Gill Pictures Entertainment, a production house, has decided to defy Bollywood by imposing on unsuspecting film-goers a home movie. The said film is named Jo Hum Chahein, although the title is never quite clarified. Neither is anything else. In fact, it is just a collection of sequences that may be roughly translated into a script of sorts, but, at the end of it all (2 hours), you may find yourself wondering what possessed the Gills to take such a drastic step.
Now, to be fair to the director, Pawan Gill, the film does not look one bit tacky. Production value is average, and that is more than most other big releases can boast of these days. The director has also written the screenplay, and that is where the problem lies.
Again, to give him credit, it is undoubtedly a sincere effort to portray the lives of some young people trying to realise their dreams, but the execution is shoddy, to say the least.
In short, Rohan Bhatia (Sunny Gill) is an ambitious MBA graduate who has no qualms about his father (Yuri Singh) waiting outside his hostel room while he makes out with his 31st conquest (the dad has been counting). Rohan has been offered a paid internship (of Rs. 1 lakh per month, the lucky charmer!) of 3 months, at a stock broking company named Bombay Bulls, in Mumbai, naturally. The catch is that only the top 10 interns will be made permanent at the end of the probation period.
The Brigadier father wants him to consider the Army. Rohan wants to make money, so off he goes to Mumbai with his bespectacled best friend Abhay (Samir Virmani), who has also been offered an internship in the same company.
Rohan's overconfidence grabs the attention of a senior stockbroker, Vikram Khurana (Alyy Khan), and the latter becomes the young man's mentor. He introduces Rohan to a socialite named Amrita Singhania (Achint Kaur), who may be his ticket to the world of the elite.
In the meantime, Rohan meets, at a pub, an aspiring model and actor named Neha Kapoor (Simran Mundi), and chases her till she agrees to go on a date with him. Romance blossoms, and, since we are in the second decade of the 21st century, they sleep with each other.
The story then oscillates between Rohan's dealings with Amrita and Vikram, and his increasing attachment to Neha. At some point, you realise that this is about Rohan's journey into immoral actions and the effect it has on his various relationships (in other words, a "coming-of-age" story). So far so good, but how does one understand this with the hamming that accompanies every scene?
There are several things that the director leaves unexplained, hoping that the audience will understand the obvious. However, there are some questions that need answers. For example, Neha's career/profession not defined in the beginning - she is suddenly a ramp model and the face of a cosmetic product, and is even short-listed to play the lead in a big movie. However, she seems rather prudish for somebody exposed to the world of casting couches and jet-setters.
Then, there are other unanswered questions. Why is Rohan's father against the world of finance? If Amrita has insider information, then why does she need Rohan to invest her money? What is Vikram's agenda? Why is Abhay angry? Why does he not try to speak with Rohan?
What is Rohan doing with Amrita?
Sunny Gill, in an effort to come across as charming and irresistible, is unintentionally funny. He has a Shah Rukh Khan / Hrithik Roshan hangover. His cockiness is not only forced, but discordant. Remorse, guilt, affection, love and other emotions are not his strong points, as far as expressing them is concerned. Also, he is not a great dancer, and, therefore, has very little going for him.
On the brighter side, he seems sincere, so there is scope for improvement. He does have a good physique, as the audience is reminded over and over again.
Simran Mundi is very, very self-conscious as an actor. She begins with a stiff performance, but loosens up as the movie progresses. In the words of somebody in the audience, "She is so obviously straight out of acting school - she pauses a bit too much." Again, a bad dancer with consistently bad expressions, but she has more scope than her co-star does.
The supporting cast is a mixed bag of performers. Sameer Virmani as Rohan's best friend hams his way through the movie. Mansi Multani as Neha's best friend is a tad too intense (read: overacts). Yuri Singh makes his presence felt, but there is a possibility that his voice was dubbed.
Then, there are the only 2 known actors in the movie - Alyy Khan and Achint Kaur. Alyy Khan plays the suave, successful, arrogant, self-made stock-broker to the best of his ability. He is also the antagonist in the movie, and he obviously outshines the hero.
Achint Kaur as the bitter, nymphomaniac, manipulative socialite is not too bad either. In a blink-and-you-miss-it shot, she discards her towel and reveals a white bikini underneath, causing a mild jaw-drop in the hero. Her toned body can give the female lead a run for her money.
The songs are nothing to write home about. The first one, Aaj Bhi Party, presumably a farewell song at a graduation party, is quite a hit, but the rest are average. The romantic Ishq Hothon Se deserves a special mention for the visuals. Shot in Leh-Ladakh, it is a treat for the eyes, provided you shut your ears and also ignore Sunny Gill's Mitwa (SRK song from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna) poses.
Jo Hum Chahein is not your best bet this weekend, but it is worth one watch, if only for its novel backdrop - the stock-broking industry. It is no Wall Street, of course, but could have been a decent movie if only the story and the actors were slightly better.