‘Jaane Jaan’ (2023), the new Netflix mystery thriller starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Jaideep Ahlawat, and Vijay Varma, is directed by Kahaani fame Sujoy Ghosh. An official adaptation of the famous novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ by Keigo Higashino, ‘Jaane Jaan’ lifts the entire story and tries to ground it into an Indian context. Since the story has been adapted half a dozen times, including serving as the skeleton of Jeethu Joseph’s Drishyam, it’s difficult to understand why another iteration was needed. While it is a fairly serviceable thriller, the film fails to leave a mark despite interesting turns from its lead actors.
However, it has its fair share of twists and turns, which can be confusing for a more casual audience. In the following article, I have tried to discuss the film, explaining what happens at the film’s end. The article contains spoilers; hence, read it at your discretion.
Jaane Jaan (2023) ‘Netflix’ Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
Maya D’Souza is a single mother living with her 14-year-old daughter, Tara, in Kalimpong. She runs a café called Tiffin and feels really whole in her life. Naren is an introverted math teacher at the local school, and people fondly call him “teacher.” Karan works in the Mumbai police with a very cheerful but unapologetic personality. The lives of these three characters intertwine when one of the police inspectors, Ajit, goes missing after his money laundering case. Karan is tasked with working on the missing case, and when Ajit’s last location points to Kalimpong, Karan arrives in the scenic town.
Who is Ajit, and what does he want from Maya?
Maya lives a very quiet life with her daughter, Tara, often keeping to themselves in their daily routines. However, when Ajit comes to see Maya at her café, we understand that the two share a tumultuous past. She asks him to leave and meet her at a secluded bar to avoid conflict at her workplace. Maya then meets him, and we learn that Ajit manipulated her into marrying him and sold her off to a local pub as a dancer. Now that Ajit knows that Tara is his daughter, Maya feels insecure because she is aware of his tactics and intentions to disrupt her peaceful life.
Later in the night, Ajit comes unannounced, knocking at their door while the mother and daughter are together. Maya asks Tara to hide and goes to confront him. However, he manages to enter and tries to gaslight her into doing what he wishes. Maya has had enough of him in her life. Annoyed by his demeaning behavior, she offers him whatever money she has and asks him to leave – even promising to pay him every month to avoid any interaction among them.
However, Ajit has plans of his own and intends to stay and spend time with his daughter, blackmailing Maya to take her away the same way he did to her. When he starts to misbehave with Maya, Tara intervenes and hits him with an immersion water heater rod, which makes Ajit furious. In a rage, he raises his hand on Tara, causing Maya to lose her calm, and in self-defense, the two women mistakenly end up killing him. While Maya is shocked and says she will come clean to the police, Tara is afraid of being separated from her mother.
Why does Naren help Maya?
Before we delve further into the story, it is essential to understand how Naren comes into the picture. He has a deep fondness for Maya. His apartment shares a wall with her house, but he claims to have come to the conclusion that there is a dead body by doing basic maths. He steps up to offer his help when he finds them helpless.
Upon entering their house, he examines everything and swiftly takes charge of the situation, instructing Maya with details to take care of. While Maya suggests she should tell everything to the police, Naren explains to her the cons of the entire situation and how it can affect her daughter and now him as well. Instead, he suggests Maya and Tara should keep it low but continue with their lives as if nothing happened. He further gives them instructions about how, from now on, they will have a different narrative of everything, including the death of Ajit.
Why is Maya Karan’s only suspect?
The following day, while Karan tries to find the area where Ajit’s phone had transmitted the last signal, he becomes hungry and lands up at Maya’s Tiffin. He shows Ajit’s photo to Maya as a routine job, but she casually refuses to know him. When Naren visits the café for his usual takeout order, Karan recognizes him, and we learn the two were classmates back in their college days. Later, when Karan learns Ajit’s phone signal was last found somewhere near Maya’s house, he follows her and keeps track of her daughter.
The police, in the meantime, find a burnt body with a face completely smashed into a pulp so no one can identify it. However, Karan finds Ajit’s ID card in the pile of half-burnt clothes beside the body and immediately sends it for postmortem. After matching a chunk of hair strands from the comb found in the hotel room Ajit was staying in, the pathologist confirms Ajit’s death took place on the 10th. Meanwhile, when Naren sees that Maya is susceptible to the police investigation, he calls her from a pay phone and warns her about presenting a narrative that will keep the police away.
