What catches you by complete surprise is the fact that Jannat has been helmed by a debutante director [Kunal Deshmukh] and penned by, again, a debutante wordsmith [story: Vishesh Bhatt; screenplay Kunal Deshmukh and Vishesh Bhatt]. You're surprised at the level of maturity, the command over the craft, the display of confidence in their very first outing.
Honestly, you don't take to Jannat instantly. The initial portions - the love story - are strictly chalta hai stuff. But the best part is, Jannat takes a step forward every 10 minutes. The film actually takes off when the characters reach Cape Town, South Africa. The portions thereafter are akin to a roller coater ride.
Right from the interval point to a hair-raising, pulse-pounding climax, Jannat is another journey altogether. The end, especially, hits you like a ton of bricks [it wouldn't be right to reveal what happens to the characters].
You can't imagine Jannat without Emraan Hashmi. Right from his debut film Footpath to Jannat, the actor has only grown with the passage of time. The actor displays the gamut of emotions with aplomb, he changes expressions like a chameleon changes colours. Jannat is yet another turning point in his career.
In a nutshell, Jannat is one of the finest films to come out of Vishesh Films. Not to be missed! Arjun [Emraan Hashmi] is a reckless young man with an obsession for making money at card games. A chance meeting with a girl in a mall, Zoya [Sonal Chauhan], gives him the reasons he was looking for to move out of his ordinary life. He steps up from playing small-time card games to becoming a bookie.
Stuck in a triangle of sorts between the woman he loves and his addiction to make a quick buck, Arjun steps into the world of match fixing. But his dizzy rise attracts the attention of the police [Samir Kochar].
Arjun has to now choose between Zoya and this new-found success and power. As Arjun struggles to choose between the two, the Don [Jawed Sheikh] offers the forbidden apple of limitless wealth in exchange of his soul and draws him into his core entourage of money spinners.
You may not be a cricket fan, but it's not difficult to decipher Jannat. In fact, the makers have refrained from using any technical jargon in the movie. Portions depicting match fixing and Emraan's interaction with the cricketers are, in fact, amongst the high points of the film. The speed at which Jannat unfolds and most importantly, the turn of events is the hallmark of this enterprise.
Vishesh Films has an eye for talent and this time the prolific production house pulls up two more aces - director Kunal Deshmukh and writer Vishesh Bhatt. Kunal is a storyteller to watch out for. In the past decade, the Bhatts have nurtured several talents, prominent among them being Anurag Basu and Mohit Suri. Now add Kunal Deshmukh to the list. If you understand cinema, you'd realize that every sequence in Jannat is not only well-shot, but there's meat in those scenes too.
Vishesh Bhatt's writing is dew-fresh and doesn't take the tried and tested route. Note the intermission point or the twists in the second hour as also the climax, the writer's contribution looms large in those portions. Pritam's music is lilting. The film has a hit score, but you'd like to single out two numbers - 'Zara Sa' and 'Jannat Jahan' - for the sheer melody.
Manoj Soni's cinematography is first-rate. The stunning locales of Cape Town are filmed exquisitely. Sanjay Masoom's dialogues are excellent. A few dialogues, in fact, are refreshing to the ears. Background score [Raju Singh] is top notch.
You can't visualize Jannat without Emraan Hashmi. If you loved him in Murder, Gangster and Awarapan, you'd place his performance in Jannat in the same league. Note the naughty streak as also the helplessness [at the interval point and towards the end]. An incredible performance indeed!
Sonal Chauhan looks pretty and though she's passable in the initial portions, she gets into the groove eventually. This girl has the potential. Jawed Sheikh is brilliant. This is his finest work so far. Samir Kochar is excellent. Vishal Malhotra is good. Shakeel Khan does very well. Abhimanyu Singh is competent. Vipin Sharma leaves a mark in a brief role.
On the whole, Jannat is a well-made film with lilting music, gripping script and excellent performances as its mainstay. Coupled with an absorbing second hour and a brilliant climax, the film has all it takes to prove a success story in times to come. Its solo release coupled with good hype should overcome the strong opposition [IPL].