Jahaan Chaar Yaar Review: There aren't many movies depicting a group of ladies in their 35s going on a vacation together. Producer Vinod Bachchan and director Kamal Pandey explore this unknown territory to different degrees of success.
It is as obvious as an overly sunny day that Swara Bhaskar's Shivangi, Meher Vij's Mansi, Shikha Talsania's Neha, and Pooja Chopra's Sakina are wretchedly unhappy and the great complainers in the casino of life. One of them has to work nonstop to satisfy her in-laws, and Swara does so with wonderful assurance as she assumes the character of the wife who fears her husband.
Shikha Talsania, another, hasn't had sex with her husband in two years. A third woman, the token Muslim present, is tired of her husband making threats to execute a Triple Talaaq on her, despite the fact that a politically astute elder nearby points out that it is forbidden.
When the women band together for a holiday to Goa, most of what occurs in Jahan Chaar Yaar is unlawful because they have nothing to lose but their chayan, equilibrium. They invite an Australian stranger (an Indian actor with peroxided hair who is performing a cheesy impression of Saif Ali Khan in Go Goa Gone) into their hotel room for a night of immoral bliss that defies all morals and rationality.
If you can accept the notion of four repressed middle-class women fawning over an "Australian" traveler in the seclusion of their hotel (who could be anything from a drug dealer to a hired killer to Saif's long-lost twin), then maybe everything that happens afterward will make sense.
The role of Swara Bhaskar, a mistreated and exploited housewife bursting with guilt for even a moment to herself, is the best written of the four characters. It's interesting to watch Swara completely reevaluate her position after she supported a self-pleasuring device in Veere De Wedding.
The constable Madhukar Rane, portrayed by the ever-reliable Girish Kulkarni, who is actually able to give his character a graph from smirking sexism to a flickering gender empathy, is another well-written character in this not unlikable narrative of four bewildered women biting into more than they could chew.
The movie Jahan Chaar Yaar isn't painful to see. The gender declaration, though, doesn't seem to be going in the direction it wants to. It is Goa. The movie then devolves into a perplexing riddle, leaving the four (on paper) fearsome ladies as perplexed as the audience.