Yash Chopra, a pre-eminent filmmaker who brought so much color and happiness on screen with his imagination and tales that touched the depths of the lover’s hearts, left us on 2012. I am a big fan of Yashji’s work, notably Veer-Zaara, Kabhie Kabhie, Darr etc. When I came to know of this film which starred my favorite cast with A.R Rahman’s soundtrack, as any typical fan, I was very excited. Not to mention, SRK’s best films are with Yash Chopra-Aditya Chopra. It was very difficult for me to get the tickets, thanks to the hyper fanbase and box office rate prompted this movie to leaves the theaters earlier than expected. So I had to wait till the movie came out in Blu-ray. Before this movie, I watched two really ludicrous films by SRK; Ra.One and Don 2. While reviews were extremely harsh, I kind of appreciated his attempts to do something different. Eventually, I watched jab tak hai jaan, the movie was so disappointing that I, a die-hard fan of SRK showed cold-shoulder as the harsh film critic took over the fan in me. The plot is predictable, the theme is silly, the lead heroine Meera is selfish and imbecile and the film is more of a copy of fragments from Yashji’s previous works. This could not be a perfect farewell for Yash Chopra.
The beginning of this film is grand, Samar says a poem about love backed by a powerful theme music composed by the maestro of music A.R Rahman. This quality is unfortunately not there on the theme of the film. Indian films (in general) have the tendency to show a man’s life in rips and tears with a woman being the catalyzing factor behind it. Jab tak hai jaan has a similar backstory. Major Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) is a tough and daring soldier who does not wear a bomb suit while diffusing. He always succeeds in doing it and because of which he is termed as the man who cannot die. He is depressed and keeps on shoving all the pleasures away. Akira (Anushka Sharma), an aspiring filmmaker, comes across his diary which she got from his coat which he gave her after rescuing her from drowning. In his diary, he reveals a version of himself, a friendly and happy person who falls in love with Meera (Katrina Kaif). Break up with her makes him the dispirited person he is and Akira is moved to tears. Meera is a god-fearing person and she prays for her benefits as she does it, she makes a sacrifice in return. This is her belief. She and Samar fall in love with each other. Samar makes an indecent proposal, indecent because SRK kissed for the first on-screen.
She then tells him that she cannot go against her father’s wishes as she was abandoned by her mother who eloped with her lover when she was very young age. She makes him promise (against his will) before Jesus Christ where she prays that god can punish them in any brutal manner if they break their promise and cross the lines of friendship. And they break up cordially.
Then, Meera receives a message from her mother Pooja (Neetu Singh). They meet and reconcile, along with the presents she gives her a free advice “If you are not with the person you love, you will never be happy“. For Meera, this monolog in a way justified her mother’s decision to abandon her husband and daughter to be with the man she loved (Rish Kapoor). Does it actually justify? Meera’s father Mr Thapar (Anupam Kher) remained unmarried and he dedicated his life and time to raising his daughter. He is not brutal or abusive, so Pooja’s decision to leave is seemingly more selfish. Maybe this is their (Bollywood’s) indirect message against arranged marriages but love marriage also does not work just like that does it? This inspires Meera to move on with Samar (he tries to remind her of her promise) and she… kisses him again.
I am all for on-screen kisses, India is the land of Kamasutra so not having on-screen kissing will be rather surprising and I believe that it will add extra sparks for the romance especially if it is done well. The kissing in this movie is terribly shot and unnecessary. I was shocked while watching the movie and pissed off. SRK just ruined his image as the king of romance who never had to kiss his heroines on-screen. SRK is the king of romance and the peculiarity of his work is his ability to transcend to the audience without the need for kissing or lovemaking scenes. He could do it with his eyes. In this movie, SRK broke the decades-long decision and kissed Katrina, with whom he had absolutely no chemistry whatsoever, several times. Why?
Anyway, they continue with their romance until one day, Samar meets with a car accident and she prays for his recovery, how? By vowing never to meet him again. She prayed for life by sacrificing her relationship with him. She tells that to his face and this infuriates Samar to the core. He vows before Jesus Christ that he will put himself in danger and try to prove that he won’t be defeated before god. Congrats Meera you just created a suicidal maniac. Like I have mentioned earlier, this movie follows the typical theme on how a woman destroys a man’s happiness and cheerfulness. Usually, I would classify such themes under misogynist contexts as it gives a wrong perception about feminity to the already patriarchal society, but in this movie’s case, I can’t blame it. Meera is more imbecile and selfish, and one will feel like slapping her several times. And the theme is not romantic, it is just stupid. I have had enough halfway and seriously was tempted to switch the movie off but then watched it hoping for a better story arc. I have to credit Anushka Sharma’s performance for making the next 40% of the film likable. She seemed over-the-top but her character is fantastic and a huge assuagement for the initial plot. Akira’s days with the soldiers was fun to watch until, Meera has to come onscreen again.
There is one more aspect of the film that I adored along with Anushka Sharma’s portrayal, Samar and Zain’s friendship. Zain is a Pakistani and Samar’s roommate. After his “life-changing” breakup with Meera, he leaves all his earnings with Zain asking him to build a better life with it. He goes on to become the owner of a top restaurant in London and when asked by Akira, he full heartedly offers his role in the roleplay to help Samar in his recovery. India-Pakistan friendship there was wonderful and a good addition to the tiresome screenplay. Sharib Hashmi’s performance is adorable and touching. Katrina Kaif stuck to her doll-faced image for this movie which was a dream project for her, a heroine in Yash Chopra film next to SRK. This was a completely wrong role to have that image. Meera is no Zaara Hayaat Khan or Saamiya Siddique. Akira stood out better and Sharma gave us a performance worth remembering. SRK delivered two different version and stuck to his versatile portrayal, but it is hard to forgive his decision to shed his “no-kissing” contract. The cinematography and editing gave the colorful environment with no tints. A.R Rahman stuck to his standards and composed haunting scores and songs which could replace the movie’s quality. I am not saying that the movie is bad as such, there are many good moments in terms of direction,
Jab tak hai jaan is another mediocre romance movie from a big budget team who should have gone for variety theme. I am not saying that the movie is bad as such, there are many good moments in terms of direction, it is Yash Chopra after all. The theme is the first drawback. The above points are just my observation and the perceptions of different individuals vary. Predictability and similarity to previous Yash Raj romance are major criticisms the movie received. There’s nothing innovative whatsoever. Apart from the theme and lack of chemistry between SRK and Katrina Kaif, the dialogues scenes are also cringeworthy. No one likes to listen to philosophy and poems dear Bollywood. Upgrade for god’s sake!
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