Teri aankhon ki namkeen mastiyaan
Teri hansi ki beparwah gustaakhiyaan
Teri zulfon ki lehraati angdaaiyaan
Nahin bholoounga main
Jab tak hai jaan, Jab tak hai jaan
A Yash Chopra film has always been special and has held a special appeal of sorts over the years. After making films of various genres, in the last 2 decades the veteran filmmaker for reasons known best to him went on to focus on making romantic tales told in his own characteristic fashion. And time and again he made us fall in love. Though bordering towards fairy tale romance, there has always been an element of honesty even in his romantic movies. And he continued to set trends, be it shooting songs in Switzerland (after Kashmir, his earlier favorite haunt turned unsafe), presenting his heroines with a lot of sensuousness without making them look vulgar, even going on to shoot an authentic Indo-Pak love story ( Veer Zaara ) etc. So how would one not look forward to Jab Tak Hai Jaan ( JTHJ from here on ) ?
While the initial draw for the film also was helped to a big extent by the A.R.Rahman–Gulzar combination ( though the music hasn’t been appreciated universally ), the passing away of Yash Chopra recently only made it worth watching for even people who initially perhaps weren’t too sure of watching it. And now it’s Diwali and the film has released widely across the globe. So does the Yash Chopra magic work for one more time? Well I will come to that in some time. To start with let me ask you all a few questions? Are you a die-hard romantic? Do you believe in eternal love? Do you believe that someone somewhere is made for you? Do you feel that love hurts at times but there’s a pleasure derived out of that pain too? If your answer to all these questions is a resounding yes then this is certainly a film up your alley alright.
Tera haath se haath chhodna
Tera saayon se rukh modna
Tera palat ke phir na dekhna
Nahin maaf karunga main
Jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan
Samar Anand (SRK) is a 28 year old Punjabi guy in London who decides not to join the Army, thereby breaking his family tradition and instead ends up doing odd jobs in London like singing on the streets, working in a restaurant and fish market, clearing snow etc. Its love at first sight for Samar as he sees Meera Thapar (Katrina Kaif) during a snowfall, and overhears her conversation with her “Sir Jesus”. Meera is the only daughter of a rich businessman (Anupam Kher) and she hates her mother for having left her and her father to go and live with someone else when she was 12 years old. Meera is engaged to her friend Roger and in filmy fashion we see Meera and Samar getting close to each other. Meera asks Samar to teach her music and enable her to sing a Punjabi song in a month’s time at a party in honour of her father, while Samar agrees on the condition that Meera help him learn to speak good English.
Well it’s a Yash Chopra film with SRK in the lead so obviously Meera and Samar need to fall in love and it happens. Just when everything seems to go along in a dream like state for the couple a sudden turn of incidents sees Meera moving away from Samar as promised to Sir Jesus. A dejected Samar returns back to India and now 10 years later we see a totally different Samar, who is now working in the Indian Army and is popular as a bomb disposal expert. We see him casuallygoing about defusing his 98th bomb and realize that he is now commonly referred to as “the man who cannot die”. Intrigued by his story and later attracted to him, Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma), an aspiring documentary filmmaker manages to get permission to be around Samar for 2 weeks and shoot him at work. Of course it doesn’t take any intelligence to guess that Akira falls head over heels in love with Samar.
Baarishon mein bedhadak tere naachne se
Baat baat pe bewajah tere roothne se
Chhoti chhoti teri bachkani badmashiyon se
Mohabbat karunga main
Jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan
The film looks beautiful on the screen as Anil Mehta’s frames do justice to London and Kashmir. There is a certain charm to the love track between Samar and Meera in London as also the army track as we see SRK as Samar straddling 2 different avatars with comfortable ease. The problem creeps in during the 2nd half when both the tracks merge to lead the film to a logical conclusion. There is no attempt to try out something unique here and the route the story takes actually turns out to be archaic and even hastens the pace to a large extent. Namrata Rao’s editing could have been sharper one feels but I guess then it’s possible that the end product was not exactly the actual final product as envisioned by Yashji as it has been reported that the team preferred not to alter the film as such as a mark of respect for Yash Chopra and probably superstition as well.
The music by A.R.Rahman is nowhere close to his best but on screen the songs do work to an extent. ‘Challa’ ( elevated largely by Rabbi’s vocals ) is the pick of the lot and ‘Saans’ ( sung by Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal ) portrays the intensity in the love that Samar and Meera share with each other. ‘Ishq Shava’ ( Raghav Mathur and Shilpa Rao )and ‘Ishq Dance’ carry a lot of funk and the choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant works pretty well. The film also pays ode to a lot of earlier Yash Chopra films. The sequence involving Neetu Singh and Rishi Kapoor for example reminds you of the Aruna Irani portions from Dil To Pagal Hai.
Tere jhoothe kasme vaadon se
Tere jalte sulagte khwabon se
Teri be-raham duaaon se
Nafrat karunga main
Jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan
Neetu Singh, Rishi Kapoor and Sarika (good to see her after a while) do justice to their cameos and the film actually is focused only on Samar, Meera and Akira. So in a way there is no huge supporting cast attached to the plot per se (good relief in a way). Katrina looks ravishing and appears good as Meera, a girl with a twin side to herself as pointed out by often by Samar. Anushka makes use of the limited screen time she gets and basically her role as Akira is an extension of her act in Band Baaja Baaraat. But eventually it’s the presence of SRK which makes all the difference to the film. JTHJ is another example of how Shah Rukh is the best when it comes to handling a romantic tale like this. There is a lot of restraint shown in his character of Samar especially in his army man avatar.
There are a lot of things wrong with the film- factually and otherwise. For example London in 2002 still has the trappings of 2012 if you look closely. Or how does Samar manage to quickly remember ‘forgotten skill sets’ and get to be allowed so easily to work on a bomb defusion on a London tube? But then this does not take away the fact the film does have its moments and has its leading man in prime form, someone who is extremely comfortable in this space. As Yash Chopra’s final film this may not be his best, far from it actually but watchable it indeed is.