'Junooniyat' review: No point in expecting to find sense in this schmaltzy story

Udita Jhunjhunwala

Jun 24, 2016 14:54:52 IST

Writer-director Vivek Agnihotri’s love story Junooniyat unfolds between the snow-capped peaks of Kashmir and the colourful streets of Punjab. College student Suhaani and army captain Jahan Bakshi’s relationship also punctuates what is essentially a series of music videos.

Captain Jahan Bakshi (Pulkit Samrat) is a believer in choice and not destiny. He’s a poet and a patriot whose weekly army ration seems to include tins of hair wax.

One day a young girl is found floating in a lake in a restricted area. Bakshi is enlisted to bring the violator back. He descends from a chopper, floats over her like Tom Cruise in ‘Mission Impossible’, lifts her and takes her back to the army base to be vetted. Turns out Suhaani (Yami Gautam) is a swimmer, student and a sassy girl who will rise to any challenge, however stupid. Detained for a few days, she’s invited to the Christmas party where, after repeatedly saying she does not drink, the commander in chief persuades Suhaani that brandy is not alcohol but a
lifestyle. The next thing you know she’s dancing up a storm with the soldiers, in particular Bakshi. Three days at the army base and she besotted with Bakshi and he with her.

 Junooniyat review: No point in expecting to find sense in this schmaltzy story

Pulkit Samrat and Yami Gautam in 'Junooniyat'. Screen grab from YouTube

But Suhaani comes from a family where three men have been lost in the line of duty. This has made her otherwise liberal father resistant to the idea of another army man in their lives, particularly as a life partner for his daughter. Suhaani is left with a difficult choice — to leave her family (who she adores) or to persuade Jahan to leave the army (which he adores).

Agnihotri creates a world where romance is something out of a Mills & Boon novel — unrealistic and shallow. It’s about dancing, singing and romancing, maybe even spending a dirty weekend together, but it’s certainly not about communicating, seeking answers or maturity. If we didn’t make assumptions, where would the drama in this film be?

From the opening shot we know the climax has to unfold at a Punjabi wedding.

Indeed it does. A destination wedding in Patiala with assorted family members and supporting characters is the setting for the final showdown. Who does Suhaani end up with? And do you care whether she chooses the scrubbed clean NRI (Gulshan Devaiah) or his new best friend (of like two days ago) — Jahan?

This is a predictable story with so many script slips that you begin to notice the shoddy computer graphics and wonder why Suhaani’s sister-in-law and confidant, Mishti (Hrishitaa Bhatt) has absolutely no reaction when her dear sister-in-law’s first love is standing in front of them at the latter’s wedding. Could she be that oblivious? And why does Jahan hang around at the wedding? If he wants to disrupt it anyway, why wait till after four parties and two songs?

Samrat’s character is completely unfathomable — a solver of riddles, a believer in choice, a poet, but so placid you wonder what ‘junooniyat’ (obsession) the title is referring to. Samrat leaves the histrionics to Gautam, clearly the wrong age bracket to play a college student, especially one as immature as Suhaani. But then there’s no point in expecting to find sense in this schmaltzy story.

Updated Date: Jun 24, 2016 14:54:52 IST