8 years of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: For a 20 something, here’s how Bunny, Naina, Aditi and Avi influenced us
I remember first watching Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in the theatres and being enamoured by the movie, the star cast, the picturesque locations, and Naina-Bunny’s chemistry. Deepika Padukone became my instant girl crush as Naina while Ranbir Kapoor as Bunny brought out wishful desires to foray while Aditya Roy Kapur as Avi and Kalki Koechlin as Aditi showed us true friendship. At 20 something, as an introvert, to think of a trip with friends was a far-fetched thought, especially in an Indian household. But, I will speak on behalf of most of us millennials who were struggling to find their foot between what they want to do VS what was expected out of them, the film influences us in more ways than one.
To begin with, most of us who were contemplating taking that first trip with friends, took it, finally. I know I did. Naina inspired us to take that first step, even if it meant going against your well-wishers. It is important to take some decisions for yourself and take that breather sometimes. Naina made us understand how there is a whole wide world out there if we only move our gaze. Scholar Naina helped you understand that there is no point regretting life and how important it is to take that first step. It is liberating, amazing, and brings you closer to your true self. These are moments of self-reflection, allowing us time with ourselves, where we confront our insecurities and identify our strengths. The trip changed Naina for the better. To us, while we might have not experienced a 180-degree change in our lives, it was certainly the beginning of a shift in attitude.
For me, Naina’s strength was in her grit and acceptance of herself in the latter half. She healed from heartbreak showing many millennials that nothing is permanent, not even hurt. Naina, to me, is the epitome of strength. Letting go is never easy but she showed us sometimes that is the right thing to do.
Ranbir Kapoor as Bunny was charismatic, bold, fearless yet notoriously selfish and unarming. He was aspirational and did not give up on his dreams, even if that meant upsetting his close friends. He knew what he wanted and did not fear striving hard for it. Bunny taught us to dream big and be hopeful yet hopeless at the same time. He inspired us to take that risky job we were conflicted about, to fight for our dreams and work hard for it. At 20 something, when we dabbled with self-doubts, fears, body image issues, he showed us that ‘we need to stop pitying ourselves and instead embrace our imperfections.’
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Bunny showed us that nothing is impossible and when the opportunity knocks at your doors, take it. But that’s not all. He also showed us while he is stubborn and selfish about his dreams, one can always find ways to make it work. One doesn’t need to give up on their dreams for love, they can co-exist. The climax of the movie makes you hopelessly fall for Bunny and Naina while leaving you hopeful that ‘everything is possible’. It is all about taking a chance.
My next best character is Aditi. She is smart, naive, beautiful, and tomboyish. She was the only one which glued the set of friends together. Her honesty wins you over. Aditi teaches us to give love a second chance. For most of our adolescent age, millennials have been caught between this never-ending loop of falling in and out of love. She tells us not all unrequited love has to end in an ugly way. Aditi teaches us friendship like no one else.
Avi, on the other hand, is that attention-seeking friend who gets upset when we don’t behave they want us to but is also our biggest cheerleader. Avi is sentimental, vulnerable, and sometimes stupid and that is what is endearing about it. It is okay to feel lost and defeated like Avi but it is never too late to start over. That’s what Avi tells us.
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Each character, each arch in this movie is an underlying lesson on self-love, acceptance and dreams and this is the very reason why YJHD will always be my dal-chawal-till-you-die kinda film.