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Jaanisaar – Review by Shishir Gautam

Whenever Rekha is discussed, the first visual in anybody’s mind could possibly be from Umrao Jaan. And director Muzaffar Ali set out to make another film after years, fans like me secretly prayed that he did not do anything to mess up the great memories.

Jaanisaar arrives as the second film of the week that completely lets you down. Makes you feel miserable. No Jaanisaar is not bad. Not just bad. It is almost cruel! Why!

Set in the late 19th century India, Jaanisaar is a confused film. Screenplay written by Javed Siddiqi and Shama Zaidi, the story of Jaanisaar is set in Awadh – a location the director has managed to recreate on screen beautifully earlier. A courtesan dances and a Nawab falls in love. The Nawab was educated in Engand where he was sent when he was still a child and loved the British, But his world is about to crumble as he comes face to face with harsh realities. The courtesan in the meantime has a huge role to play in the way things move ahead.

Despite being written by two much respected writers, Jaanisaar has an abysmal screenplay. The dialogues are no better! Lesser said about the music the better. Music happens to have been composed by the director himself – in probably an attempt to emulate the late Satyajit Ray, ironically one of those filmmakers who had managed to showcase Awadh flawlessly in Shatranj Ke Khiladi.

Screenplay aside, Jaanisaar rides on two complete non-actors. Especially, Pernia Qureshi. While she just about manages to dance (Thanks to choreography by Birju Maharaj and Kumudini Lakhia), emotions run dry when needed. Here the director must miss the prowess of actors like Rekha and Farooq Shaikh.

The good parts about the film are Naseeruddin Shah’s narration and the beautiful cinematography. But a voice narration and photography has seldom saved a film from doom. Need I say more?


0.0 – 1.4 : Poor

1.5 – 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts

1.8 – 2.3: Average

2.4 – 2.9: Fairly Good

3.0 – 3.4: Good

3.5 – 5.0: Very Good


Jaanisaar – Review by Shishir Gautam

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