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The hero (Shah Rukh Khan) is a poor man. The girl (Katrina Kaif, as always playing the overseas Indian to justify an odd Hindi accent) belongs to the rich, stuffy upper class. He shows her the pleasures of being in the uninhibited lower-deck. She gets to let herself loose, value the fun things of life. They hit it off. This premise is probably as old as Titanic and only as recent as Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar.
The lead couple are in love. They realise it almost at the same time. There is the slight issue over the girl being already engaged to someone else. But it's not the kind of problem that can't be overcome. These are freer times. Neighbourhoods and relatives don't get to decide your fate. Running away from an engagement is no big deal, certainly not in London, the city of Big Ben (now Elizabeth Tower), where this film is set.
But the hero (Shah Rukh Khan) meets with a road accident. The heroine (Katrina Kaif) prays for his life. In exchange for his wellbeing, she promises to God that she will never see him again. Only a director as polished and accomplished as Yash Chopra could hold you to your cinema seat for almost half a working day over a story with a conflict as weak as this. It's what certain reviewers call the Idiot Plot, the sort of crisis that can be fixed with one quick conversation – in this case, between God, the hero and the heroine.
But that would be to suggest we watch film for stories. Not always. And certainly not the proverbial "Yash Chopra romance", where devotees swooning over the super-star (SRK's hard-core female fans aren't likely to be disappointed) is just as essential as the detailing in the heroine's costumes (they look lovely), or the location (that is stunning), or the soundtrack (which is hardly to write home about here), or the background score (a good portion of which has sadly been lifted by Rahman from the film The Motorcycle Diaries).
The director clearly knows how to put all these pieces together into one place for the fair price of a movie ticket. He knows, and always knew, how to hold a moment. There are several such in this film. It's just that as an audience you're not sure of how many stories the filmmaker wants to tell. The sheer sweep of the movie then equals the full season of a TV soap opera that could do with two intervals, since there are at least two mid-points, and four important tracks.
In the film's first part, SRK plays himself, or plays what he has for most of his career: the carefree, charming lover-boy. In the second part, he transforms into an ageing, quiet, intensely masculine character of an Army major who defuses bombs for a living. This is when another girl (Anushka Sharma, in baggy jeans and ordinary tees, dressed too hard to look like a tomboy; jhalli, as they call it) falls in love with the hero in the same way that he had fallen for someone else before. In the third act, SRK's character loses memory.
This is a romantic weepy. They are expressly made for women audiences the world over. Be warned. But you knew that all along. There's an emotional woman inside every hardened man. No one should feel shy about letting it all out. Except that by the end of the saga, you worry less about the hero's love and his wellbeing, and far more for the movie's length. I suspect Yash Chopra would've figured this out himself, even as this was meant to be his last hurrah, the final goodbye to films and romance as an active filmmaker.
Few people in show business receive the same amount of respect and admiration while alive as they do when they're no more. Yash Chopra was that rare exception. He was 80 when he passed away, only a few weeks before his film's release. In a reasonably prolific career spanning six decades of the 100 years of Indian cinema, Chopra stood out as a filmmaker, because he took chances with his scripts. Daag (1973), his first film as director-producer, which is vaguely close to Jab Tak Hai Jaan, for instance was about a man (Rajesh Khanna) who lives happily ever after, with two wives (Sharmila Tagore, Rakhee Gulzar).
The successful films he made became formula for the film industry thereafter.
Waqt (1965) was Bollywood's first lost-and-found drama. Lamhe (1991) was
probably the first romance set among impossibly rich non-resident Indians, an
overseas hit, and a formula that still endures. After Chandni I suppose (his
comeback film in the late '80s), he became a byword for a formula himself, with
audiences taking a look at other copy-cat flicks, and suggesting, "That is so
Yash Chopra!" An earthy aesthete from Jalandhar with incredibly gifted ears for
both poetry and drama should still not be remembered as merely the king of
romance, which would be limiting for a talent whose range was remarkable. If
anything, action-drama Deewar (1975), by his own admission, was the tightest
script he'd ever filmed.
After close to three and half hours in the theatre, when you step out of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, you realise his last film, at 80, wasn't clearly his best. It would have been unfair to even expect that. But it did have shades of what we loved him for. You can instantly tell why he was the still youngest filmmaker around. This film may not survive him. There's a huge legacy that will, and I suspect we will forever thank him for being.
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1.20 hour n 5th pakaoo song is going on. #JabTakHaiJaan
1 hour film gone n 4 songs done. #JabTakHaiJaan
Ye himmat sirf Yash Chopra Ji hi Kar sakte thai ki SRK ko Hrithik jaisa dance karne ko kahe.
