That man taught a country of a billion the art of loving. Those subtle, nuanced, romantic sweet nothings that were engendered from the brain of that man, have always had a way with people – no matter how much they would want themselves to be impervious to that emotion called love. Yash Chopra, you made sure that you will live on and that your last film will be remembered - jab tak hai jaan! Yash Chopra's direction, and Shah Rukh Khan's acting - hats off to both!
The King of Romance behind the camera directing the Badshah of Romance in front of the camera. And a script that boasts of solid, undying love. No, there cannot be a better way to portray love on the silver screen. ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ has nailed that – at least for the immediate future. Shah Rukh Khan, you don’t really need words of praise or adulation; but go ahead and take a bow! With Samar Anand, the actor has brought another Raj Malhotra alive on screen. And a newer, better, improved version at that. One who doesn’t know how not to love; one who instills in every heart the hope to be able to love – love unconditionally, love that doesn’t know its limitations. Sounds like I’m just out of a Yash Chopra movie? Yes, this had to be the one.
Major Samar Anand, stationed with the Bomb Defusing Squad of the Indian Army is a man who flirts with death at every step of his life. He has successfully cut short the lives of ninety-seven bombs and is on his ninety-eighth one when the film begins. Wolf-whistle from all corners of the theatre greets the stubbled, sunglasses-clad man in uniform; oh yes, and a lot of claps too.
Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma) is a twenty-one year old intern; a state-level swimmer, national-level tennis player etc. (pardon me if the order is wrong – this girl has a long list of accolades behind her name!), and is dying to get placed with the Discovery Channel. The girl dives headlong into the freezing cold waters of a crystal-blue lake with Major Anand sitting on the banks. She passes out in the water and a nonchalant Samar saves her, makes her wear his jacket and rides off on his Royal Enfield. Once in the room, off falls Samar Anand’s diary from one of the pockets of his jacket; on to Akira’s hands and the girl is transported back in time into the life of a twenty-five year old Samar.
Samar there, loves Meera (Katrina Kaif). A girl who detests ‘brown, boring’ Indians and dreams that someday she’ll be married off to some gora. Fate, however, has other plans for her; and by a complicated turn of events that involves Meera learning music from Samar, both fall in love with each other. Hitch: Meera’s already had her “arrangement” – engagement, in Samar’s words. A series of promises to Jesus; some broken ones, some unbroken ones included; Samar goes off to the Indian Army. A tale of love; and love in its purest, most unadulterated form, ensues.
Speaking about Shah Rukh’s performance is nothing short of belittling the consummate actor’s skills. If as Raj Malhotra he had managed to woo half the population of the country; as Samar Anand, this man can make many more smitten by him. The slight stutter, the little hint of a tear in the eyes, the arms-outstretched pose – Khan knows how to make his ladies fall for him – be it that they are almost half his age! Katrina Kaif as the NRI Meera does a pretty good job of playing the girl who is torn between loves and promises; and her accented Hindi passes off as acceptable. Anushka Sharma acts well; however, she does dwindle to the extra-carefree attitude that she has been able to put her signature on in the last few films. But Shah Rukh, yes. He is, indeed, the man to watch out for.
Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh in an extended cameo make for a pleasant watch; and the scene where Neetu Singh meets Katrina is exceptionally moving. Anupam Kher as Meera’s dad doesn’t really have a lot to do.
Cut to direction. Only somebody like Yash Chopra could have made those mesmerising locales of Pehalgam and Ladakh come alive on celluloid. London, on the other hand, is beautiful – be it in winter, rain or summer. The film doesn’t really have the sarees flying slo-mo in the air, but what it has is sheer, pristine beauty. However, the film appears a tad too long; at almost three hours, the ‘impatient, newer generation’ might have to stretch themselves a bit.
AR Rahman’s music in the film somewhere seems underused. The songs ‘Challa’, ‘Ishq Shava’ and ‘Saans Mein’ are a delight to the ears. The Master Musician’s ‘Heer’ is a beautiful song. The numbers are hummable, and nice ones; but just that. They aren’t exactly exceptional. We’ve had better specimens from Rahman in the past, and will sure have better ones in the future.
In case you still haven’t, go watch ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. You can thank the Kings of Romance once you’re done with the film… nahi bhoolenge hum, jab tak hai jaan!