Janani (2006)


A delightful tale of a brother accidentally dating his own sister.jananititle1

Namaste! I want to save you a little time.  Since I sacrificed my time and watched Janani (2006), I don’t really see the need for you to do the same, unless of course this little review compels you to watch Janani, then by  all means watch karo!  I kept delaying my returning this movie to Netflix, since I knew there was a lot of groundbreaking screen capping to do, which I finally got around to and I offer to you now. I got this movie after doing a search for the sweetheart of Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989), Bhagyashree.  I’ve always wanted to see more of her after Maine Pyaar Kiya, and remember reading this about her: Her career took a down turn after she started insisting on doing roles only opposite her husband Himalaya Dasani. Since then she only acted in television serials. (source) Well you know I had to find a sample of them together, and here it is, Bhagyashree and her real life husband:

How did you like those phones? Now back to Janani!  Janani popped up in my Bhagyashree search and since I saw Mohnish Behl co starred, it was a no brainer to order it.   Most important of all,  Bhagyashree and Mohnish looked fantastic.  They’re both even more attractive than when they appeared together in Maine Pyaar Kiya.  This film seemed like it was a made for TV movie, and it was surprising that there was even any information about it out there on the web, but I did find things and I particularly enjoyed this review.  A nice feature to the DVD was the option to, Select your own end. First time on DVD.  Well it was the first time I’d seen that and I elected to see the Heartbreaking Ending first, knowing I could temper the sorrow with a 2nd viewing of the Heavenly Ending. Which ending would you choose?

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Here’s how the story goes; Rahul (Vineet Raina) and Neha (Sonica Handa) go on a date to the go cart track. There’s dancing, and lots of good clean fun.  There’s also quite a bit of sexual tension on the date, since Neha doesn’t wear too many clothes and when she does they are very revealing.  As you may predict, a go carting date leads to them consummating their relationship in the shower.

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Rahul brings Naha home to meet his parents, Urmila ( Ayesha Julka who I remember from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar) and Raj (Behl), who ask a few questions about her.

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Initially polite, they take a sudden turn when they find out who Neha’s mom is.

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Stupid Rahul thinks it’s a class issue, so naive!

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He thinks it’s their fancy toy company, in fact the best and leading toy company of India, that’s making his parents have their adverse reaction to Neha. At this point I was thinking  Nahin Rahul, the best and leading toy company of India was owned by Amitabh in Waqt: The Race Against Time. I distinctly recall him holding a stuffed giraffe from his factory in that film, so how could YOUR family have the leading toy company? Back to Janani, sorry. OK. so here’s the reason Neha has to go:

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Don’t you hate when that happens? So Rahul freaks out, runs out of the mansion and drives off really fast on his motorcycle and generally acts suicidal. He’s completely unhinged, knowing he’s committed incest with Neha, but luckily he runs into a group of vagrant sufis singing an inspirational qawwali. I searched to find this song online so I could include the video, but haven’t found it yet.  In fact the only clips I could find were the shower scene described above.  Go figure.

Meanwhile, we need to learn a bit about Neha’s mom, Akanksha (Bhagyashree).  Akanksha used to work in India’s best and leading toy company back in the day with Rahul’s mom.  Akanksha was Urmila’s assistant and it seems that her husband, Tarun, also worked at this company.  Akanksha and her husband Tarun (Aman Verma) have a son, also named Rahul.  He’s also a go carting fan, but he has some trouble one day during a race, since he’s dizzy from a brain tumor.

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Akanksha and Tarun can’t afford the expensive brain tumor surgery, so rich co-workers/friends Urmila and Raj step in and pay for it.  Akanksha goes to their home to thank them, and as is traditional in Bollywood films, she overhears some important information; Urmila is infertile, but desperately wants a baby and brings the following idea to Raj:

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Raj will not go for this idea.  He questions how his offspring can be correctly nurtured in another woman’s womb since they would not know her morals or beliefs.  Urmila is distraught and begs him and the whole scene seems hopeless.  Akanksha knows that her little Rahul’s life was just saved thanks to  them funding the brain tumor surgery.  She really is indebted to them and wants to help.  Akanksha, just overhearing their dilemma goes to the temple and has a plan that she runs by her  mother in law first.