1/2 hour gone and I don't know SRK works as cleaner or singer or waiter or teacher. #JabTakHaiJaan
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QUICK REVIEW of Jab Tak Hai Jaan(page will be updated shortly)
Yash Chopra is renowned for his eternal romantic love stories and Jab Tak Hai Jaan is his most intense romantic film ever. The characters here are arrogant, egoistic and unforgiving. His heroine – if I remember right – has just one scene in a saree. Yet, his magical touch is visible throughout, in every romantic scene in the film.
There are several twists and turns in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, all of which mostly work. Coming to the negatives, the film is lengthy (close to 3 hours) and slow-paced. Also, the music (A.R.Rahman) is one of the weakest for an Yash Chopra film in a long time. It has a few good songs like 'Challa' and 'Saans', but pales in comparison to some of the tracks from Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Veer Zaara (arguably the best Hindi album ever).
The performances are very good – Shahrukh Khan, quite obviously, has the meatiest role and does very well. The intensity he brings to the character of Samar in the second half (as the army officer), reminds you of his fabulous performance in Chak De India. As the younger Samar, he is at his charming best. Although he looks a little too old for the young lover-boy that he plays on screen, he looks good with Katrina and the two share excellent chemistry. Watch out for the dance sequence just before the Ishq Shava song, which is followed by one of my favorite scenes in the film – at the railway station where Samar declares his love to Meera.
Anushka Sharma has the smallest role, but makes an impact. Her loud, bubbly and talkative character is quite similar to Geet in Jab We Met. Neetu Singh, Rishi Kapoor and Anupam Kher have one scene each.
Overall, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a good one-time watch, a modern take on old fashioned love. It's slow-paced and tends to drag in the second half, but the performances (especially SRK and Anushka) more than make up for it. Also, don't be in a hurry to leave the cinema hall. The clippings of Yashji during the closing credits, will make you cry.
This was a quick review, page will be updated soon. Stay tuned
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JAB TAK HAI JAAN is not a film, it is CINEMATIC HISTROY! Read my review of the box-office blockbuster at http://komalsreviews.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/jab-tak-hai-jaan/ …
Yash Raj Films' Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a love triangle. It is the story of Samar Anand, an Indian who lives in London and manages to lead an average life. He shares a house with a Pakistani friend, Zain (Shaarib Hashmi), who finds it difficult to get a job. But the golden-hearted man that Samar is, he helps Zain financially. In fact, it is in Samar's nature to spread joy and happiness all around. He meets and falls in love with Meera, an Indian girl who also lives in London with her father (Anupam Kher). Meera's mother (Neetu Singh) had left her father and eloped with Aslam (Rishi Kapoor), her lover. Meera is so fond of her father that she can't dream of hurting him. Meera's father fixes her engagement to her friend, Roger (…).
Meera has an equation with God whereby she always does barter deals with Jesus Christ. If she asks God for a favour, she does so by taking a vow that she'd do something in return if God granted her wish. Scared of hurting her father, she makes Samar vow alongwith her, in the church, to not fall in love with one another. But soon, Meera finds that she, too, has fallen in love with him, after Samar makes her meet her estranged mother after a gap of nine years. Before Meera can tell her dad about her love for Samar, he meets with a near-fatal accident. Meera takes this accident as a punishment of God to Samar for Meera having broken her vow made to God. She prays for his life and, in return, vows never to marry Samar. His life is, in fact, saved. And Meera, in keeping with her promise to God, walks out of Samar's life after telling him about her vow.
Samar is dejected and depressed. He challenges God for having snatched away his beloved from him. Meera asks Samar to leave London for her sake, which Samar does. He joins the army in keeping with the wishes of his family members and soon, becomes well-known for diffusing bombs. But he is a loner as he is unable to forget Meera. Years later, another girl, Akira (Anushka Sharma) enters Samar's life. She is a rookie documentary filmmaker who has come to make a documentary on the soldiers. Akira is just the opposite of Samar. She is full of life, is not at all emotional and doesn't think twice before breaking up from her boyfriend. She represents the modern generation. In her two-week stint with Samar and his men, she falls madly in love with Samar whose past love story she is aware of. Samar, of course, doesn't reciprocate her love although he realises that she is a nice girl. Akira returns to London where she works. Samar is asked by Akira to come to London for just a day as otherwise, her documentary film would not get selected. At first, Samar is reluctant because he does not want to go through the trauma of his breakup with Meera in London. But he obliges as he realises that it is a question of Akira's future whose passion he admires.
As fate would have it, Samar meets with another accident in London. Although his life is saved, he suffers from retrograde amnesia. He seems to have forgotten the entire period between his first accident and the recent accident. That means, he doesn't remember a thing about his stint with the Indian army. He also does not recognise Akira while saving whom he had met with the accident. All he remembers is that he is married to Meera. De. Khan (Sarika), the neurologist attending on him, asks Akira to get in touch with Meera, which she does. Meera is brought back into Samar's life so that he noves faster towards recovery. Meera has to pretenf to be Samar's wife. But Meera is scared about her promise to God.
