After I saw the disastrous ‘Haapus‘ I have stopped trying to gauge what a marathi film will be from its promos, not even the trailer. But Hello Jaihind was a Gajendra Ahire film and you expect a certain basic level of quality from the man. Usually the promotion of his films being virtually non-existent, the fact that his film even had a Facebook group and also a Wikipedia page elated me. The posters also had some thought put behind them unlike the ones for all his other films. Not that the promotion was enough but just that there was an effort behind it made me happy. Add names like Illaiyaraaja and Amalendu Chaudhary who were contributing to the film and I was somehow confident that Ahire’s time has come.
Sadly though it wasn’t going to be so. The tragic part about it all is that where Hello Jaihind falters is in the scripting department. Having already sung paeans of Ahire’s script writing abilities the messy script was a huge disappoint. The film is majorly about the trysts of an honest and proud but overworked constable of Mumbai Police in these terror-stricken times. It also tries portraying the difficulties faced by the policemen’s wives in running a family almost single-handedly as their husbands are perennially ‘on duty’.
An interesting and even a fairly unexplored subject for sure. But Ahire’s effort, especially his shabby script fails to capitalize on it. Just when you feel the movie is taking an exciting turn, the screenplay ruthlessly chokes the excitement and gets back to its usual chaotic stuff. Though Illayaraja has composed a few good songs they couldn’t be woven nicely into the narrative and thus some end up being roadblocks. As a Gajendra Ahire fan what troubled me most are the caricatures in the films. Other traits of his screenplay like the flashback were present but what were sorely missing were the exciting characters that he has a knack of sketching.
Art Director Nitin Desai’s acting debut in the lead role is a mixed bag. He excels in looking the part but the moment he opens his mouth to say a dialogue his performance falls flat. Nevertheless, he has done an appreciable job in what he is good at. The blackened walls of Shivaji Pawar’s modest house in a chawl of a Police Quarters or the gloomy and dimly lit prison, Nitin Desai’s art direction is up to the mark as always.
Trupti Bhoir who doubles up as the producer and also in the role of Shivaji’s wife Durga is effective though sometimes over the top in her performance. But she leaves no stone unturned in the production department. Be it getting Tamil maestro Illayaraja for the music or Amalendhu Chaudhary as the cameraman, that she is passionate about her work is pretty obvious. Also the authenticity that is visible in the make-up department is something which is very rare in marathi cinema. Such high production values are probably a first for a Gajendra Ahire film.
The other positives are definitely certain scenes which show maturity in Gajendra Ahire as a director. The unimaginative and orthodox direction has always been Ahire’s weak point. So it was very heartening to see subtlety creeping into his direction. An example is the hospital scene where the injured in a terrorist attack are being brought in. Instead of close-ups of wailing patients Chaudhari’s camera captures the blood from the injured splattered on the hospital floor which certainly makes you quiver in your seats.
But all in all Hello Jaihind, notwithstanding the script or Nitin Desai’s performance, doesn’t seem a dishonest effort. Though the 26/11 incident plays a major part in the story, Ahire doesn’t take undue advantage and manages to keep restrain. This makes Hello Jaihind a watchable fare but it will definitely leave the viewer asking for more.