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CAST: Prashant, Aishwarya Rai, Laxmi
Director: Shankar

"I expected better of you," said the disapproving audience.  It was Shankar's first opportunity to create a pair of stylish, comfortable jeans.  Armed with an almost unending budget, the man with the midas touch had set out to replicate the world renowned Levi's label.  What he ended up producing is at best of Lebi's quality.   The uninformed consumer may initially palate it, but one sure cannot make a lasting impression with a pair of Lebi's No-No-Ones on.  Jeans' basic plot line is that of a disapproving father in the path of love.  Rajamani (Nasser) is an "estranged" from his brother twin, who himself has two twin sons (Prashant).  The naive, NRI father  wants his offspring to marry only twin girls due to the circumstances which caused him to separate from his own brother.   Through a series of completely implausible events (implausible because all of them happen in tandem with one another), one of the twin sons falls in love with Madhumita (Aishwarya),   who has come to the USA for her grandma's (Lakshmi) brain tumour operation.  Pre-interval the precedings are mostly idiotic.  Post-interval there are some enjoyable sequences, but only because of Lakshmi and the rest of the supporting cast.  The basic problem with the film is a lack of soul.  It's that important quality which is hard to define, but omnipresent in a good picture.  Jeans does not know whether it is a romantic saga, a medical drama, a rib-tickling comedy or a family melodrama.  The genre police declare it a mess.  There are a few creditable qualities though.  First, there is the witty title, a synonym for the genes the film is meant to refer to.  Second, very good performances from Nasser, Lakshmi and Radhika, the seniors in the picture.  Too bad the same cannot be said for the lead performers.  Prashant lacks charisma.  And Aishwarya, though ethereally beautiful and a graceful dancer, has a jarring kiddish voice;   a liability as it is hard to take her seriously in dramatic scenes.  Lastly, there are intermittent spurts of technical finesse in the areas special effects, camera work and background score.  Considering the technicians, this is really an insult.  For the first time in his career, Rahman's background score for a movie, does not always suit the mood of the scenes.  He needs to pull up his socks, especially when a fan of his, such as myself, feels his music in a movie is repetitive.   The special effects are competent, but not as good as last week's release Duplicate.  And the stealing of the Jurassic Park T-Rex for the idiotic ending of the movie, is liable to a copyright infringement case. After 1996's Hindustani (India's answer to Superman), one expected far better from Shankar.  Technical gloss is great of course, but the audience expects more.  Its scary that the budget for India's most expensive film does not translate to a higher quality product on-screen.  Shankar provides Jeans as India's answer to Waterworld.  Not a total disaster, but who will remember it a couple of months down the road?

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