Bollywood is back in Ghaziabad. This time the camera is not on trigger-happy, loudmouth criminals, but on vigorous youth and raging hormones. But the result is no better. Indoo Ki Jawani, which made its theatrical debut, is a half-baked comedy with a feisty Kiara Advani in the crosshairs and populated by several men who can’t tell their brains from their groins.
The film, written and directed by Abir Sengupta, first examines the fate of a sex-hungry pervert (Raghav Raj Kakkaer) from the point of view of the main character, the guy’s girlfriend, who has been dating him for a year or more but is in no hurry to jump into bed with him. That’s exactly the problem.
Indoo Ki Jawani is a woman-centered film. The main character, Indira “Indoo” Gupta (Advani), does the hemming and hawing and never really leaves the room. It doesn’t take long for the defense mechanism to betray her. It is then that the “wisdom” of Sonal (Mallika Dua), Indoo’s confidante in matters of love and lust, proves useful.
This is the Bollywood idea of UP. India’s largest state is filled with disgruntled people who want to kill each other or penetrate social misfits whose unbridled sexual urge cannot be satisfied. Here, the men have only one thing on their minds – Indoo and her best friend never tire of it – and the women are busy finding ways to fend off unwanted advances.
Indoo Ki Jawani makes several other radical demands. First, all Indians are critical. Show us something (or someone) in the Mumbai film industry that has stopped condemning the behavior of those they take pleasure in scapegoating, as if this is the only part of the world where this prurient way of life exists.
But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start from the beginning. It’s about time we did,” says Indoo’s friend. Go home with the little thing and we’ll see how it goes,” he says. Sabka break-up tak ho gaya, hamara make-up bhi nahi hua, whines the boy. You mean make-up nahi hua, Indoo corrects him. I’m sure that Indoo Ki Jawani needed make-up before he was sent out into the world.
Indoo pretends to be distraught every time a child in his neighborhood behaves more playfully than he should. There are many of them, because everyone in their middle-class neighborhood, from inexperienced teenagers to former inmates, is crazy about her. But the girl decides to wait, because she wants her first kiss to be with someone really special.
At Sonal’s request, she breaks into the boy’s house with the intention of giving him what he wants, only to find him kissing another girl. She cuts off the wedding of the same girl she caught fornicating with her boyfriend. Her younger brother’s irresponsible boyfriend beats her. When she ignores him, he puts alcohol in her lemonade.
The rest of the exchange is of a purely childish nature. Among other things, like any debate in a Hindi film, it turns to cricket and music. Samar agrees that Indian musicians shamelessly take up compositions from all over the world. Ouch, that hurts!
Indoo Ki Jawani also deals a gentle blow to the hypocrisy of a society where the guardians of morality use religiosity as a flashy dress to hide their hideous bellies. While Indoo tries hard not to let Samar get too close, the villains and upstarts next door are in a night jagran where three rancid guys – played by Rakesh Bedi, Chitranjan Tripathy and Rajendra Sethi – can’t help but “worry” about Indoo’s well-being.
However, Indoo Ki Jawani does not rely enough on these ideas. He is too focused on laughing at the girl’s clumsy attempts to lose her virginity. The film strives not to let the heroine’s agency degenerate into a laugh riot and makes some progress. But on the whole, there is more work than pleasure to be had.