Review: Jab Tak Hai Jaan (3.5/5)

Directed By: Yash Chopra
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Anupam Kher
Rating: 3.5/5

Yash Chopra always had a knack to define and redefine relationships, especially those of love. And his love stories have been winning hearts across generations, cultures and continents. When Yash Chopra recently left for his heavenly abode there was a wave of sadness and the wait for his last directorial venture got more uncontrollable. And finally Jab Tak Hai Jaan released on Diwali 2012 with a grand premiere, just the way Mr. Yash Chopra wanted.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ) is a love story, which tells the complexities associated with relationships in the contemporary world of the 21st century. JTHJ is Yash Chopra’s take on love in today’s time, and how it is perceived and practiced today. It is a commentary which tells about the grandness of love, the timelessness and the ever-powerful state of commitment and attachment which comes with the feeling of ‘ishq’ and how misinterpreted it has become today.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan is the story of Samar (Shahrukh Khan) who is “The man who cannot die”. The reason comes with a logic which you will understand when you watch the movie. He goes on diffusing bombs and catches attention of Akhira who is an intern with Discovery Channel. She gets her hands on the diary of Samar and discovers the story of his past. The flashback story goes to Samar in London who does odd-jobs like sweeping, shop-keeping, and singing songs in public to earn some money and survive in the big city. He meets the big city-rich girl Meera (Katrina Kaif) as he sings ‘Challa’ all around the city and they keep bumping into each other. Katrina gets engaged to an English guy and gets upset over it. There starts the friendship of Samar and Meera where give each other lessons in music and English respectively. The friendship slowly turns into love until Samar meets with an accident. Meera, being a religious lady, promises to God to forsake their relation in lieu of keeping Samar alive. Samar gets back to life. And Meera goes out. Samar feels cheated and shifts back to India joining the Indian Army. The story attracts Akhira and she plans to document the life of this man and she sees it as a successful break. During the process, she falls in love with the Army guy and then the story starts to get complex. A typical love triangle woven across two nations and generations is then explored with different degrees of love they are intertwined with. Meera returns into the life of Samar and the movie starts to reach its climax. And then it stretches.

Ever since the poster and promos of the movie came out, they all had “A Yash Chopra Romance” displayed prominently all over them. And it was much before the unfortunate demise of the legendary director. Then the movie boasted of 3 masters – Yash Chopra, Gulzar and A.R. Rahman – working to create a masterpiece. And then there was the King of Romance at the centre of these affairs. One was bound to get goose-bumps with this combo and the excitement level was hitting the roof. And that’s the problem with hype. Gulzar feels out-of-form in the lyrics and Rahman out of steam. Though some tracks like Challa, Heer and the title track along with the background score are good to ear. The pressure to succeed often gets on as a burden and that reflects on the end product. But the cinematography of this movie is superbly done. It still suits the popular belief that Yash Chopra’s movies are meant to be experienced on the big screen. A big hand to Anil Mehta for all the great work with the camera.

During the production of the movie, Yash Chopra was quoted as saying that he wants to make a movie in the language of the youth, which the people of today’s time can relate to and understand. Little did we know that it meant we will end up seeing SRK locking lips and sharing bed-scenes with Katrina with such open references being made to sex and English abuses being incorporated freely. Call me a regressive soul or conservative mind, but it was too hard to digest. Not because of the scenes but particularly because of the people associated with it. Yash Chopra. Shahrukh Khan. Love-making scenes. This is a difficult equation to imagine. Or, it was.
We believed all the romances which started with a hug and ended with a peck on the cheeks. Sweet and adorable it was. But anyway it was Yash Chopra’s way of connecting with the youth which disconnected me. I can still watch a Veer-Zaara hundred times. Emraan Hashmi I rarely do.

The movie also explores some of the trademark concepts of Yash Chopra movies like the superiority of love above all other beliefs and complete-dedication to a relationship even when the wait extends to years of isolation and loneliness. In fact, so closely it follows the usually treaded path that for some moments it feels like a rehashed version of Veer-Zaara served in a modern avatar.

On the basis of performances Shahrukh Khan has essayed the role perfectly handling both the generations with ease. The young, chirpy avatar clearly reminding of Kal Ho Naa Ho’s role and the tough, mean look reminiscent of Chak De! India. Katrina does justice to her part and suits the role of a London girl which might have been the reason she was chosen for the part. Anushka Sharma is as usual playing a bubbly happy-go-lucky girl and is fits into the flick like a charm. Anupam Kher has a brief role which I suspect might have been shortened out from a longer performance in the final release. Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor too play a pivotal part and are instrumental in bringing about a new twist to the story.All the roles are evenly distributed and exceptionally performed.

The movie which has a run-time of around 3-hours seems a bit sluggish for the story. The first half has the majority of the songs and the second half is rather intense. All in all it is a good movie, watchable, a simple plot in a twisted story line and above all a welcome breeze among the trend of South-Indian action remakes. Watch it for the Kings of Romance’s last collaboration, and their finesse in doing so.


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