What happens thereafter? Does Meera help Samar in his recovery even at the cost of inviting God's wrath? Does Samar ever regain his lost memory? If so, how? And if so, who has helped whom – is it Meera who has helped Samar come close to Akira, or is it Akira who has unwittingly got Meera and Samar close to one another? Was Meera married to Roger? Who ultimately unites with whom? Or does Samar die?
Aditya Chopra's story is outstanding, with plenty of twists and turns. The two love stories – of Samar with Meera, and of Akira with Samar – are wonderful and completely different from each other. The film's screenplay, penned by Aditya Chopra and Devika Bhagat – is masterfully written and keeps the audience interest alive right from the word 'go' till the very end. The best part of the drama, especially in the second half after Samar has a partial loss of memory, is that the viewers are clueless about whether Meera is aiding Akira or vice versa. And when that point becomes clear, the audience is unaware about whether Samar will meet the girl or die. The angle of Meera getting into barter deals with God is so true to life and has been wonderfully used in the film.
The emotional quotient in the drama is just right. While the strong-hearted will have a lump in their throats at a couple of points in the drama, the weak-hearted will not be able to control their tears on at least five occasions. There are some extraordinary scenes which will remain etched in the mind long after one has seen the film. For instance, the dance scene in which Samar kisses Meera on the railway platform; the scene in which Meera kneels down on the road when Samar meets with an accident and starts praying to God, promising Him that she would forget him if He saved his life; the occasions when Samar asks Akira not to repeat the mistake he had committed in love, especially when he tells her that one last time; the little but loaded scenes involving Samar's Pakistani friend; the scene in which Akira tells Samar that she has hopelessly fallen in love with him; the scene in which Samar loses his memory partially; the scene of the bomb scare on the London railway platform and what happens before it… the list is long, very long. In fact, every scene of Samar with Meera as also with Akira is quite memorable. The dance of Meera in the club is mind-blowing and absolutely mesmerising.
Aditya Chopra's dialogues are just too fantastic. Every word has been used to effect and it could easily be said that the film could pick up all the awards for the dialogues.
Shah Rukh Khan lives the role of Samar Anand. Whether as the young man madly in love with Meera or the loner armyman or the man who starts discovering life again or as the man with a partial loss of memory, Shah Rukh is awesome. Definitley, an award-winning performance by the star. He looks very handsome and his charisma is supremely effective. Katrina Kaif deserves kudos for a job wonderfully done. Whether it is her scenes in conversation with God or her inhibitedness before she finally opens up or whether when she surrenders before God or when she re-enters Samar's life, Katrina is so totally immersed into her character that it would seem, she was born to play Meera in this film. Katrina looks drop-dead gorgeous and her sexy costumes are to die for. Anushka Sharma is also first-rate. She plays the new generation girl with an attitude that is unmatched. She makes her character so endearing that the audience can't help falling in love with her. Anushka has also looked very hep and pretty in her very trendy casual clothes. All in all, the three lead players are so outstanding that after a while, one forgets the actors playing the characters and views them only as the characters.
Anupam Kher is effective. Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor leave lasting impressions in short special appearances. Sarika is lovely as the neurologist. Shaarib Hashmi does an excellent job as Zain. Amarinder Sodhi (as Capt. Kamal Singh), Gireesh Sahdev (as Capt. Jagdeep Deewan), Varun Thajur (in the role of Lt. Hari Krishnan), Manoj Bakshi (as Mr. Kapoor), Jay Conroy (as Raghav), Andrew Bicknell (as Frank), Jasmine Jardot (in the role of Maria), Ameet Channa (as Amit), Lauren Ingram (as Charlotte) and the rest of the actors lend formidable support.
Yash Chopra's direction is terrific. He has made the film so beautifully that it looks like poetry on celluloid. Every scene is beautifully executed and handled with such maturity that the film has turned out to be a landmark film. Easily, a film which merits every single award for its mature and seasoned direction. A.R. Rahman's music is wonderful. The songs may not have become as popular as they should've become but it's only a matter of time before they top the popularity charts. The 'Chhalla' song is a super-hit number and will soon take the nation by storm. The other songs – 'Saans', 'Jiya re', 'Ishq shavaa', and 'Heer' – are also delightful numbers. Gulzar's lyrics are brilliant. Vaibhavi Merchant's choreography is superb. A.R. Rahman's background music is just too good! Anil Mehta's cinematography is world-class. Whether it is capturing the beautiful foreign and Indian locales or the actors or their emotions, Anil Mehta comes out with flying colours all through. He has shot the film so beautifully that it looks like a painting on celluloid. Namrata Rao's editing is sharp. Although the film is long, with a running time of nearly three hours, it moves at a fair pace so that the initial complaint from a section of the audience about it being slow and boring in parts will vanish in the days to come.
On the whole, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is poetry on celluloid. It is a movie marvel. It is a piece of cinematic history. It is a blockbuster… sorry, a super blockbuster. It will have a long and meritorious run in the multiplexes and cinemas.
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