Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Movie Review

There are two views this movie can be reviewed – one as a Shah Rukh Khan fan and one as a Yash Chopra fan. Ofcourse there are other views like Shah Rukh Khan hate fan  – but for now we will leave that aside.I for one,went to watch this movie from a  Yash Copra fan standpoint.

So lets go through the Yash Chopra movie check list –

  1. Love – Yes
  2. Emotion – Yes
  3. Drama- Yes
  4. Comedy – hmm not much in this case.
  5. Sweet nothing moments — Yes
  6. Inconsequential Dance sequence — Yes
  7. Uber Rich people  -Yes
  8. Switzerland – No
  9. Punjab- Yes
  10. Great Songs – No

So as you can see from the above,if you are a YC fan then you might end up liking the movie.There are more Yeses than the No’s. Needless to say please keep logic,rationale and common sense aside for a bit and just indulge in love.This movie has to be watched with a bit of patience, tolerance and you will see its not that bad afterall.

The Plot – well I guess there was one main plot and multiple sub plots. The main plot was that of the protagonist leading a dangerous life of a bomb diffusion expert , la Hurt Locker style, which is believable.He choses this role because of a quirk his lady love has – ok let me rephrase, superstition or belief his love has which proves Newtons law of every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So if you get something then you have to give something away.Talk about cosmic balance!

But still plausible since we do come across such characters in real life who base their entire existence on some childhood belief whether or not logic supported that thought.So that sums up Katrina‘s first half performance and in some sense the trigger point of the story.Because of this cause ,there had to be an effect and SRK goes off to India from London to join the Indian army at roughly age 44   oops I mean 24. How that happens SRK alone knows.Woes.The lean mean Fauji look goes well with SRK.But the best part was he had less dialogues, so less hamming.He tried to deliver an understated intense performance.And I must admit he did succeed to a large extent.Somehow I felt that look would have gone down well with someone like Arjun Rampal…but who cares.

The other end of the stick or cosmic balance brings us face to face with Akira Rai a.k.aAnushka mini shorts Sharma.Cameron Diaz in the bikini shot in Charlie’s Angels ,like flat washboard abs , broad smile and not much else to write home about.Her character had shades of Sridevi in Lamhe ( younger  one) so one expected an Anupam Kher like cameo from someone,but that was not to be.Three army jawans were the only characters who held the comedy banner flying through the movie.Imagine them protecting our borders from beautiful Pakistani women or hot Chinese babes!

SRK has a roomie from Lahore in Pakistan.A common occurrence in England and in the US where Indians and Pakistanis live together happily ever after and share a laugh about the politics and a tear about the past.So YC did his bit for Aman Ki Asha.The character actor did a good job in the limited scope he had in front of the screen giant SRK.Anupam Kher had a blink and you’ll miss kind of a role.Yet his character’s impact on the storyline was huge, because the heroine Katrina decides the fate of this movie,her love,his annoyance,Anushka’s bewilderment based on protecting her fathers sentiments.Which also had a mix of its own love triangle where his wife Neetu Singh elopes when she finds love with Rishi Kapoor after about 14 years of marriage,since she leaves daughter Katrina when she was 12 yrs old.Gold!

So to sum up first half for you : some songs,some comedy,lot of chance encounters and a lot of romance and about 15 odd kisses for Katrina two or three of them were on her lips.So the average Lech yelped with joy.Somewhere in some interview I can hear miss hot Kat saying well the “script demanded it”  and we are “professionals and doing a job” kind of one liner retort to journos asking how could you do that question. Well no ones complaining really. In fact the script demanded they had hot intense love making sequence but alas that never happened.Saddened!

Special mention for Vaibhavi Merchant who is choreographer in chief.She does an amazing job with Katrina in a typical UK underground steet music scene. The dance sequence was uber cool with SRK barely managing to put up with hot Kat.Thought this was inspired by some of those hollywood dance movies.But fulll credit to the way miss hot Kat pulled it off.Some of the fellow front benchers were seen shouting “paisa wasool”  ( ROI ).remember Karisma’s dance yoga in Dil toh Pagal hai or  Sridevis dance scene in Lamhe? So this  carries on the YC tradition.

The second half has more drama, some unbelievable military clearances,right up to 350 meters of a potential detonation zone,Discovery Channel Nat geo moments and eco tourism thrown in big measure.Oh and not to forget a lot of coincidence and destiny scenes.There were a lot of faux pas moments (a.k.a kelo moments) where in one sequence miss hot pants Anushka says to her nemesis miss hot Kat that “please dont stop yourself from having sex because of me” and hot Kat replies, well dont flatter yourself babe- its not you – its me who doesnt want it. (Well that was the gist  and not the literal dialogue) Likewise there were at least a couple more -aha-ha moments through the movie.Groovy!

Reminding me of erstwhile Manmohan Desai flicks where one photo would crash on to the hero’s head and he loses it and then sometime later a temple bell or a gong  would bring it all back.Khatak!.Well our hero SRK does a modernised version of that.Picture this : a terror alert in a  London metro, police cordon off the area security is super tight,a bomb disposal squad, inspect a potentially explosive situation, but forget to move or shove out SRK from the scene.Somehow he manages to  not only get his memory back in time to diffuse the bomb but also remembers the entire sequencing of deconstructing a circuit.Talk about flash memory.Karigari!

So our hero snaps out of retrograde amnesia just in time.Now we have a golmaal situation.The heroines dont know that he s back, so they keep playing the role.Goal! But mercifully someone sees sense in the anomaly and quickly moves the narrative forward.After some who-can-act-better sequences between miss hot Kat and and miss hot pants and some twists,evenly fought subtle battle, miss hot pants backs off with a Cheshire cat grin.We re supposed to feel hurt.We dont.

