Jaane Jaan: Ending Explained (In Detail)

What exactly happens in the Kareena Kapoor Khan-starrer when Naren confesses to the murder that started everything? How does Maya respond?
Jaane Jaan: Ending Explained (In Detail)

Sujoy Ghosh’s 2023 mystery Jaane Jaan is the umpteenth adaptation of Japanese novelist Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X (2005). Four films across different languages have officially drawn from the book before Jaane Jaan, and numerous others have been covert in adapting the material. For his part, Ghosh moves away from the metropolitan bustle of Tokyo, to the misty hills of Kalimpong in North Bengal, to begin with.

The Setup

Maya D’Souza (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is a single mother who lives with her daughter and operates a cafeteria. Her neighbour is Naren Vyas (Jaideep Ahlawat), a reclusive mathematics teacher who looks forward to meeting Maya when he buys lunch at the cafeteria every day. When there is a commotion in Maya’s house one evening, Naren arrives on the scene to find her standing over her dead husband, a crooked cop named Ajit Mhatre (Saurabh Sachdeva). Naren offers to help Maya in not only getting rid of the body but in covering up the crime too.

Soon, Karan Anand (Vijay Varma), a police officer searching for Mhatre, arrives on the scene. It turns out that Naren and Karan were classmates years ago. In the course of the investigation, Karan quickly zeroes in on Maya. When her alibi appears to be watertight, he seems willing to close the book on the matter till he learns that Naren nurses a crush on her, which Karan finds mysterious since he is under the impression that Naren barely knows Maya. Things get worse when Naren doesn’t have an alibi for the night in question, and the police finds potentially incriminating evidence against him.

Maya rushes over to Naren, insisting that she told Karan there was nothing romantic between the two of them. Naren, presumably devastated by the non-reciprocity of romantic interest, walks into the police station and owns up to killing Mhatre.

The Revelation

Naren argues that he committed the crime at Maya’s insistence, creating the perception that he is not mentally sound. Maya is brought in for interrogation as well. The narrative then cuts between the two sessions, with Naren asserting that Maya is a co-conspirator, and Maya producing evidence to contradict him. Naren casually admits to having stalked Maya, further distancing the two in Karan’s mind. Subsequently, a police team finds the murder weapon in Naren’s house, as well as more evidence to suggest how he carried out the murder and the disposal of the body. He is charged and placed in the lock-up, and Maya is allowed to leave. She asks to speak with him in private one last time, ostensibly to ascertain why he killed Mhatre.

Naren claims that she saved his life the day she moved in, as he was about to commit suicide due to the crippling depression caused by his failure to be the first to solve a legendary mathematics problem. Maya’s interruption stopped him from going through, and he chose to repay her kindness by taking the fall for her crime.

The Truth

A flashback then details how Naren saved Maya’s bacon: the first misdirection was to assert that the murder happened a day after it actually did, thus buying the duo time; the next day, while Maya and her daughter established a watertight alibi, Naren found a homeless man whom he dressed in Mhatre’s clothes and accessories before killing him and burning the body in a secluded area, taking particular care to disfigure the face and burn off the fingerprints.

The film deviates from the source material significantly in how it frames the unfolding of the investigation, and the climax is a complete reworking of the events of the book, in which the mother-daughter pair are too guilty to live a free life in the knowledge that someone has sacrificed their freedom for them, causing them to confess and surrender to the police, much to the titular Suspect’s dismay; in Jaane Jaan, instead, Naren fakes a brief episode of heightened mental illness while chatting with Maya for the last time, accusing her of being the murderer. A concerned Karan quickly escorts Maya from the premises, leaving Naren with a twenty-five-year sentence to work on another mathematics problem.

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