Yaariyan enters into the young....no, make that very young...territory. Lamentably in the perverse parameters of a particular kind of Bollywood entertainment, "young" is equated with ...no, not reckless....but brainless to the point of being moronic. So the first 10 minutes of playing-time in this over-long ode to the yen of being young is devoted the film's hero Lakshya (TV actor Himansh Kohli) trying to get a kiss out of a short-skirted miss. But the kiss ends up in a mess. There are any number of under-dressed under-graduates luring and pulling boys into empty classes for a bit of necking. And then Bollywood wonders why it is blamed for violence against women in our society. Eve-teasing is not just a past-time in a film such as this. It is a religion.
The debutant director sets her sights on making a film that pays a jam-packed homage to the coming-of-age flicks like Mansoor Khan's Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar and Karan Johar's Student Of The Year. The film also bears an uncanny physical resemblance to Farah Khan's "Main Hoon Na".
As in Mansoor's film, Ms Khosla's go-slow narration builds a graph for the hero from daft to wise....At least that is what it's meant to be. But given the preposterous preenings of the blabber-mouthed plot, the daft never develops beyond the first draft. The screenplay could have done with substantial paring and reparation.
There is a too much of window-dressing and too little substance. The narrative moves through two continents, and the Australian sojourn is crammed with loud propaganda on racial hatred when the hero's Australian cousin is smashed to death by a jealous local. Many exhausting reels later the slain NRI's mother (Deepti Naval, again!) is shown bandaging her son's Aussie killer's hand. Bloody hell.
The plot is tiresomely old-fashioned. The narrative is cluttered with characters who think 1970s but wear clothes and an attitude borrowed from the immigration desk of an American airport. Though much hue and cry is expended on the Indian flag and its sanctity, scant respect is paid to the audiences' intelligence.
The debutante director assumes her audience-profile to be 18-20-year-olds who spend all their time dreaming of smooches and splashing in azure beaches. Laughably, none of the film's young protagonists thinks beyond a kiss. Sex, if you must know, is not for the young in a cinema that focuses on busts, bums and thighs and on a pair of coconuts when the camera tires of the real thing. There is unlimited attempt to sexy. But little sex in the film.
While it lasts, the narrative has bicycle and motorcycle races, mountain climbing (impressively shot) and social climbing, plunging morales and necklines. By the time the hero finally grows up, the audiences, even the targeted youngsters, would probably age by at least a few years.
On the plus side, the soundtrack is an interesting mix of club beats and melodies. The title song and a rock track in praise of the Mother do bring much-needed respite in a film that tries so hard to be young that we end up looking at the aging romancers in this week's other release Dedh Ishqiya with boosted admiration.
Yaariyan is strictly for the young at heart and disabled of mind.
Cast: Himansh Kohli, Nakul Preet, Deepti Naval
Directer: Divya Khosla Kumar