‘Jahaan Char Yaar’: Swara Bhaskar’s Light-hearted Caper

Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Shikha Talsania, Meher Vij, Pooja Chopra, Girish Kulkarni, Manish Chadhari
Director: Kamal Pandey
Rating: 2.5 stars
Four women whooping it up in Goa, dumping deadening domesticity, kicking their heels up: a one-line premise becomes quite a lark in ‘Jahaan Chaar Yaar’.

Shivangi (Bhaskar) is a much put-upon wife/ daughter-in-law/ sister-in-law who washes, cooks and cleans day in and day out. Neha (Shikha Talsania) is aware of her randy husband’s bit on the side but keeps ignoring it, hoping that one day he will reform. Sakina (Pooja Chopra) is tired of being the wronged party in the constant refrain of why-doesn’t-she-produce-babies put up by her po-faced mother-in-law. And Mansi (Meher Vij) is the fairy who helps spirit them away to faraway Goa, there to cut loose and frolic, and relive their fun-filled bachpan-ke-din.

What I liked was the way the plot builds in a few cheeky surprises. And while the popping up of random characters is not as smoothly knit in as it could have, we are left wondering where it all is heading towards. A quick, illicit getaway for the four pals (haww, what if their grouchy spouses and in-laws find out) turns into a light-hearted caper which includes murder, a bunch of kooky cops, and some intrigue..

The film does best when it is being silly, and the women, led from the front by Bhaskar, jump into it willingly. When they are having fun (a blond, beefy type shows up to flash his wares), we are too: good to see actors look like real women with regular clothes and hurriedly done hair, actual waists spilling over their saris, not pneumatic dolls flaunting their washboard abs, skin made flawless by make-up. Even when they are forced into clunky, forced situations, which tends to happen in the kind of comic capers this one is aiming for, we believe in them.
It’s when they start being lectured by a cop who thinks he knows everything (Girish Kulkarni, hilarious) that you roll your eyes. Why? Why should the man, and not the female cop who is alongside, tell the petrified friends that men and women are equals, and to not be scared about coming clean to their families about their little escapade? Why a lecture at all? Why should they be learning moral science lessons? Why not just keep having fun? — Shubhra Gupta, IE