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Then with approval of her mother in law and husband, she goes to tell Urmila and Raj her plan and they’re like Say what?

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So she’s carrying Raj’s baby, through artificial means, and then the unthinkable happens! Her son Rahul  (Master Smith Seth) ends up dying, despite the pricey brain tumor surgery. Hota hai, but still, a bummer.

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With her own son now dead, and now with the new baby she promised to Urmila here, Akanksha changes her mind and decides to keep the new baby, even name him Rahul, since her Rahul’s spirit went into this new baby anyway. I guess you could call her an Indian giver. Sorry to be offensive, but it was too funny to resist.

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Akanksha’s decision reversal drives Urmila to insanity, since who would she be if not a mother?  The Dr. comes by and sedates her a lot since she’s berserk / pagal without her promised baby. What more can they do?

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Raj makes an appeal to Aksnksha, and begs her to give Urmila the baby.  I especially like the picture on the wall of dead brain tumor Rahul that you can see here:

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Just look how great Behl and Bhagyashree look here:

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Yes, she eventually ends up giving Rahul to Urmila and Raj and then goes to work as a nurse.  To add a little more trauma, her husband and mother in law are killed in a car crash.  To ease the pain, Akanksha adopts little baby orphan Neha, and raises her as her own.  Now, fast forward to real time and Akanksha’s daughter, Neha, tells her mom what just happened at Rahul’s home and how his parents reacted to her.  Akanksha tells Neha the tale of her past.  Neha, thinking she’s Rahul’s biological sister, and knowing what they did in the shower is now, like Rahul,  also suicidal.

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jananigun4Her mom tells her that she was merely a surrogate mother to Rahul and that Neha is adopted, so they are NOT siblings after all. Phew!  Neha frantically calls Rahul with the good news, but he’s too busy trying to shoot himself that he won’t answer his phone.  They speed to his home and break down the door only to find…

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So I’ve told you most of the movie, but from these last pictures, you have to wonder how it all ends?

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I’d love to hear from anyone who has taken the time to watch this film.  What did you think? And if you haven’t seen it, don’t you almost want to see it now?

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18 thoughts on “Janani (2006)

  1. Sitaji I’ve seen it! (are you surprised, really?)

    it was so gloriously awful, and the sexual scenes were so bad, that I couldnt bring myself to write about it- but you’ve done a brilliant job, and I’m saved the effort :D

  2. shweta-ji!
    I am so glad you saw it and will admit to it. I feel wrong seeing all these quality movies, yet writing aobu this one instead. LOL. I just watch Satyajit Ray’s Nayak (1966) last night and am almost through with The Householder (1966), yet feel the need to write about Janani. Someone had to. I agree those sex scenes were very uncomfortable, and I kept thinking, “this can’t be Bollywood, can it?” Thanks for confessing your sin of watching this. Was it ever in a theater? Seem like it was right to DVD or made of TV.

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this up to warn all of us! I saw the DVD in my local Indian video store and was very tempted by the star cast – how can anything with Bhagyashree and Mohnish Behl be bad? But I resisted and am happy to know that the resistance wasnt futile. :-) And yes, Bhagyashree and Mohnish Behl look lovely. Arent they too young to be doing parent roles, though? Salman Khan (their MPK co-star) is still playing “young” men!

    How did you like Nayak? It was the first Satyajit Ray film I ever saw and I still love it – it was also the first time I understood Uttam Kumar’s magic (he was a bit of a milque-toast in Hindi movies) and why he was dubbed Maha-nayak (superstar) in Bangla cinema.

  4. This is one of the most awful hindi movies I have ever seen!

    I would have warned you to stay away if you had mentioned it on ur blog ie your wish to see it!

    You have done a big favour to all those who have not seen it ie they can avoid it !

  5. I would rather prefer to watch ‘Filhaal’ on women’s day. It is of same line of subject. But beautifully conceived. [I just have reviewed its beautiful soundtrack].

