Dubai: There’s good and bad news about Jhootha Hi Sahi. First the bad: Bollywood hunk John Abraham doesn’t take off his shirt to titillate us with his supremely-sculpted physique. But the good? There’s no time to shed copious tears over it because his acting chops are in top form. Abraham as the London-based geeky book-shop owner Sid who falls hopelessly in love with the suicidal-prone Mishka [Pakhi Tyrewala] is a feel-good love story at its best. Agreed, the plot of boy-meets-suicidal girl, boy-lies-to-suicidal girl is not anything extraordinary (remember Anjaana Anjaani), but its execution is fresh.
Unlike some cheesy Bollywood romcoms, the chemistry between the two principal actors is not contrived and the dialogues are relatable.
Barring the climax in which director Abbas Tyrewala seems to have succumbed to Bollywood style drama where Sid executes a Mission Impossible stunt to re-unite with his lover on the London's Tower Bridge, the rest of the film tows the line of sanity. For once, the Bollywood heroine is not your quintessential PYT cavorting around in high-end designer dos. She looks like any other ordinary 27-year-old grappling with an abusive bad break-up. But the operative word here is ordinary – though Pakhi Tyrewala’s acting is credible, she falls short when it comes to having a magnetic screen presence. Her recall value is zilch so don’t be hard on yourself if you find yourself racking your brains to conjure up her face a few minutes after leaving the theatre.
Three Idiots star Madhavan – as the eccentric, insecure and self-centred writer – makes his presence felt despite having a minuscule role. But the film with a somewhat hackneyed plot works largely because of the cackling chemistry among the ensemble cast.
Even though the chemistry between Sid and Mishka is endearing, it was another duo that had us in splits. Sid and his cynical-slash-acidic BFF Omar (actor Raghu Ram) shared an enviable on-screen camaraderie.
For once, the friends of a Bollywood hero were not relegated to glorified side-kicks. The film was as much about the love story as it was about Sid’s quirky friends. Even caricatured topics including India-Pakistan relations and unwed mothers were tastefully dealt with. And if you have been tracking the controversy that was brewing prior to JHS release that the film was a rip-off of American sitcom Friends – then there’s little to fret about. It’s tough to find a Rachel or a Monica in any one of these characters.
The background score by Oscar-winner A R Rahman is at best mediocre and seems to be suffering from a severe Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (Abbas Tyrewala’s earlier work) hangover. But fret not, you will be appeased after you watch John Abraham deliver one of his finest performances till date. His stumbling, stammering act makes you almost believe that girls may one day choose the nerdy Clark Kent over Superman.
JHS is currently playing in the theatres near you.