There are releases and then there are big releases and then there are the Salman Khan releases. No matter how much or whatever logic you use to define the socio-economic impact of his film, chances are you will be lost. Ever since the release of Wanted, the man hasn’t looked back. Even turkeys like Bodyguard and Dabangg 2 made great mullah with audiences going berserk on every Sallu antic no matter how ridiculous. With the release of the first look of Jai Ho, I became hopeful of the fact that this one might just be the best Salman Khan film to come out since wanted.
The reasons pertaining to that were varied the primary being the action looked solid, the story seemed to be serious and the added social message was a first for Salman. The audiences thirsting for a Salman release made their way into the theaters in hordes. The advances were booked for the weekends and I was just lucky enough to grab a seat for myself for the first day first show. The film has our protagonist as do-gooder sacked Army Officer Jai, who was court martialed for disobeying orders and single handedly destroying a group of terrorist to save civilians. He finds himself a mushy mushy girlfriend in Daisy Shah and has a sister Riya (Tabu) who is not only a source of support but also strength for our Jai.
Life seems to be a bed of roses for him until he roughs up a goon who he finds abusing a minor. The goon goes back to his masters with a pulp face and then catches Jai and family in an amusement park, resulting in a chain of events that pits Jai against a nefarious home minister (Danny), his daughter (Sana Khan) and his son Haroon Qazi. Then there is Santosh Shukla who has a brief encounter with Jai and that turns out to be as much bombastic as hilarious with Mukul Dev who plays an extended cameo with Suniel Shetty making two brief appearances.
Jai Ho is a solid entertainer. Form the word go, it delivers what it promised, entertainment, entertainment entertainment. The three repetitions synonymous with action, romance and drama. The film has a healthy dose of all three with the first half offering drama, and romance with light hearted comedy sprinkled over the narrative. The drama takes center stage as and when required with two wonderfully executed set pieces in the subplot involving a disabled girl’s(played wonderfully by Genelia D’Souza) predicament and Jai’s background story. The romance between Daisy Shah and Salman doesn’t take off primarily because of Salman’s strange awkwardness and daisy’s inability to act. However since Salman seems to be enjoying himself in whatever he is doing, the track doesn’t ham on the audience.
The action of the film will easily be its high point. The film has more action putting the Dabanggs and the Bodyguards together. It’s not only the quantity but the quality which gets to you. The action sequences are solid and they don’t just pop up. Every action is a result of an emotionally charged moment which makes the protagonist snarl out loud and beat one and all to pulp. Salman brings a phenomenal physicality to the action sequences making the audience ask for more. There is a scene where he is locked in a duel with a baddie and the whole theater was begging Salman to tear off his shirt and he gleefully obliges. There is another sequence wherein he single handedly beats up more than 10 baddies with tears in his eyes and breathing fire for his sister was insulted just a few moments ago. The action truly here is mesmerizing.
AR Murugadoss who is credited with the story knows how to extract human emotions as he did so potently in Ghajini and does so here again. But he keeps the losses of the hero to a minimum making the film an overall feel good experience. Salman Khan turns in one of his trademark performances which is bound to please his fans and even those who are not his fans. The underlying social message hammered in again and again which might be a tad bit irritating for many but then again we tend to forget things don’t we? The message in itself is so noble that it’s worth repeating. The rest of the cast have bits and pieces roles with only Santosh Shukla and Danny and Tabu making some significant mark. Santosh Shukla is unintentionally hilarious and really would have loved to see him in a longer role. Alas! Tabu is top notch and excels wonderfully in a role which is considerably beefed up. Danny is the usual baddy. Sana Khan is in a role which is at best a “blink and you miss” sort.
Overall, Jai Ho is not just a Salman Khan show in itself. It is a film which is conscious of itself and that proves to be its biggest plus. It is one of those rare Salman Khan films which has Salman essaying a character instead of the story providing a setting for Salman to flex off. If the response on the first day is any indication, Jai Ho is destined to be another huge money spinner and this time a thoroughly well-deserved blockbuster.