|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.