I returned yesterday night from a Kolkata screening of Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Out of four screens, three were devoted to Jab Tak Hai Jaan while one was given to Son of Sardaar. To top that, all three Jab Tak Hai Jaan screens were nearly housefull but the Son of Sardaar screen was practically empty (I could see because INOX does not have security outside every individual screen, at least for the one I went).
I won’t give my review of the film here (you can look it up in my blog by today), but I will try to gauge the audience reactions.
For one, there was no mass hysteria upon SRK’s entry in the film, which is unlike several other centres. Second, the one thing I noticed very clearly is that the dialogues reached straight to the audiences; they laughed at all the right places and were emotionally silent in the requisite sequences. In particular, the Ishq Dance-Ishq Shava sequence got a lot of surprised and excited murmuring. There were, however, exasperated sounds being made at some of the ridiculous portions of the film (not unexpected).
The climax seemed to satisfy though not really amaze; I am guessing that the predictability let it down a bit. After the film, the reaction could be best summed up as good to pretty good (my friend who accompanied me from Kharagpur went ga-ga over the film, though that’s understandable considering that he really likes romantic films). I could judge that sentiment and soulfulness had won over a lot of the audience, but few (if any) would be thinking of it as some classic or great film.
For those of you who were expecting near 3 Idiots word-of-mouth, I’d say your dream is distant. However, for those who were expecting outright rejections or hugely negative word-of-mouth a la Ra.One style, I’m afraid that you are even more distant from your dream. Suffice it to say, Jab Tak Hai Jaan will do well but will be nothing earth-shattering or all-consuming for the audiences, though I am sure that the repeat audience will be significant.