan catches your attention more because of her looks than acting. Samir Kochar is terrific in his role as an Indian cop in Cape Town, on the trail of bookies. Javed Sheikh brings an imposing demeanor to his character of a kingmaker don who takes Emraan under his wing.

The songs by Pritam may not be chartbusters, but they go along well with the mood of the film.

All in all, 'Jannat' is eminently watchable. Just don't go expecting heaven from it.

Rating: ***



Related
Jannat
Kunal Deshmukh
Emraan Hashmi
Sonal Chauhan
Pritam





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