Doesn't Carry Any Pretence
By Joginder Tuteja, MovieTalkies.com, 11 January 2014
Songs, locations, cinematography, thrills and some fun moments - This is what makes Yaariyan a film that fluctuates between average to interesting, hence turning out to be a fair outing that keeps one engaged for those two and a half hours.
The good part about Yaariyan is that it maintains certain sweetness quotient to it which is clichéd, yet the kind that does work for most of its times. So here is a bunch of youngsters in college who are playing pranks, running after girls, lusting for boys, hosting pyajma parties, indulging in sports, being rockstars, facing betrayal from friends, suffering heartbreaks, enjoying euphoria of first love, battling parents/teachers expectations and ultimately emerging victorious. Oh yes, one may well question that there is no real novelty about the whole affair or it actually carries a strong 'seen before' factor to it. True, but this is where the packaging comes in handy.
Let the truth be told though - The packaging by itself isn't the kind that brings in a wow at every passing scene. As a matter of fact there is a strong sense of deja vu that comes in number of scenes, especially in the first half which is straight of several college romcoms, especially from the 90s. Khiladi, Jaan Tere Naam, a few Govinda affairs, flavors from some of those lesser known flicks featuring the likes of Kamal Sadanah-Ravi Behl-Avinash Wadhawan, there is a lot of it and more that takes you back in time. As for the more notable affairs, there are films like Main Hoon Na, Student of the Year, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and more that come to mind.
In such a scenario, the choice is simple - You either take it or leave it. If you have liked films belonging to this genre in the past, you won't regret it yet again too. If they never interested you to begin with, then well it is futile to expect 'Yaariyan' to bring in a change to your taste.
Even otherwise, as stated earlier, there are few pointers in the film that actually make you get a little restless. An extended 'bhai bhai ka pyaar', the India-Australia saga in the first half, the crime that follows, a budding love story - there isn't much that actually holds your attention. Oh yes, even the maa-beta emotions are so much forced into the film while the decision to bring on the five youngsters in a competition seems a tad hasty as well.
However, and this is where has to acknowledge first time director Divya Khosla Kumar, Yaariyan plays a good enough trump card to still entice you into going through the film. First and foremost are the songs and each of them is good enough to bring you in the mood. If the composers do a terrific job, the choreography and cinematography is a huge add on. Add to them some genuinely fun moments into the narrative and you do manage to sit through the first half, leaving aside the interval point which is meant to be emotional but actually ends up being a little too sad for a film belonging to this genre.
Thankfully, much of the fun lies in the second half when the story shifts back to India from Australia. The love story that blossoms with songs interspersed in the narrative make the film a much more pleasant watch. However it is the last 30 minutes that turn out to be the best of the lot. The two rounds of competition are good and while rock climbing in the climax is heart-stopping, it is the pre-climax sequence featuring the cycle race which holds your attention the most. That along with songs in the film turn out to be paisa vasool moments.
What the film could have been done better with was a tighter grip in the first half. Also, barring the characterization of the central protagonist (Himansh Kohli), it is sketchy for the rest. They come and go out of nowhere with not much detailing to them due to which none really turn out to be memorable. Rakul Preet is decent but hardly there in the first half. In fact the one who is more visible is Nicole Faria and while she could do better in the acting department, she is good enough eye candy on screen. Dev Sharma, Shreyas Pardiwalla, Serah Singh and Vikas Verma fill in there, though stereotypical in presentation. Gulshan Grover brings in credibility though Deepti Naval, surprisingly, hams it up, especially during the climax.
Yaariyan is what one may term as a package affair that doesn't carry the pretence of presenting anything extraordinary and still actually serves something for everyone, hence turning out to be a reasonable affair. For a film which has an all new star-cast and a debutant director, Yaariyan turns out to be an outing which doesn't let any boredom to set in. Decent enough!
Joginder Tuteja tweets@tutejajoginder