Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma
Director: Yash Chopra
Genre: Romance, Drama
Release Date: November 13, 2012
Yash Chopra. Shah Rukh Khan. These two names are more like adjectives for a successful Bollywood romance. Add some breathtaking scenic views, beautiful leading ladies, melodious soundtrack and a few twists here and there. There you have it – a romantic Bollywood film. The theme may be the same, dialogues might be monotonous and some incidents might even feel slightly weird. But when all this is showcased by the caliber of the two above mentioned names, there is a great amount of honesty and confidence that comes along which makes it all worth the watch over and over again.
The story is fairly simple. In the first half of the film we see Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) as a cheerful, cheeky and romantic man in his mid-twenties who lives in London doing various odd jobs to survive. He roams the streets making everyone smile while running around with his acoustic guitar. Samar soon meets Meera (Katrina Kaif) who portrays the character of a very beautiful, classy and wealthy professional. Their exchanges and chemistry is rather adorable and the bridges between Samar’s Punjabi/Desi-ness and Meera’s western antics create for a spectacle on-screen. Meera teaches Samar ‘tip-top gentleman English’ in return for Punjabi music/singing lessons, which evidently leads to a lot more.
The second half of the film shows a very different Samar. He is now Major Samar Anand, a courageous, dutiful and somewhat stubborn Indian Army officer. He risks his life daily as he detonates bombs without the fear of dying and plays it like a game. To shed some light, joy and music in this Samar’s life; a young woman named Akira (Anushka Sharma) comes along. Through chance and career, Samar and Akira get close and he is brought back to his old life. The journey of these three individuals and how they get connected-then-disconnected and then back together again in one way or another is very well directed by Yash Chopra. Despite some scenes being slightly slow, the flow is picked up promptly whilst keeping both the audience and fans interested for the entire 175 minutes that the film runs.
Shah Rukh Khan looks extremely comfortable in his role. At some points he feels a little too relaxed but when it comes to delivering his romantic dialogues, the SRK-ness does not fail to charm. A powerful and completely full of expression, SRK claims to Katrina Kaif in a scene – “Mujhe dil jeetna hai; Jo dil jeet te hain voh kabhi haarte nahin.” In some instances, you may even be reminded of his anger and frustration in films such as Anjaam, Darr and Baazigar. His character shows a lot of compassion, love, tenderness, anger, betrayal and courage all at the same time. He portrays each and every emotion with much sophistication. SRK even goes on to do something which he had said he will never do – you can catch him giving in with his first on-screen kiss!
There are also points where he clearly looks much older than the ladies of the film but then again it is SRK and this is a Bollywood flick! The storyline proves to be smart and balances this age gap. Regardless of age as it is just a number; he still continues to keep up with the very much improving dance skills of Katrina Kaif. As more and more films of her are released, her on-screen presence more than just her glamorous looks is also being recognized. Kaif’s articulation of the Hindi language is not the best but it provides justice to the character she portrays. Anushka Sharma is simply a treat to watch. Her memorable character from Band Baaja Baraat can never be forgotten and she does just that once again. Her Delhi-swagger and the uttermost amount of joy she brings to the film is worth praise.
Special appearances are provided by one of the most cutest real-life Bollywood couples – Rishi Kapoor & Neetu Singh. Even if their presence is only for a few minutes in the film, their innocent and full of love arguments always gain the aww’s of the crowd. Anupam Kher plays the role of Kaif’s father and provides more than justice to his character. As Kaif sings to him in Punjabi (Track: Heer) during his birthday party, tears should be trickling. The film also does one very beautiful thing extremely subtly. The simple yet genuine friendship and interconnectedness between people from Pakistan and India is depicted very intellectually. Shah Rukh Khan is from India and his roommate in London is from Lahore, Pakistan. Their scenes are very well scripted and acted.
A big plus point for this film is also its amazing locations that have been a classic for all Yash Raj projects. Cinematographer Anil Mehta and editor Namrata Rao capture all these scenic views very beautifully. A.R. Rahman once again proves to be a living legend as he gives extremely soothing and melodious tracks/background score to the film. His melodies have been blessed with the very catchy yet meaningful lyrics of Gulzar that fit right in for the various moods portrayed in different segments of the film. Together, they create magic. The Jab Tak Hai Jaan poem along with popular songs such as Challa, Saans and Ishq Shava have been a highlight since much before the film’s release and their cinematic versions look stunning when watched in the theater.
It is very easy and natural to compare works in the field of cinema. Especially when it comes to big names. Yash Chopra has undoubtedly created masterpieces in his lifetime. Only time will tell if Jab Tak Hai Jaan proves to be as such both critically and commercially. Although, the honesty of the fact is that if compared to his last project, Veer Zaara, it does not come too close. The film definitely has that inviting atmosphere; powerful force and momentum through its star-cast, story line, music, production house and exclusive promotions making it a huge success with all the masses. It is definitely encouraged to be watched in the theaters especially if you are a big SRK fan and love Bollywood for its core value and promise of romance, drama and music. The film ends with a beautiful and heartwarming behind-the-scenes tribute to Yash Chopra. His absence will definitely be mourned for decades to come but his presence in our hearts will always be celebrated. As the film very well concludes – He Lives Forever…