With Yash Chopra’s untimely death, the supposed spat between Katrina and SRK-Anushka, and Son of Sardar’s accusations, Jab Tak Hai Jaan was probably the most hyped Bollywood release this year.
The movie starts off with Samar (Shah Rukh Khan) entering the frame on a bike in Ladakh as a senior bomb squad officer and diffusing a bomb without any protective gear. This is immediately followed by a close-up of Akira (Anushka Sharma) stripping into a swimsuit. Till this juncture, the film is as perfect as it can get for any Bollywood junkie. However, from here it proceeds (via a flashback) to a mindless story about how Samar loves Meera (Katrina Kaif), who in turn has promised Jesus (ironic, since she is a Hindu girl and her parents are from Jalandhar) that she would stay away from him just so that Jesus can keep him safe forever. Samar, annoyed with Meera and Jesus’ little agreement returns to India from London to start diffusing bombs bare-handed and challenge the validity of the aforementioned agreement.
Jesus however sticks up to his end of the deal, and he becomes a hero of some sorts within the bomb squad. Meanwhile, Akira lands up to shoot a movie based on him and ends up falling in love with him (Surprise surprise!). However, he has pledged his love to Meera for eternity and is not willing to budge. This tri-partite love story continues for nearly three and a half hours, amidst a song every ten minutes and a cheesy dialogue every time any of the actors talk, walk or breathe.
The script is weak to say the least, and relies heavily on the star cast and the big budget locations to somehow see the film home. However, even they fail to explain some of the absolute absurdity that prevails throughout the movie. For example, one fails to realize how a small, British, blonde-haired young girl grows up to become an Indian woman with jet black hair. Or how someone who doesn’t know the difference between engagement and arrangement suddenly masters his skills over the English language in the span of a month. Or even for that matter, how someone who does odd jobs and manages to attend raves on Sundays suddenly returns to India to become a major in the army.
But then, these are the kind of loopholes that the Indian audience absolutely love, which explains the packed houses at the theatres and why this movie is going to become a commercial success. I can’t really blame Yash Chopra for the average direction, since there’s only so much a person can do with such a shoddy script. However, I wonder what Aditya Chopra was smoking when he came up with this. Also, I was surprised at not seeing Karan Johar’s name on the credit list as this is the kind of movie that one associates with Karan Johar without a second thought.
All the actors unanimously disappoint throughout the film. Shah Rukh giggles, acts retarded and flashes his dimples at the slightest occasion, most of the times for no reason whatsoever, catering perfectly to the needs of NRI moms, who form the majority of his fan base. Anushka Sharma, who is otherwise a dependable actor (amongst the few female dependable actors in the industry,) does not live up to the mark. And Katrina Kaif does what she does best – manages to look pretty while the foreign locations around her indulge in bits of acting.
A.R. Rahman who has composed the music and soundtrack for the movie, hits a new low in his career. He successfully establishes himself as the perfect prodigy of Pritam (the opening score sounds precariously similar to the soundtrack of The Motorcycle Diaries by Gustavo Santaolalla) and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (with the typical Punjabi element in the music that they have popularized in movies of this genre). Though some of the songs like ‘Challa’ and ‘Heera’ have a nice ring to them, the quintessential Rehman fan would have expected a lot more from him. Neither are the dance sequences any different, with Katrina repeating the exact same steps from ‘Chikni Chameli’ in one of the dances.
The film does have its moments, but they are rare and short-lived.
Arguably, the best part of the film are the closing credits, which have a small tribute to Yash Chopra running alongside them. Many have proclaimed that henceforth the ‘King of Romance’ will be missed in Bollywood. I’d beg to slightly differ with them. The ‘King of Romance’ and the maker of films like Deewar and Waqt was sorely missed in Jab Tak Hai Jaan as well.
But then, as they say, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Since the movie released on Diwali, I returned home to find an abnormally large box of sweets on the dining table.