Netflix’s newly released film, Jaane Jaan brings to the viewers a suspense thriller adapted from the book named In Devotion to Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. The plot centers around a math genius silhouetting as a math Teacher in the small town of Kalimpong in Darjeeling, who takes on the brave task of helping his crush residing next door to dispose of the body of her ex-husband, a newly retired Police Sub-inspector. The creators bring forth a thriller that seems disjointed in many ways.
Maya used to be Soniya, the wife of the abusive, sleazy cop named Ajit Mhatre (played by Saurabh Sachdeva). After 14 years of divorcing him, she relocated to the misty hill town of Kalimpong in northern West Bengal. Since then, she has been devoted to raising her daughter Tara and, in order to make ends meet, she opened a small cafe that provides coffee and Chinese food. Ajit unexpectedly shows up at the cafe one day and, after being rejected, storms inside Maya’s house. Threats against the mother and daughter that are overt and intrusive turn violent. Ajit is found dead on the floor, having choked on the cable of an immersion water heater, the most practical murder weapon in Himalayan communities.
Jaane Jaan is propelled by two actors who exhibit fiery traits, giving the movie a particular hue. Cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay does well in using blue and dark greys to compliment the mysterious nature of the film. The handheld camera delivers tension and brings forth a certain sense of unpredictability delivering the story straight from the book. The plot brings things around for Maya and help comes in the person of Naren (played by Jaideep Ahlawat), a gifted but lonely maths teacher who lives next door and is just like heartbroken Maya, who is by no means a professional criminal. He quickly takes care of the body, gives directions and rationalizations, and generally acts like an appealing guy. He has a deep crush on Maya, quite obvious but something she had shrugged off. Only after observing his cleverness, she feels obligated to use it to her advantage.
When a cunning investigator named Karan (Vijay Varma) moves to the area, things become even more difficult. Director Sujoy Ghosh loves playing these different characters off of one another, with two FTII graduates competing to outwit the other for Kareena Kapoor’s Maya adoration. This little brotherly banter is a perfect level of tension that eventually finds footing with time as the plot escalates and the roles become more individualistic and portray why each character must take its stance. When Naren must suddenly find a way out, he takes an extreme step to counter Karan’s closing in on Maya. For the viewers, this particular step does not go down too well and seems flawed. While Naren is left to his numbers, somehow it seems like a hurried and abrupt end.
Nevertheless, while some have harsh things to say against the film, the film has a certain mettle and delivers in its story-telling ability (only because it’s a Japanese Mystery author). Even with a certain level of disjointedness and some crude and cheesy dialogues, the actors deliver fabulous performances giving us more hope that they will have a brighter future on the streaming platforms. This tells us that if given a chance, maybe there is more to explore if creativity and quality content are offered to them as well. All in all, not a surprising watch but a watch nonetheless.