The name Yash Chopra is synonymous to opulence, grandiose and all flavours of larger-than-life characteristics which cannot be in any way consumed through a real-life lens. This has what has come to be known as the “YRF school of cinema“. But it is sad that a prolific director of Yash Chopra‘s stature, a man who has given us the likes of Waqt, Deewar, Kaala Pathhar and Chandni, be dwarfed by the above mentioned limiting definition. Yes, the man also gave us Dil To Pagal Hai – a movie he directed in his mid 60’s, about the yuppy Indian youth, all singing and dancing and free as a bird, and it still remains a personal favourite.
So why does Jab Tak Hai Jaan, a movie which emulates the same “formula”, and in some ways, mashes up DTPH with Veer Zara, feel overtly boring, lost, and almost impotent ? This movie is of two halves, the first trying desperately to be cool, and make its mid-40s male lead into a 25 year old hipster. The second half transforms the same male lead into a broody and stubbled version, loaded with Enfield bikes, no armour anti-bomberman badass superhero. And joining the two are two stupid accidents. The catch here is, there’s no Nirupa Roy to provide the emotional connect.
This is not a post to bad-mouth Yash Chopra, the filmmaker whose work speaks for itself. I am extremely fond of most of his filmography, but sadly, JTHJ is not the perfect swan song by a mile and a half. So hold on to your hate mails. After the jump, some specific plot points will be discussed. SPOILER WARNING.
So Yash Chopra, in his attempt to bring the same amount of yuppy youthful romance that SRK-Madhuri-Karisma had brought in 1997, leads us to London, to Ladakh, and back to London again. Of course, this being a Yashraj movie, there are certain assumptions that need to be made, and your cynical world view needs to be left at the ticket counter. These can be categorised into three levels, and it gets worse as you go higher.
Level 1 : Life’s Good
From London city busker, to fish monger, to a waiter in a posh Michelin starred restaurant – our Punju dude Samar (SRK) can ace it all. Our heroine Meera (Katrina) on the other hand, has loud conversations with Sir Jesus (a 2002 version of Simran ?), and is the sole heir to a rich business empire owned by her father. And a typical day involves getting impressed by powerpoint skills, and getting smitten by Punjabi songs. The tale of poor boy meets rich girl is as old as the Himalayas, and that is, by no means, a deal breaker for me. I can get past through this firewall. Heck, lady Meera can prance around in her micro-mini skirt in the cold and snowy London winter, as our Punju dude (who is apparently short on income and works three-four jobs) parties around in Topman gear and a Fedora, and schools her the underground street dance moves. I’ll still buy it (or try hard to).
On the other hand, our other female lead, free spirited and quirky Akira is from the instant-noodle (or something like that) generation. She is an aspiring documentary filmmaker from Delhi, and hasn’t possibly heard of the Khap Panchayat. Hence, she roams around the chow-mein eating Indian Army in her short pants. Yes, short pants, in Kashmir, in the Himalayas. Also, swimsuit and thanda paani diving. Still with this. Bring on Level 2!
Level 2: She’s so dumb! And so is everybody!
Earlier, when we mentioned Meera has loud conversations with Sir Jesus (inspired from Dogma‘s Buddy Christ), she’s actually negotiating proper business deals. After all, what modern day aaj ki naari, in the wake of Ekta Kapoor serials, would be complete without her bhagwaan? But she’s a Thapar you say? C’mon, you didn’t complain about that when Simran has her church wala love! I’m ok with that, until shit just hits the fan.
When Samar has his accident, Meera, who is on her way to convince her father and her fiance that she’s in love with some part fish-monger, part waiter and 100% SRK, suddenly makes a pact to leave that very dude. Maybe it was that cold and sloppy kiss. But dude, they did make sweet love to Mohit Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal’s CPR song (Saans). Like WTF!
*First traces of my hair greying and frying themselves away are noticed.*
On the other hand, quirky Akira has not been given any sort of health and safety regulation guidelines. And since she’s so popular with the army dudes, she can roam around with the Indian army, of course loaded with an iPod. Die bitch Die!
*Some more greying and frying.*
Hero saves the lady, and says GTFO! But Akira being Akira, says “Bitch please“, and Indian Army complies.
Level 3: Mindfuck
Sadda Punju dude, since that 10 year old heartbreak incident, has become the Jedi of bomb diffusion squad. So, he’s allowed to grow his hair, sport a broody stubble, and even scribble down his naughty pyar wala story in his offline blog book (with all necessary details). But hey, that’s not all. YRF’s version of the Hurt Locker has to be with SRK showing off his dolle-sholle. No bomb suits are required, coz bomb suits are for the sidekick sissy. But hey, if the lady filmmaker in short pants insists, she should be allowed to enter the zone, in all her short pants glory. Indian Army has been supporting filmy romance as always duh!
Akira finishes her documentary, and Discovery Channel’s bitch demands to get the subject of the story “The Man Who Cannot Die” to be shipped to London for authentication purposes.
*Hair erosion – 100% complete.Brain cracks appearing*.
Samar arrives in London, has an accident, and gets into some subset of amnesia, forgetting 10 years of existence – that’s what she said – Sarika. Samar is hence prescribed heavy doses of pyaar and dulaar from his Meera, and has to be protected from any form of stress. Meera comes back, and so does with it, a whole another innings of stupidity and mindfuckery that is best left not discussed. Let’s just say, it involves Meera again cock-blocking Samar, Samar in frustration goes out to solve another bomb mystery, and gets his mojo back.
*Mind fuck Complete*
But oh, there’s more. There’s two more bomb diffusion in zero protection yet to be done (Which also makes me think, what are Samar’s thoughts on protection ? ) . By this point, I just wanted that Samar would go into that last bomb, and just blow himself up. The movie then wraps up, with a big message – Chopra Out! Now THAT would be ballsy.
Instead, we see Samar ki baahon mein Meera. And scene! End credits!
First Ra is Ra.One’s G.One, SRK – His 10 year long journey is visible in his 25 year old wrinkled dimples. His ice cold chemistry with the wooden Katrina is as bland as that unnecessary kiss. Was that a sign of a filmmaker trying to prove himself as being new age? Or did G.One need some Bicentennial love experience of how onscreen kisses taste? Apparently, it tasted pheeka rather than teekha!
Second Ra – Akira – Anushka Sharma is consistently quirky as the young Delhi girl. She does seem to have a Band Baaja Baaraat hangover, but I am not complaining, as I love Shruti Kakkar.
Rahman – A.R.Rahman fails spectacularly with this soundtrack. Although Challa has sort of grown on me, the movie does nothing to make the soundtrack more appealing with its visuals. Fail of epic epicness. [More on that here and here]
Only thing that looks good on this.
I have been speaking so much negative about this movie, let me end it on a positive note. The only good that I could derive from this movie was the cameo by Neetu and Chintu Kapoor. You can never go wrong with those two, and what the lead trio couldn’t get across in almost 3 hours of romance juggling, these two do it with a 5 second smile.
This is possibly one of Yash Chopra’s weakest. Let the SRK fans backlash begin.