Even when the film tries to give a substantial social message, it goes disastrously wrong.

Review Hit or miss humour and an absent script make John Jani Janardhan a lacklustre filmScreenshot from trailer
news Film Review Friday, December 09, 2016 - 18:27

“John Jani Janardhan” aims to be nothing more than a fun masala outing. The Guru Deshpande film, which is a remake of the Malayalam film, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, doesn’t try too very hard to set up a scintillating plot or chain of actions.

You have John, Jani and Janardhan, the three neighbourhood young men going nowhere in a hurry. Their greatest ambition in life is to save enough money from their dead-end jobs to fund a trip to Pattaya, Thailand, where they fantasise they will have the hedonistic (read sexual) experience of a lifetime. Meanwhile they’re on the hunt for the girl of their dreams but are willing to settle for their next drinking binge.

They’re surrounded by a motley crew of neighbours and friends with whom they flow through gag after gag. Some of those gags work to elicit a chuckle or two. Most of them fall flat, since they rely on jokes about men disabled by polio, on the run-of-the-mill humour about women, and so on.

For a film that relies largely on a series of humorous setups to push itself forward, the scripting and direction do not focus enough attention on bringing novelty to the comedy. All the jokes are ones we’ve heard before, and just do not grab enough attention.

Meanwhile, there’s also a villainous fellow who seems to be kidnapping children and killing them. Here’s the social message thrust of the film, which emerges somewhere after the interval, when Janardhan doesn’t tell the police about his suspicions about the killer because he’s wary of tangling with the law.

When his decision comes home to roost, the three heroes repent their apathy and go into action mode to catch the killer. Unfortunately, even as the film attempts to deliver a strong message about child sexual abuse, it goes dreadfully wrong, with a police officer justifying mob lynchings as a better alternative to arrests and the legal course.

The main trio of Krishna Ajai Rao, Yogi and Krishna have their moments, but largely the film doesn’t give them a meaty enough script to play off. The secondary characters, as should be expected with such a lack of a story, have no depth and are only present to move the film along.

While the song sequences add some credit to cinematographer Santhosh Rai Pathaje, the music itself is not particularly memorable.