NANHE JAISALMER REVIEW

Review: Kaise Jaisalmer!

17 September, 2007

BY SHUBIR RISHI

I really hate it when they kill a good concept with a lousy story.

I really hate it when children playing the lead have mushroom-haircuts.

I really hate it when good actors make complete assholes of themselves on screen.

I really hate it when I can actually see that the actors are actually acting.

I have an issue with this movie. No wait, I have MANY issues with this movie. Yes, I was already expecting nothing from it, but was flinching with clenched teeth throughout anyway. No, I have no issues with children playing the lead; no, I have actually no issues with Rajasthan being shown the zillionth time on screen, I swear I did not even blink when I saw apna Himesh in the credits. But then again, I was the one who endured this movie, and not you.

Nanhe Jaisalmer (not explained WHY) is the name of a 10-year-old illiterate boy (Dwij Yadav, endearing smile, squeaky clean clothes, bobbing mushroom haircut, the boy can act though) who supports his family by doing camel safaris in the morning, talking in four different languages, and being cute with anyone and everything that moves. Your regular group of a grown-up-kind-hearted-but-good-for-nothing gang who smile with many twinkles in their eyes every time apna nanhe walks by flanks him (not ONE of these buggers speak Rajasthani) every one loves Nanhe, and he loves them back. Jaisalmer is the cleanest town in India, and everyone is happy with a perpetual delirious smile plastered on their face. But Nanhe is obsessed with the (great?) Bollywood actor Bobby Deol (we’ll call him BD, but Nanhe calls him dost). BD poster and cutouts cover the walls in his room, and he goes bonkers every time a new BD movie is in town. He also dreams about BD and him in the midst of a dance sequence with chicks jumping around in hot pants, and is woken up just when BD is about to ‘touch’ his hand. Very embarrassing moment, I say. This is where the issues start.

First of all, WHY Bobby Deol? I mean, I have nothing against, or for the guy, (except for those hair which hang from his head like dead eels, and his diction which sounds like he is in throes of constipation) but I do fail to understand why is he playing himself. If they had shown Bobby Deol as superstar Vivek or Kamal, I was still OK with it. But they have to show BD, and his numerous clips from those wonderful movies like Bichhu and Soldier, and that the audience is going gaga over his ‘style’ and his muscles. Second of all, why doesn’t a single guy speak the bleeding language right? Ok, the movie is not about Jaisalmer, but Nanhe Jaisalmer. Our boy was BORN here, and neither he, his family, nor the gang of idiots I mentioned above speak the lingo, or look the part. And we are talking about the ass end of Rajasthan here!!

Anyway, getting on with it, a published news article about BD coming to the old J for a month’s shoot sends Nanhe in a tizzy. He goes around town screaming ‘mera dost aa raha hai’ on top of his lungs in a numbing eight minute sequence. BD arrives in Jaisalmer, swoops our friend in an embarrassing hug (Nanhe has been writing him letters, you see) and they make plans to meet at a place away from the prying eyes of the goody Jaisalmer people. (Again, a highly embarrassing, and NOT so cute sequence.)

Nanhe has a problem – a hefty-Gayatri Devi-look-alike-do-gooder has started a night school for illiterates, and it coincides with the time our two friends are supposed to meet. Nanhe throws a fit about not going to school, gets slapped by his mother, goes to sleep without eating. Next thing we know, BD is sneaking into his room, telling him about general morality, and getting scared of a rat. They talk about the horrors of going to school, deep friendships, and role models, and the brief history of universe. The entire sequence was highly embarrassing, and clandestine, and does not certify as cute, or heart warming, really.

So anyway, Nanhe’s sister is about to get married to a sickly thin Rajasthani gentleman, and the festivities are on. Monies are arranged, and mama has to sell the ‘elder son’ (the camel) Raja, to make ends meet. Nanhe has been collecting money on the side (to buy gift for his dost) and ends up buying the camel back, and everyone is teary eyed, and relieved. In between, Nanhe also stops his gutka habit, since BD doesn’t like it much.

Oh hold On! I just forgot to add that the movie starts with the premise of Nanhe getting a Booker Prize for the book he wrote (same name as the movie), and is played by the ever wooden Vatsal Seth (of the pepsi commercials, green eyes, and Tarzan the Whatchamacallit Car fame), and he is telling the story to a helpless electrician (as if he had a choice) all in flashback. And, he is called Vikram Singh. Thanks, what kind of a name is Nanhe Jaisalmer anyway?

The movie has a not so surprising ending, so I’ll indulge myself a little bit more. Nanhe calls BD to the wedding, who readily accepts it, but doesn’t turn up. This is when Nanhe realizes that BD actually never came to meet him, and it was all his imagination. We are shown vignettes of every scene of them together, and each of BD’s shirts (horrendous ones) co-relating to that particular scene. This is a seven-minute sequence, reinforcing the fact that BD never really was there. This is an insult to my intelligence, and I shall move court. I mean, I have seen Fight Club, haven’t I?!

The movie ends in the present, with Nanhe all grown up as the insipid Vatsal Seth and felicitated by none other than BD who actually does recognize the boy wonder, and they FINALLY hug tight, and all my fears came true.

Yes, Nanhe Jaiselmer seems awfully like a child-gay-fantasy movie. I will not endorse this tidbit, but that’s what I felt during the entire length of the movie. There were scenes, which could have been treated differently, instead of being extra mushy, gaga, and utterly embarrassing. A better director, maybe different actors, and this could have been a wonderful movie. There is even a song which goes tere jaisa dost or yaar with BD and nanhe dancing hand in hand, almost coochie cooing, and generally being a pain to watch. No, this movie is NOT a children’s movie, hell, it’s not even an adult movie. I think I’d have been better off watching Aggar, starring Tusshar Kapoor.

‘nuff said.

 

 
         
 

 

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