Review: Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story
Director: Vinnil Markan
The Indian Express rating: *
There was once an actor who had potential. Vivek Oberoi's debut as a wannabe gangster in 'Company' was explosive; he was very good in a very good film, and he looked all set to enjoy a solid innings with meatier parts. But he never did live up to that promise: whether it was a string of wrong choices or plain bad luck, most of the films Oberoi did later, especially those that toplined him, fell flat on their face.
'Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story' has Oberoi do the 'gangister' thing again: the attempt clearly is to grab the spot he had created with his first part, but this endeavour is dead from the start. Jayantabhai is the kind of Bollywood tapori-thug we've had coming out of our ears for years. He wears a collared shirt only because he can flick the collar. He swaggers. He uses the lingo. Oberoi does the Bollywood tapori- wanting-to-be-a- hood so much by the numbers that you can pretty much tell what he will do next. It's not that he's particularly awful. It's more like he's not there, even though he is hard at work on the screen.
And then there's the girl (Sharma) called Simran. Who lives somewhere near Mumbai, but we never really get an address for her. Who has a kindly, strict father who doesn't want her to stay on her own in a big bad city but has absolutely no problems in her wearing the skimpiest of shorts and skirts. Who is too poor to have a square meal, but is always kitted out in a manner that costs an arm and a leg, even when she is meant to faint with hunger and find herself in a hospital bed. See that peachy blush-on? Intact.
The plot that takes two interminable hours to unfold features aimless 'bhais' doing 'filmi bhaigiri' ('tu mera right hand kaise banega, ja pehle usko udaa kar aa'), smarmy would-be employers preying upon innocent young girls, and a lead pair who think eating 'anda bhurji' in rundown Irani cafes is the height of excitement.
I believe Oberoi has it in him. Because when he is in earnest, he is an actor that can be watched. But he needs a much better film.