Films are made or unmade in the small moments. Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na has many of those small moments that make it memorable.
In Jiggy's birthday party, Jai says "Hum hamesha dost rahenge" and Shaleen crinkles her nose at Aditi - a knowing, shared confidence about Aditi's unrequited feelings. Then, after the party Jai's mother asks him "Us ka mangetar bhi tha?", Jai nods and she hugs him as he breaks down. Cool parents were everywhere in the film, but the tenderness in the relationship between Ratna Pathak-Shah and a fatherless Imran Khan was especially well-done.
The film reminded me of Dil Chahta Hai on many levels. A key aspect of what made it work for me was how real and contemporary the characters seemed. The friendships in DCH leapt out at you in terms of how realistic the interactions between Akash, Sameer and Sid seemed. Similarly the lives of the characters that Jai & co. live with the attendant wisecracking, easy camaraderie and tangled webs seemed lifted right out of the pages of St. Xavier's class of '08.
Worth noting: The film belongs to Abbas Tyrewala. Good direction, tight script, crisp dialog (very Bambaiyya without being clichéd) and quirky lyrics. He wins the award for the funniest ending for a standard romcom story. Imran Khan is believable and likeable, as is most of the supporting cast. The film uses Mumbai as a location more cleverly than any film in the recent past (Satya pops to mind). The title sequence is pure genius. The Khan brothers are an inspired piece of casting - it may be the most memorable film they end up acting in.
A R Rahman rules, hands down. He's copped a lot of flak for having a 'signature' sound. But here (it's been so increasingly in the past few years) the music suits the film to a T without him imposing any stylistic pressure. It sounds fresh, funky and fun with ARR's penchant for using new voices paying off rich dividends. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi, Tu Bolein...Main Boloon ( a very low-key ARR himself - great singing and jazz interludes) and Kahin To (personal favorite, Vasundhara Das is phenomenal) are lovely and Pappu Can't Dance! wins the award for party song of the year, with attendant cool dance move.
Not cool: Genelia was a bit of a weak link, but not weak enough to bring the story down. Very expressive eyes, but her diction didn't quite cut it. The flashback/flash-forward technique got annoying after a while. The script really had no loose ends and trying too hard to explain everything with the airport narrative was jarring.
And really, Tyrewala also takes the award for beating the Gujju stereotype to death with Jiggy. The accent was overdone and there are other lesser stereotypes ripe for harvest. After the horror that was Satish Shah in Kal Ho Na Ho, I'd cop the Gujjus a break and take on Punjabis for a bit. With upcoming classics like Singh is Kinng, a bit of parody won't hurt their butter chicken-fattened egos.
To sum: Aamir Khan strikes again, in style.