Kareena Kapoor Khan making her OTT debut with a thriller was exciting news. And Jaane Jaan seemed like the perfect launchpad for the actor’s much-awaited foray into the digital space. Adapted from the popular Japanese novel The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, this mystery thriller film was written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh. Having had the pleasure of reading and watching the original Japanese book and movie, I was cautiously expectant of Jaane Jaan. The source material is rich in nuance and it’s the details that make the story. So, was Jaane Jaan able to live up to its source? Read our review here to find out.
Jaane Jaan promises a high that it never delivers
Jaane Jaan follows Maya D’Souza (Kareena Kapoor Khan), a single mother who runs a small cafe in Kalimpong. When her ex-husband Ajit Mhatre (Saurabh Sachdeva) comes back, her life takes a turn for the worse. But he disappears and she becomes the prime suspect, and her genius mathematician neighbour, Naren (Jaideep Ahlawat), helps her out while Inspector Karan Anand (Vijay Varma) investigates the crime.
Jaane Jaan is not a whodunnit, but more of a howdunnit. We are already privy to who does the crime, but the real mystery is how the culprit manages to outsmart the cops and save themselves. And the entirety of a howdunnit relies on how well the story is written because otherwise, it can easily get boring. And that’s the whole problem of Jaane Jaan. It promises you quite a few highs, but none of them deliver. Karan is supposed to be a brilliant, almost genius cop, but his genius never comes through. Sure, he is smart, but he’s not incredible in his smartness. Instead, he looks more like a cop infatuated with his suspect, whose sole reason to suspect Maya is that there is no one else. The cops never look for any leads beyond Maya which just sounds stupid. Karan’s character lacks depth and layers, though Vijay Varma puts up a pretty good performance despite that.
The film lacks the nuance and sophistication of the original
If you have either read The Devotion of Suspect X or watched the Japanese movie Suspect X, you would be aware of the brilliance of the story. Unfortunately, Jaane Jaan lacks both the nuances and the sophistication that makes the source material. The primary mystery of the story hinges on the little details, and Jaane Jaan decides to change all of that. The complexity of the characters and their conflicting emotions, the intricacies of their actions which add up to the final twist, all of that is missing in this movie. Had it stayed true to the source material, Jaane Jaan could have been a brilliant film. Unfortunately, the makers Bollywood-ified the story too much which led to it losing its charm.
Even the performances of the film are very much dependent on the intricacies of the story, and without those intricacies, the performances won’t have the same impact. Having said that, Jaideep Ahlawat owns this movie. He is brilliant as the introverted, reserved, and genius mathematician, but the writing fails him. The script doesn’t give him the chance to showcase the ‘devotion’ that is central to his character. He carefully toes the line between pining for a woman and being a creepy stalker, but again, the opportunities to do that efficiently are taken away from the actor thanks to a lacklustre script.
Kareena Kapoor Khan tries her best as a murder suspect and a single mother who only wants to protect her daughter Tara (Naisha Khanna). You don’t see the glam and glitz of the Bollywood heroine, but the simplicity of a woman who has an abusive past and is trying to make the best of the hand she is dealt. But again, the script lets her down. You aren’t as invested in Maya as you should be. Her story doesn’t move you the way it should have.
Jaane Jaan had a lot of potential, but it fell short. If you have watched the original movie or read the book, you are unlikely to enjoy this movie. But if you are someone who is walking into this story as a newbie, you could potentially have fun with it.
Jaane Jaan is now streaming on Netflix.
Can you watch Jaane Jaan with your family?: It is not suitable for kids due to the depiction of self-harm and violent scenes.
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