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Koi Jaane Na review: Uneven but engaging

Amin Hajee’s psychological thriller moves at an uneven pace but a gripping climax makes it worth a watch

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Koi Jaane Na

Koi Jaane Na

Writer-Director: Amin Hajee

Cast: Kunal Kapoor, Amyra Dastur

Released in cinemas.

Thrillers of any type sustain on the hook point or the big reveal. If you don’t get the big reveal right, the build-up doesn’t hold any value. On the other hand there are thrillers which have an unthinkable twist in the end but the journey leading up to that twist can test your patience. Amin Hajee’s feature directorial debut Koi Jaane Na falls into the second category.

Koi Jaane Na is set in Panchgani, a small hill station in Maharashtra. It revolves around Kabir Kapoor (Kunal Kapoor), a motivational author who is struggling to complete a sequel to a book as well as dealing with a divorce. His ex-wife is now with the publisher and has looted everything from Kabir. Kabir also writes Hindi pulp fiction crime novels as a ghost writer under the name Zaraan Khan.

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Two murders take place in the small hill station of Panchgani and Kabir is the prime suspect. Because these two people, for A, were spying on Kabir and his new girlfriend. And B, they have been murdered as it happens in Kabir aka Zaraan’s crime novels. He admits that he tries to live the lives of the characters and then writes his stories. That’s how and why readers find his characters relatable. But insists that he hasn’t murdered anyone.

Kabir also says that there are two people within all of us – a decent and a devil. The devil makes interesting stories. But in the film, Kabir’s Zaraan only remains on the surface level and towards the end seems to be completely ignored. Kunal Kapoor as Kabir looks the part but the actor seems to have lost the touch with acting. His struggle shows in certain scenes. His alter ego Zaraan doesn’t quite reach out to the viewer which is a storytelling tool wasted.

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Amyra Dastur as Suhana, a girl Kabir meets en route to Panchgani, is chirpy and cheerful. She is also dealing with the nightmares of her traumatic past. They become a couple. Two incomplete people try to complete each other – that kind of a thing. There are supporting characters in Ashwini Kalsekar as a cop, Neha Mahajan as a caretaker, Amin Hajee as a detective cum journalist who provides some comic relief.

The treatment is like a graphic novel. But Arun Prasad’s cinematography is a disappointment. The camera is mostly handheld to give that edginess to the film. But certain aerial shots look blurry and shaky which don’t seem to be intended to be done that way.

Hajee’s writing produces some spark but is uneven for most of the first half. The use of filmy style Hindi rhyming dialogues are funny. The film is produced by T-Series so there are a number of songs in it, including one featuring Aamir Khan and Elli Avrram.

Watch the trailer of Koi Jaane Na here:

There’s a genuine intent here to make a different psychological thriller. But Koi Jaane Na takes a long route to get to the point. The first half of the film struggles to find a rhythm. The film picks up pace and gets grip in the second half. Thrillers have an advantage over any other genre of movies. If you have generated at least some curiosity among the viewers, they are willing to sit through those two hours to see what happens eventually – how it unfolds. You can leave comedy, romance, or drama midway. In thrillers you want to know the end.

That’s what kept me invested in the film. The end was rewarding, so much that it felt like the real film should have started at this point. The journey leading up to that point can test someone’s patience but Koi Jaane Na is a decent one time watch. The film is released in cinemas. If you’re planning to watch it in cinemas, don’t forget to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

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