However, Karan’s suspicion of Maya becomes more apparent when, after questioning her, he learns that Ajit did meet Maya. He then interrogates her whereabouts on the 10th, and she tells him a detailed itinerary of the day, including going to a movie – Pets 2 with Tara, and then having dinner at a restaurant followed by a brief visit to the karaoke bar. While Karan keeps his eyes on Maya, the only suspect in Ajit’s death, all his efforts and investigation go in vain when all the evidence repeatedly points to Maya’s innocence. When the forensic confirms that the weapon used to kill Ajit is a heater rod that doesn’t match the one found in Maya’s house, Karan decides to work on the matter from Mumbai.
Why does Karan suspect Naren?
Right before he is about to close the case in Kalimpong, he finds out from Tiffin’s employee that Naren is a usual customer with a huge crush on Maya, contrary to his claim of only visiting her occasionally. It leads Karan to run through Naren’s movement on the 10th. He learns that in his tenure as a school teacher, it was the first time he had taken a day off from school, leading him to believe there is a new suspect in the case. When Karan confronts Naren about the day off, he reveals that he took off since he wasn’t feeling well and was upset after discovering that someone else had solved the math equation he had been working on for almost a decade.
Jaane Jaan (2023) ‘Netflix’ Movie Ending Explained:
What does Naren confess to the police?
Realizing that Karan would eventually get his equation right about finding Ajit’s murderer, and Maya doesn’t feel romantically inclined to him, Naren decides to take things one step further. He goes to the police station and confesses that he killed Ajit.
Karan is stunned to see Naren come up with this narrative, but soon, things take a different turn as Naren starts to reveal his side of the story. He claims to the police that he is Maya’s bodyguard, and she would often tell him details about her life. They even made sure never to interact in public to avoid any attention. He further added that Maya would talk to her daughter, and he would listen closely from the hole the two neighbors shared in the wall of their apartment.
It is when he learns that Ajit, Maya’s husband, had followed her to the apartment on the 10th night with dubious intentions. Naren had taken Ajit to the mountains around the monastery and killed him with his heater rod to protect Maya. He even describes how he burned the body to eliminate the evidence that made Karan think that Naren is the culprit, who can only explain the gritty details of the murder since he killed Ajit. During cross-examination, all the alibis for Maya continue to prove her innocence, and Naren has nothing to prove as evidence except for the details of the murder that make Karan point him as the murderer.
Why did Naren surrender himself to the police?
Ever since Naren realized that Karan would do everything he could to prove Maya the culprit, he had to devise a plan to weigh towards Maya’s innocence. He had to make a believable story, so he had to first change the date of Ajit’s death, which was on the 9th and not the 10th.
Right after Ajit’s death, Naren helped Maya hide the body and implanted a decoy dead body in the mountain to lure the police. It turns out that he took a homeless man to Ajit’s hotel and offered him food and a bath so he could plant evidence all over the room with the man’s DNA that would match the body found in the mountain after killing him.
He then leaves Ajit’s ID on the pile of burnt clothes so the police can take the body as Ajit’s. In the meantime, Maya has an entire day to plan her evidence by following his instructions of going to the movies with Tara, having dinner, and visiting a karaoke bar that will work as her alibi. The plan obviously works because Karan believes Ajit’s murder occurred on the 10th, preventing Maya from Karan’s allegations and proving Naren as the murderer.
What made Naren go all this length to prove Maya’s innocence?
Before leaving the station after her interrogation, Maya requests Karan to allow her to speak to Naren to understand the why behind all this. In one of the film’s initial shots, we see Maya knocking on Naren’s door, asking for a plumber’s contact when he is contemplating taking his own life because of wasting years of his life to solve a math problem that someone was able to do only two days before him. Her knock at the door somehow saved him, and he felt like his life was indebted to her.
Naren’s heart was broken when he realized that she had not disclosed all the details when Maya and Karan visited the karaoke bar; he felt betrayed. However, despite how he looked, her unchanged kindness and empathy towards him made him forgive her instantly, especially when she was the reason he stopped himself from committing suicide. Since she saved his life, he wanted Maya and Tara to lead the life they deserved, so he offered his help. The ending of Jaane Jaan (2023) shows Naren in jail with the walls of his cell covered with Mathematics solution. He claims to be happy because he is now alone with his first love, i.e., Mathematics – a love that would not break his heart.