Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jail Yatra

The plot of Jail Yatra is nothing special. It's got several of the standard masala elements, with separated family members, coincidences, irony, and plenty of dishoom-dishoom action, but it lacks the inspired lunacy of the best of genre. Still, it's an enjoyable watch, based mainly on the performances of Vinod Khanna and Ashok Kumar.

From the DVD cover, I expected Vinod Khanna to be playing a hard-bitten thug again, as in Parvarish and Chor Sipahee. This turned out, however, to be far from the case. In Jail Yatra, he plays Raju Verma, a good-hearted (and somewhat simple-minded) mechanic. Although Raju always has good intentions, he tends to wind up in trouble quite regularly.

He never spends more than about 5 minutes in jail, however, before his mother arrives and uses her special Nirupa Roy powers of long-suffering ma-ness to get him released -- everyone decides to drop charges against him just to get her to stop.

Fortunately for the viewer, Raju soon takes off for Bombay, leaving his mom behind to cry or whatever she does in her free time. Before he leaves, his mother finally tells why he never had a father around -- she left after discovering that his father was having an affair with one of his clients.

Before too long, however, we learn that Raju's father (Ashok Kumar) is innocent of such charges. In fact, he met the client in secret because her brother had just escaped from jail and wanted to obtain legal advice without alerting the police to his whereabouts. The poor man now lives a very unhappy life with a rotten scoundrel whom he believes to be his son (Amjad Khan) and a woman in a bad wig, who told him that his wife committed suicide and left their son in her care.

Fed up with his son (and his dietary restrictions), he decides to commit suicide by jumping in front of a car. It just so happens, however, that Raju is driving this car. He stops the car quickly and gives his unbeknownst-to-him father a lecture about how suicide is a dumb idea. This meeting naturally provides a chance for the movie to get in some requisite Hindi Film Irony.

More importantly, it also marks the begining of a beautiful friendship. Whether they're making fun of each other or singing a qawalli in disguise, these two are awesome together.

Raju finds his new friend a job and a place to stay, and Raju's dad helps him come up with a plot to win the girl he's in love with, a psychiatrist named Shanu (Reena Roy). At this point, we learn where Raju got his tendency to come up with dumb ideas for carrying out good intentions. They go to Shanu and pretend that Raju needs psychiatric treatment because, well, he's a traumatized rape victim who is now afraid of all women. This subplot is sometimes quite funny and sometimes rather uncomfortable to watch.

Overall, though, it's a pleasant little movie, with nice happy songs (including one where Vinod and Reena are amusingly dressed in matching overalls), lots of masala action, multiple subplots, and plenty of Vinod being awesome.

Oh, and there's a wooden horse that also serves as a bar. You've gotta love Hindi film interior decorating.


memsaab said...

Ooh this looks like fun. I love Ashok Kumar and Vinod looks mighty fine here too :-) Thanks!!!

And keep blogging!

Cindy said...

Vinod is looking pretty good here. I was surprised how little mention there is of this film online. It's not a fantastic film, but I liked it well enough.

Oh, and thanks for stopping by!

bollyviewer said...

"he's a traumatized rape victim who is now afraid of all women"

And I thought I had seen every variation in the masala genre! Should be worth watching for that alone, but there is delicious Vinod and the hilarious matching overall song. I am sold... and just when I had decided against buying more DVDs, too! :-(

rosie said...

I have got to see this now.

Cindy said...

You guys will have to let me know what you think if you see it.

Unfortunately, part of the film seems to be missing from the Eros DVD of the movie, so some of that plot line is missing. You can pretty much figure out what's going on, though.

Daddy's Girl said...

This looks great... I LOVE Vinod Khanna, but somehow have a hard time finding his movies. This will definitely go on my list.

Cindy said...

Thanks for commenting, Daddy's Girl! I hope you can find the movie, and enjoy it if you do.

david.hilton.p said...

I'm adding this to my list of Bollywood to see. I will have to borrow it, I think. Well, that or something else.

Quite conveniently, I'm pretty sure that that statement is entirely true for all possible things that can be done.

Cindy said...

Yes, I think borrowing it or something else does cover your options.

Actually, you're in luck, because Rosie's got my DVD right now, so you should be able to borrow it pretty easily if you want to.

bollywooddeewana said...

Always passed this one by for some reason but i'll make sure i check it out now

Beth said...

MUST SEE! And it's not on netflix! Waaaah! This looks really superb. The Khanna men, I swear, they have some sort of freaky pull on me. I'll watch any of them do anything.

Cindy said...

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the Khannas as well. (Vinod and Akshaye, at least. I haven't seen Rahul in anything yet.) It's too bad Netflix doesn't carry this -- it's a fun film.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get hold of "Insaaf" with Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia in the lead.I saw it years ago in India and can only remember that VK is a police officer and Dimple is a doctor.

VK is really handsome and also a good actor. Akshay and Rahul are good too. Rahul has acted in a number of movies like Deepa Mehta's "Earth 1947" and "Bollywood Hollywood". He was also in Saif's recent movie "Love Aaj Kal"

Cindy said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I'll have to look for a Rahul film to watch. Thanks for the recommendations.