    Talking about selective endings, how about having that feature in Delhi-6?? :-P

  6. Bollyviewer-ji,
    I’m so glad you understood the situation so accurately, yes how could those 2 be in a movie and it be not so good? You are so right about them playing characters who are supposed to be that old, LOL. Sort of the opposite of Aamir Khan playing a college student in Rang de Basanti, though admittedly an older student, but still. I almost hate to admit it, since Ray lovers and Bengali cinema lovers tend to look down their noses at Bollywood, so I want to do that back to them. ;) As far as Ray’s fantastic works, I’ve seen a couple from the Apu Trilogy
    and The Chess Players and enjoyed those a lot, but I LOVED Nayak! I especially loved the editing/cutting between scenes, e.g. Uttan Kumar signing an autograph in one scene and then cutting to Sharmila Tagore tucking a pen into her sari; him getting drunk and popping the pills and waking up with a headache and another character in the adjacent scene being ill. Uttan and Sharmila were both fantastic and I loved the movie’s overall message of life’s meaning, image vs. reality and doing that through the character of a film star. And you KNOW I found Uttan Kumar sizzling! Kya charisma! I had to look him up afterwards and find out all about his life and filmography. I liked the tale of his funeral HERE. Uttam Kumar’s funeral – mourned by hundreds of thousands of Bengalis spilling into the streets as a slow-moving procession with his garlanded body moved along the major arteries of Calcutta — was an elaborate, yet ultimately a simple affair. With his passing, Bengal marked the end of an era as Tollygunge (the area in Calcutta where most of the film studios are located) slowly but inexorably transformed itself into Tollywood (marked by a slavish imitation of Bollywood).

    Maha-nayak indeed!

    Nicki-ji,
    Thanks :) Glad to know I can help.

    theBollywoodFan-ji,
    I agree. I had a hard time finishing it and it sat around for a couple weeks before I finished it. I then knew I had to screen cap it, so it sat around some more. Finally I’ve purged it from my system. I am glad you got to see some of its badness though.

    Darshit-ji,
    Thanks for that tip on a better choice. :) Now that’s really a great idea about Delhi 6 having and ending you could choose. Of all the films I’ve seen lately that one had an ending that could go either way. Another one that could have done that was Luck By Chance.

  7. I think it is necessary to watch such movies every once in a while- it makes me more appreciative of “better” movies, and it’s just oddly cathartic to see trash and tear it apart!

  8. Oh God, ha ha!! I’m crying! The screen shots remind me of a very old version of Nagan I saw recently in which the male and female cobras have spent like a thousand lives waiting to become humans so then can finally get it on and have their suhag raat. But bummer, male cobra gets shot, and dying in the arms of the she-cobra-woman, bemoans their lack of shenanigans on this much awaited suhag raat, which is delightfully translated in the subtitles as “copulation night”

    Now there’s a sweet line to throw at your beloved “Mmmm baby, I can’t wait for our copulation night. It’s making my dil dhadak.”

  9. bollybutton-ji,
    So glad you stopped by to comment! You know your description of Nagan makes me want to rent that. The plot sounds brilliant! Imagine the pure romance of 2 snakes waiting through many lifetimes and then missing out on their romantic goal. When the cobra-man is shot does he turn back into a snake? If not, that’s a good idea for a remake! Sounds like the translation work was EXCELLENT! Also an excellent line you’ve come up with here: “Mmmm baby, I can’t wait for our copulation night. It’s making my dil dhadak.” :D I enjoyed skimming your blog and will check it now that I know it’s there. I think you may be the first commenter here from Greece, or more specifically living in Greece. In my heart I’m toasting you with some retsina or ouzo, your choice.

    P.S. Here’s an image from Nagin I found in Karen’s great gallery:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lipgloss14/N#5207482112088457938

    • bollybutton behen-ji,
      Dhanyavaad for the link hai!
      I will watch that. the whole snake thing is a great concept that can never really be done enough! I saw the 2nd Sridevi snake film and talked a bit about that experience HERE.
      I know the Richard over at DANCES ON THE FOOTPATH has also done some old school snake movie posts that you may enjoy too.

      All the best nagin behen. :D

    • ~uh~™-ji,
      Exactly what I thought! This post was a way to cleanse myself from the experience of watching the film. Thanks for your comment. :)

      Also your blog looks intriguing. I will investigate.

      • p.s. ~uh~™-ji,
        While looking through your fantastic & eclectic blog, I see you have a couple Satyajit Ray posts. Certainly I’ve seen works from the master and other fine Indian parallel cinema, but it is my duty as a world citizen to focus light on such films a Janani, because who else would? ;)

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