Movie Review::Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar(1992)

Do you remember those days when vacations were all about having your cousins under one roof? Card games running through the noon, evenings spent at the “chat thelas” where it was all about gulping your favorite pani puris and managing their count. And all of this would end with one super duper movie post dinner. And among these there would be one such movie which is so special that even after a span of 20+ years makes you write a blog  while sipping a hot cup of coffee on a Sunday. Jo Jeet Wohi Sikandar(Only He Who Wins Is The King) released in May, 1992 certainly has to be one such movie which most of my generation can affirm to be the best high school drama ever. With a backdrop of a inter collegiate annual sports event, the movie’s influence of its four iconic characters is unmistakable in the characterization of Aamir Khan, Deepak Tijori, Ayesha Jhulka and Pooja Bedi as they play a utterly lovable Archie Andrews, cocky lad Reggie Mantle, golden-hearted Betty Cooper and the hot ‘n’ haughty Veronica Lodge respectively. Apart from these characters, even the world they live in, circa of schools; the proficient Xavier, arrogant Rajputs, oomph filled Queens and yes low lying Model just add to the perfect setting. Every scene of the movie is something that we can glimpse from our school days. The “vellapanti” wanderings, doing everything possible to impress your crush which includes pushing in a lie or two, fights with rivals, arguments with friends and ofcourse running a rebellion at home. Even the banners and slogans, some of those which sound like “Veer Bahadur Ladke Kaun; Rajput! Rajput!” are quite reminiscing. Add to this the story is also legacy prone. Sanjay(Aamir) and Mamik(Ratan) play two completely opposite sons of Ram Lal (Kulbhushan Karbanda). Ramlal wants Ratan  to win the Inter Collegiate Sports Championship which was won by him who was a Model alumnus himself. It has been many many years since another Model student picked up that trophy and Ratan is his best bet. Sanjay on the other hand is busy dreaming about scoring with mini skirt clad Queen’s college girls. He indeed gets that chance when he impresses Devika(Pooja Bedi) by telling her that he is the only son of the wealthiest person in Darjeeling. Sanjay’s good for nothing friends group also has Anjali(Ayesha Jhulka) who likes him secretly and helps him in all his cover ups. All hell breaks lose for Sanjay when his lies are exposed and he loses both a dance competition and Devika. In a clash with Shekhar and gang, an accident proves near fatal for Ratan and proves to be an eye opener for Sanjay. Rest of the story is more coming of age of Sanjay and the brilliantly shot cycle race. Music of JJWS continues to have an impact even now. Pehla Nasha superbly rendered by Udit Narayan and Sadhana Sargam is the best of the collection. Infact there is a song for every mood- Yahan Ke Hum Sikdandar(showing off), Arre Yaaron(dance competition), Roothkar Humse Kabhi(sad). I can easily say that this ranks among Jatin Lalit’s best works. Now the performances…For Aamir who could so easily a play a college boy in 3 Idiots, when infact he was in his 40’s; this is a cakewalk. But what is most important that he displays each of the emotions he is expected to with the same honesty. Ayesha Jhulka does exactly what she is expected to. Play the best friend/good girl role with lot of conviction. Ofcourse who can forget her infectious smile when she sings “Chaahein Tum Kuch Na Kaho, Maine Sun Liya”. Pooja Bedi and Deepak Tijori actually have the toughest roles to be played. To be consistent with the “I am rich and win everything” demeanor. And yes they do justice to their roles. Thank you Mansoor Kharn for giving us this movie! This is your BEST work ever!! And yes please come back to movie making soon. In all JJWS’s strength lies in its understanding of school time yearnings and misunderstood angst that constitutes teenage years and the lifelong lessons it imparts, which can be looked back with a sense of accomplishment and pride if you discover the inner Sikandar in time. All you have to do is simply change the gear!! -Ashwath

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