In the climax,predictable,we have a super security clearance, this time for sedate miss hot Kat, to be in a classified millitary area that too in a dangerous  bomb explosion zone,now in a Mohabbatein clad white salwar kamiz.Love triumphs after 107 diffused bombs.Aplomb!

So my analysis of the movie is simple : just go there and enjoy the anomalies and follies and dont try to slice and dice it so much,because if you do,then you will find a lot of gaping script holes.But if you overlook that, then you will see some sweet moments,some good photography,one good song,a better actor SRK (after Swadesh)a slightly plump Katrina and a fun chutzpah filled Anushka.But mostly you will remember this movie because Yash Chopra made it,the eternal lover he was and the nostalgia associated with him. Magical movies like Trishul,Deewar,Chandni,Lamhe really underscore his class.So please go watch this movie no matter what and if nothing else but a sense of gratitude for the man who gave us such joy over so many years. I stood up and clapped at the end of the credit sequence.

I am going to go with two ratings one for the YC fan and SRK fan combined, and one for the reality check fan who viewed the movie comparing it some hollywood love stories and some great Indian cinema love stories over the years. The YC fan club guy would rate this at 4 on 5 and the reality check ,down to earth,call spade a spade kind of a guy – 2 on 5.So you know where you fit in while you watch this movie.

3 thoughts on “Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Movie Review

  1. Sir, came across this while reading the REDS review. First and foremost I agree with you, slicing and dicing the story will lead to a lot of flaws and unrealistic timelines (like the Ultrabook ad in the subway – maybe Intel and Samsung had it in the making for the last 10 years….LOL!!!).

    Jab Tak Hain Jaan is a good watch. I liked it, not because of SRK but because of the idea, that people still make good movies in India. Unfortunately with Yash Chopra’s demise, I doubt anyone will try their hand on romantic movies anymore…..its either blood, gore or mindless comedy on one side………or directorial attempts at shock therapy (through archaic formulas like sex and violence) with a make belief perception of so called “modern film”. Sadly enough, Yash Chopra’s dealth equals dealth of romace in Bollywood. No “so called famous” director would attempt this since it doesn’t sell anymore. Unfortunately, I am shocked to see how audiences have changed as well. There was a bong girl sitting infront of me along with her family watching the movie. She comes out and trashes SRK for overacting, felt Katrina was useless and Anushka was over the top. This is probably one of SRK’s best performances, Katrina showed she can act and Anushka mesmerized with her talent. But Alas….who cares!!! The same audience probably felt Ek Tha Tiger and Bodyguard deserve oscars. Bollywood has gone to a level, where romantic and thought provoking creators like Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali are trying their hand with creations like Agneepath and Rowdy Rathore………Need I say anymore.

    To Summarize my comment, I liked your review. It was blatent at times which features your pragmatism concerning the movie. On the other hand it portrays the Bengali romatique in you, who has grown up and enjoyed watching movies like these. (Not sure if you have seen Uttam Kumar’s Harano Sur. The plot might be different, but it gave me the same feel while watching the movie.)I have heard and read lot of negative reviews about this movie in the last few days (not the ones in websites or news channels), which prompted me to gather enough courage and finally watch it myself (honestly, I am horrified by the idea of sitting through a movie for 3 hours, especially after watching masterpieces like Bodyguard and Ek Tha Tiger. So Called Ultra modern movies like Cocktail works like an instant sleeping pill for me as well). I liked it and cudos to you for a good review.

    • Thanks for the comment Ben.

      I dont think hope is lost form a Romantic movie making standpoint, but yes from a presentation standpoint possibly,because YC was quite ahead of his times in most of his movies.Think about Trishul – a real estate/corporate politics drama made in the seventies – and if you were to plot it even today – it would still be relevant.Think Lamhe – beuatifully done,picturised and sensitive romantic movie – much msunderstood by the masses but YC claimed it to be one of his finest efforts.His story-telling abilities were truly majestic.

      Having said that,there are the new age directors who in my books have shown good potential for drama,underlying romance and original presentation style.Anurag Kashyap,Zohya Akhtar,Farhan Akhtar to a certain extent, Mani Ratnam,Anurag Basu and some more have made decent movies and have the potential to graduate into better presentation,style and story telling over the years.

      A motion pitcure is a collective effort,much like Cricket – where you can partly blame the captain for the poor show – but not entirely. Likewise there are so many departments right from pre-production to post production which add to the texture,feel,pace,impact of the movie that resting credit or discredit to the director alone is a touch unfair. We need to good stories, and then story tellers. And this is just begining to thrive in the Indian film industry.You see the very essense of making an Indian movie was to earn livelihood not art ( for a large part) but with improving economic conditions slowly you are seeing a crop of artistes who are making a film for its art for the story it has to tell not to just think about making making money. ( I mean its good it if it does certainly) But the primary objetive is different.

      Therefore you will see better stories being told, more experiments being done and a gradual, running behind trees, will lessen.Having aid that, one of the reasons other film industries over the world have not been as successful because they tried to better or match what Hollywood did – while the Indian film industry managed to sustain what it has – sureality.And In this day and age of gloom and doom in most part of the world – a movie which escapes from reality resonates with a lot of people.Soon you might see Hollywood gravitating towards Bollywood-esq themes,stories adn presentation…and might even introduce songs. So we come a full circle.isnt it?

      In conclusion,I’d sumbit that yes there is scope for some sense of rationalization for the movies we make,but let us also not loose the charm of surreality,and chance, and coincidence and improable love to the harsh realities of life.Lets keep dreaming…

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