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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



Jack & Dil, Review: Love my dog? Shadow my wife!

Jack & Dil, Review: Love my dog? Shadow my wife!

Set in picturesque Goa, the film seems to an advert for Goa tourism, a certain brand of tea and a particular brand of kettle. A bunch of actors were most likely contracted for a period and taken to the Western Indian beach paradise state, where a cat and mouse game was played out under the garb of making a movie. Reasonably talented actors appear novices as the plot, of a suspicious husband hiring a novice to spy on his wife, unravels at a snail’s pace.

Jack & Dil (Dil is Heart in Hindi/Urdu) is a modern day story of ‘new age’ man Jack (Amit Sadh), carefree and lazy, with little materialistic ambition, happy if he earns enough to meet his daily needs. Jack's only passion is reading detective novels, so he could, some day, write one of his own too. In fact, he has written one, with only the climax to be done. Problem starts when the penniless Jack falls in love with the idea of buying a dog.

Rich businessman Mr. Walia (Arbaaz Khan) is keen to sell his dog for Rs. One lakh (100,000) but their meeting takes an altogether different turn. When Jack says that all he can offer is his grandmother’s watch that could fetch Rs. 2,000, Walia makes a proposal. Jack turns detective, and his desire to own the dog lands him into shadowing the businessman's, wife Shilpa (Sonal Chauhan). The chase brings the two closer, and they even become friends. But Jack's deal is on the deadline to find out the ‘mystery man’ in Shilpa's life.

Meanwhile Shilpa gets to know of Jack's on-off relationship with his model girlfriend Lara (Evelyn Sharma), who has modelled for Walia’s advertising agency. Shilpa narrates to him her love story with Walia, the one-time romantic who is now totally focussed on his business. Jack now develops a crush on Shilpa. Jack admits to his fondness for Shilpa and suggests that the feelings are mutual. Although this infuriates Walia, he refuses to believe it.

Writing credit goes to Sanjeev Dutta, who has Page 3, Life in a Metro and Barfi against his name. But there is also Kites. Jack & Dil does no justice whatsoever to a man so talented. This one is badly under-written, with no clarity whether it wants to be an outright comedy or a romantic triangle twice over. The idea of Walia asking Jack to shadow Shilpa and produce proof of her infidelity is incredible in the first place. Dutta also seems to have a fixation for tea and pug dogs. The mnemonic that is associated with a telecom brand is all over the film and there are two full songs eulogising tea and kettles, as TV commercials. ‘A film by Sachin P. Karande & Gang’ says the end credit. That pretty much sums it all up. They were having fun! And here we are, trying to read too much in it. Karande’s direction has very little fun, and that too is labored.

Amit Sadh (Lee Strasberg Institute; Kai Po Che!, Guddu Rangeela, Sultan, Sarkar 3) has a face that reminds you a shade of Ranbir Kapoor. He oozes confidence, even when facing a much senior actor like Arbaaz Khan. Khan, who has a quiet dignity about his persona, is made to drink a lot and ham a lot, giving him little chance to underplay, something that comes naturally to him.

Sonal Chauhan (Jannat, Pehla Sitara, Paltan) is underrated and wasted. Evelyn Sharma (German; Yeh Jawaani Hai Diwani, Hindi Medium, When Harry Met Sejal) has all the oomph the role demands. Rajdeep Choudhury as the mystery man has barely one scene. Sachin Parikh acts as the interpreter to two Japanese individuals named Mr. Fuji and Mr. Yama. Now Fujiyama means Mount Fuji and is a revered range in Japan, so such names, in tandem, are a poor attempt at ridiculing the Japanese. Moreover, the Japanese refuse to do business with Walia unless he brings his wife along and has dinner with them. The wife is a must, or the contract if off!                       

Rating: * ½


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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