January 29, 2007

...Yahaan - well, hello Jimmy!

I´m a bit cautious when it comes to commenting on movies with a political message and "...Yahaan" tells a beautiful love story embedded in the political background of the Kashmir conflict. Something I am in no way qualified to comment in depth about. And still, this one here is, I feel, one of the few mainstream Hindi movies that almost successfully omits one-sided propaganda from their storytelling.

In Yahaan we meet Captain Aman (Jimmy Sheirgill) newly based at RR force in Srinagar. During one of his assignments he meets Adaa, a local muslim girl. Who happens to live in a house next to the bunker he gets stationed at.

A cold night, the search for chai and an interfering grandmother lead to a private encounter and love starts to bloom but not without difficulties that are a notch up from the usual Bollywood fare. The lovers face opposition from almost everybody surrounding them. The army ("Don´t mingle with locals") the locals ("Don´t mingle with the occupying force") the militants (for sure danger for live and limbs from this side) and of course Adaa ki khandaan khuch bhi nahin with the situation.

Even though the love Aman and Adaa feel for each other is "the real thing". So there are wonderful tender moments and horrible violent encounters that keep interchanging.

The lovestory is in fact nothing out of the norm for a nice average Bollywood romance. You have the sincere lovers. The -at first- disappoving family. A jealous villain. And sacrifices and courageous acts.

What makes it special is that this story is played before a quite realisticly painted background of the situation the Kashmiris find themselves in today. Incredible beautiful sceenery. Incredible unjust violence. The judging of the political side, as I said, here is fairly neutral and if it tends to one side then it´s that of the average local Kashmiris. Who are forced to lead their lifes in the crossfire between local (and imported) militants and the Indian Army.
That realistic approach is aided through the great cinematography of Jakob Ihre, a Swedish cameraman. Who captures the scenes and people with a kind of raw-ish almost european feeling. And beautiful poetic pictures. The post-production work of Shekar is great. Hey, Sanjay Gupta, watch this movie. Color correction as a visual effect can be done without giving your viewers a headache.

What also makes this movie worth watching are the actors. One highlight is Adaa´s grandmother, who has some fantastic witty moments. Or Sree, Adaa´s little sister.
The militants are for once not the cliched guys with big mustaches and booming voices. Minissha Lamba playing Adaa is sweet.
But who really surprised me was Jimmy Shergill. Boy is he good here. He´s playing my so far favorite Indian Army character. Quiet. Dedicated. Human. [girly moment on] and hot damn, he does looks fine in a uniform, even the mustache looks sexy on him [/ girly moment off].

It´s a pity that I had the Yahaan DVD lying here unwatched for more then a year, for fear of a smallscale propaganda-ish production not worth to being watched. That, was clearly a mistake.

PS: Since I´m a Devanagari illiterate can somebody translate or at least transscript this to Latin letters for me?


Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Give me a week and I can transcribe it! And I can do the consonants and any vowels at the beginning of a word now! I'm so awesome.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

Oh, and also, I will certainly take into consideration your advise re: Jimmy. Although he would have to lose the moustache.

babasko said...

@beth: great you are. I´ve been struggling with the "beginners hindi script" book for months now and can´t get the hang on it...

btw. I think the moustache is already gone..

Anonymous said...


"That very first one was much better."

babasko said...

Great. Thanks nemo. Now that makes perfect sense.
Jimmy you know how to make a lady fall for you.

Aparna said...

'The one which you saw at first was better'

Anonymous said...

"that...very first one was better."