Jahaan Chaar Yaar is a film about four women who decide to let go of the shackles of married life for a bit and chill together in Goa. Their escape turns sour when a foreigner is found killed in their hotel room. They aren’t just the prime suspects in a murder, but are also the target of a mysterious killer hell-bent on removing all evidence. How the close bond they share helps them overcome the hurdles forms the crux of the film.
It’s seldom that our filmmakers try to make a film with 30-plus women as the protagonists. Kudos to director Kamal Pandey, who has also written the film, for attempting that. Domesticity becomes stifling after a while in middle class homes, especially for housewives who are forced by circumstances to not have a life of their own. So you empathise with the perils of Shivangi (Swara Bhaskar), who is emotionally manipulated to become the unpaid servant of her husband and in-laws, Sakina (Pooja Chopra), whose husband wants to leave her, and Neha (Shikha Talsania), whose husband has been cheating on her. So when their rich friend Mansi (Meher Vij) cons them into visiting her in Mumbai, saying she’s dying of cancer and later reveals she’s planned to take them all for a girls’ vacation in Goa, they’re shocked initially but give in. The director keeps their middle-class mores intact. They roam around the beaches not in beachwear but in sarees, drink nothing stronger than beer; feel ashamed about ogling men; and are flustered when they get a call from their families. The trip is a guilty pleasure of sorts for them, where they can roam freely without feeling the burden of domestic life. We’d have been content with seeing them have one mild misadventure after another. But the director has pushed in a murder mystery in the mix as well. It’s when life gets all topsy-turvy, that they realise that they can’t be doormats all their lives and should learn to rebel.
The film is part comedy, part whodunit and partly a lesson on women’s empowerment. Thankfully, not every man is painted as a villain. The inspector investigating their case, played by Girish Kulkarni, is shown to be a staunch supporter of women’s rights. He not only stands up to his senior, who was cheating on his wife, but also tells the four friends to get out of the rut and sort their lives out. And they do it with dignity and sass, keeping their self-esteem intact. Where the film falters is in its depiction of the mystery and its denouement. It’s all too sudden, hurried and disjointed, and the mishandling of it jars this otherwise fine film.
Casting Swara Bhaskar, an actor known for her feminist views, as a woman who has lost all sense of identity after marriage was a risk indeed, but the actor has pulled off the role with panache. She’s such a doormat in the film that you want to shake her up and tell her to stop and find a life. She hasn’t put in a false note and has given a most sincere performance. Shikha Talsania and Pooja Chopra are versions of her and are successful in putting forward the angst and insecurity felt by their respective characters. The affable Meher Vij too is cast against type. The strong, resilient mother of Secret Superstar (2017) is something of a shrew here. It’s an interesting character, which we wish was written better.
While Jahaan Chaar Yaar is a film with strong feminist vibes and carries good performances, it does falter on execution, especially in the second half. The film is a mixed bag for sure, and let’s hope its message finds an audience.
Trailer : Jahaan Chaar Yaar
Archika Khurana, September 16, 2022, 3:00 PM IST
Jahaan Chaar Yaar Story: The story revolves around four women —Shivangi (Swara Bhaskar), Mansi (Meher Vij), Neha (Shikha Talsania), and Sakhina (Pooja Chopra) — who decide to escape the suffocating routine life of being middle-class homemakers by travelling to Goa for a few days to live life on their terms. They have no idea that their vacation will lead to a series of life-changing events.
Jahaan Chaar Yaar Review: As the title suggests, ‘Jahaan Chaar Yaar’ is about four friends, and when they get together, we can expect a lot of fun. But, unfortunately, the film contains a lot of drama that only vaguely discusses how important it is for women to have their own identities and voices. Spread over 125 minutes of run time, the film sets up the story of four women who decide to live a bit more independently for a few days in order to break free from the monotonous cycle of being middle-class housewives. The story starts on an interesting note and is funny in parts, but it ends up being a dull film to watch.
The film opens with Shivangi, who lives a routine life of doing household chores – from washing the entire family’s clothes to cooking meals for them. She even eats alone after finishing the tasks but never whines. Then we meet Sakhina, who has a troubled marriage due to her inability to have children. Even though her spouse is to blame, no one wants to hear her side of the story. Neha is the third group member, and her husband is having an extramarital affair. The last member of the buddy gang is Mansi, who duped her friends into going on a trip to Goa. Will this be a good break for them, or will it change their lives?
With ‘Jahaan Chaar Yaar’, writer Kamal Pandey makes his directorial debut after penning numerous daily soaps and film scripts. The story definitely strikes a chord at first, especially given how easy it is to identify with these women and their circumstances. When they go on a trip and end up in an unfortunate situation (to be precise, right before the interval), what started out as fun quickly loses its lustre for both, them and the viewers.
After ‘Veere Di Wedding,’ Swara Bhaskar and Shikha Talsania are back together in another film about female bonding. Swara is the best of the bunch, with some funny one-liners and a perfect UP accent. Shikha Talsania, Meher Vij and Pooja Chopra have played their parts well but lack support from the writing department.
All said, the concept of friends travelling together to have some thrill in life is not novel, but given that the film focusses on desi naaris and their pakki dostis, a lot of entertainment was expected, but it falls short in every way.