Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Aseem Chhabra who reviewed Jab Tak Hai Jaan in New York says, "The film belongs to Shah Rukh Khan who is charming and mischievous, displaying his dimples with each smile. And he is even more watchable when he is bitter and heartbroken."

There is a reality, as we know it, our mundane daily lives peppered with some joys. There is good cinema with its play on the reality as we know it. And we accept those stories, as unique commentaries on the state of our lives.

And then there is an alternate reality of Bollywood, where couples fall in love, with loud souring soundtracks in foreign locations, but fate keeps them apart and they make unreasonable promises and sacrifices to save their loved ones. The late Yash Chopra excelled in presenting us with that unreal reality, where human beings were principled people, essentially good souls, and for them love was everything. And they would give up all for that love, make sacrifices that made the audience tear up.

Chopra's swan song Jab Tak Hai Jaan plays in that arena, even though it is a relatively weak example of that alternate reality. But all his romantic musicals - films like Daag, Kabhi Kabhie, Chandini and Veer Zaara [ Images ] suffered with that same liberal dose of optimism, a reflection of unreal life, made to look appealing by good looking actors, songs, and a lot of tears and melodrama. Today those films remind us of our youth, when we got odd lessons of romance from songs like Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein, Mere Dil Mein Aaj Kya Hai, Janam Dekh Lo Mit Gayee Dooriyan. We are kind to those films, call them classics, although none of those films were really landmark cinema.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan has flaws – a long convoluted plot, that takes its time to unfold, with implausible twists, and characters whose motivations and behaviors can only be justified if we believe in the statement: This is Yash Chopra's brand of cinema.

He yanks off his cool shades and gets going with the job of diffusing a bomb. He has done it 97 times before - the veritable Hurt Locker who has dared God to take his life, but that just doesn't happen. He survives every time.

Shah Rukh Khan's bomb expert Major in Jab Tak Hai Jaan works wonders on a very different sort of bombs too. He is quite the Heart Locker, excuse the pun, who doesn't need much of an effort to woo the richie rich Barbie he spots floating across picture poster London scape, so what if he is just a snow shoveller (in an early scene when he is yet to become the Army hero). "Paree (fairy)", he sighs and, never mind that she owns an empire and is engaged, you know she will madly be in love with him within the hour.

You ease into Yash Chopra terrain watching SRK play the field in his best romantic avatar yet, ready for the mush crackers.

The girl is straight out of Planet Chopra, too. Stunning as only Katrina Kaif can be, and an obvious emotional wreck who habitually strikes divine deals in churches with the Almighty for anything and everything she wants. So much so, at a pivotal point she is actually telling God that she is willing to forget her lover forever if He saves his life.

That's Jab Tak Hai Jaan for you, bringing back all the sweeping love, sacrifice and melodrama quotient that has ever defined the cinema of Bollywood's King of Romance. Watching formula at play all over again, it somehow feels all right as a mainstream maestro plays out his swansong.

Few masala films become larger than they set out to be, possibly deserve to be. You sense as much could happen someday to this film as it plays out an exhaustive three hours of love triangle plus some twists. Yash Chopra's final feature is not just about itself or the story it narrates. It is about celebrating a fancy's flight that set the template for filmy romance over the decades (minus the heroine's chiffon-sari sway in the Swiss Alps, which was not to be). Jab Tak Hai Jaan becomes a final bow for mush in a way it may never come alive on the Bollywood screen again.

Tiding over the logical incongruity of an ageing superstar playing a twenty-something lover boy who matches steps with a vivacious actress half his age might take some doing. But once you manage to get that mental holdup out the way, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Yash Chopra’s last film, is a perfectly fitting finale to an eventful life and career.

The screenplay by Aditya Chopra and Devika Bhagat is by no means flawless but, for the most part, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is watchable, if somewhat emotionally manipulative.

Beautifully shot in easy-on-the-eye parts of London and Ladakh, the film, in the best traditions of a Yash Chopra romance, sees the world primarily through a tried-and-tested “love is life” aperture. The view that it provides is generally likable, if not always completely persuasive.

The mushy moments at the heart of the love story might feel a tad pulpy at times. ButJab Tak Hai Jaan leaves a soothing afterglow.

You have seen it all before, notably in Dil To Pagal Hai and Veer-Zaara. Yet, Jab Tak Hai Jaan exudes a surprising degree of freshness. It stems from the quirky new-age twists that the screenplay throws into the mix.

One half of the film is a variation on the legend of Mirabai – the heroine, a prim and propah London girl, is caught between her unshakable faith in Jesus Christ (who she believes will never let her down) and her temporal love for a charming street musician who sweeps her off her feet and tempts her to “cross the line”.

As once told by Lao Tzu, "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength and courage." But, this isn't a story of courage, nor miracle. It is indeed a simple love story of a man, who died everyday, every moment for his love. And, say what, even God was left with no other option at the end, except to gift him his ladylove one day. Yes, I'm talking about the late legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra last directorial offering, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, featuring Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in the leads. If love and romance needs a proper definition, it will be such "JAB TAK HAI JAAN", this piece of romance will be remembered forever. Here's a story of a strong, hard-hearted army officer Samar Anand (Shahrukh Khan), who loves to play with his life by undertaking risks everyday. Reason given, his never ending fight with the almighty, who had snatched away his ladylove Meera Thapar (Katrina Kaif) 10 years back.

Firstly, people... the movie isn't so bad as others are saying; secondly, it cannot be compared to epic love story and neither can be termed as a master piece by Yash Chopra. The movie definitely fails to create the usual Yash Chopra Magic. The movie starts off with Samar Anand (Shahrukh Khan), a major from the Indian Army, defusing a bomb. Samar saves Akira Rai's (Anushka Sharma) life, a Discovery Channel intern. She gets to read his dairy and the movie goes to a flash back. Samar is a struggling immigrant in London and meets Meera Thappar (Katrina Kaif) in the hotel during her reception. Later Meera asks Samar to teach her Punjabi (song), in turn Samar asks her to teach him English, and during this course Samar falls in love with Meera. Meera had a strange superstitious belief. Samar meets with an accident, and Meera to save Samar's life, prays that she would never meet Samar again if God saves his life. Hurt by Meera's promise, Samar joins the most risky job...bomb diffuser, in Kashmir. Then he meets Akira who joins Samar's team, to make a documentary about the bomb disposal squad of the Indian Army. The rest should be seen on screen. The story is interesting, yet boring since many people in this generation won't understand the relation between the God and Man. They can't digest too much of superstitious beliefs, which is shown between Kat and her God. And the length of the movie is the major drawback.

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