Review: JAB TAK HAI JAAN Jerks A Few Tears, Earns A Few Jeers, Caps A Career

J Hurtado, Contributing Writer

It’s difficult to talk about Jab Tak Hai Jaan without putting it in its proper context. Not only is the the final film of one of Bollywood’s most beloved auteurs, and the author of the modern romantic cinema in which so much of India still revels, Yash Chopra, it’s also the latest film from one of the Hindi film industry’s biggest stars, Shah Rukh Khan. It couldn’t be lugging around heavier baggage. There is the temptation to sentimentalize about Chopra’s career and allow that feeling to seep into any kind of critical response to the film, a reaction to which I may not even find myself immune, however, Jab Tak Hai Jaan delivers exactly as it is supposed to on all levels, and that’s not too shabby for a film with so much expectation to live up to.

The story line of Jab Tak Hai Jaan is not at all easy to compress. The film is 176 minutes long, which is even long by Bollywood standards these days, and Chopra uses all of that time to expand a ten year long love story to its emotional acme, leaving audiences drained by the time the credits roll. We’ve been up, we’ve been down, we’ve seen fire and we’ve seen rain, and by the time the film closes out with a behind the scenes montage of Yashji on set working on his final project, it’s just the topper that put me over the edge and threw me into emotional freefall. Yes, I fell for this film and I fell hard.

What I find most amazing about Jab Tak Hai Jaan is that the entire time I was watching it I was picking it apart, but in the end it resonates more deeply that it perhaps deserves. Aditya Chopra’s script is ridiculous. Coming from the man who penned and directed the defining film of modern Indian romantic cinema, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, the script for Jab Tak Hai Jaan is something of an embarrassment. Characters act in ludicrous ways right from the word go, insane coincidences determine every single plot turn in the story, and every few minutes I found myself thinking “what the f…” at the things going on in front of me; not least of which is a pivotal scene in which London Police allow a civilian Shah Rukh Khan to defuse a bomb on a commuter train just because he seems to know what he’s talking about.

Scenes like that pepper the film, and if it weren’t bad enough that they are there at all, sometimes they play major roles in the narrative. There’s nothing lazier than dropping unlikely (or downright impossible) plot devices into a film just because there’s seemingly no other way to move the story forward. Adi Chopra should know this, and his dad, Yash Chopra himself, should have questioned it. Neither of these guys are rookies, they’ve been around, and there are some seriously amateur-hour antics in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. That being said, the film doesn’t completely collapse like the house of cards that it is, instead it is saved by an unusually strong performance from Shah Rukh Khan as our lovelorn lead, Jagdeep, and a bouncy and rousing performance from Anushka Sharma, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite mainstream actresses simply for the energy she brings to every role.

SRK’s Jagdeep begins the film as a take no prisoners leader of an Indian Army bomb disposal unit. He doesn’t wear protective gear, and he’s obviously never made a mistake because he’s still alive and in one piece. He’s introduced via a particularly ham-handed piece of expository dialogue between two nobodies who dutifully inform the viewer that he’s defused 97 bombs and is known as “The Man Who Cannot Die”. However, as one would expect in a film like there, there is some underlying pathos behind his devil-may-care approach to his very dangerous job. Leave it to the inquisitive Akira (Anushka Sharma) to uncover his history via an accidentally pilfered diary which leads into a ninety minute flash back explaining his tragic love story with a woman named Meera played by Bollywood coat rack, Katrina Kaif.

Akira, our deus ex machina, interferes with Jagdeep in order to both get his story out of him and get him to fall in love with her. As one should expect at this point, it all backfires and Akira winds up in love with the emotionally unavailable Jagdeep, which makes them a perfectly tragic Bollywood couple. A few more twists, turns, and unlikely coincidences occur, and we’re left with a whirlwind of a final hour, which cannot be revealed without giving up major spoilers. Suffice it to say, the plot kind of spirals out of control around the 150 minute mark, and as a result, the ending feels very rushed, even though we’ve already had two and a half hours to resolve the story. Instead of smooth transitions from one element to the next, the film nearly heads off of a cliff in the final reel while trying to tie up loose ends.

The bottom line is this: if you like Bollywood melodrama, Jab Tak Hai Jaan may be the film for you. I do, and so the above mentioned faults, major though they might be, are merely bumps in the road that don’t derail my emotional investment in the film. I’ll admitI giggled a few times at some particularly hokey dialogue, and I couldn’t help laughing every time I saw an Indian Army solider haphazardly waving a rifle around pointing at nothing in particular when he was supposed to be on patrol, but it was all in good fun. Yash Chopra was never one to make subtle films, and his history, dare I say mastery, of bombast is unparalleled in Bollywood. Just when you think a moment has reached its emotional peak, leave it to Yashji to throw in a couple more corkers just to make sure he wrings every last tear from your poor dehydrated carcass, and I’ll be goddamned if it didn’t work on my more than once.

It’s been about eight years since Yashji’s last film, the cross-border interfaith romance Veer-Zaara, but it’s been even longer since the man who pioneered Bollywood’s obsession with picturesque European locations actually set a film in one. In fact, apart from a few moments here and there, I can’t even remember one with a major location outside of India. As such, Chopra’s view of London in 2012 seems firmly stuck in the ’90s Hindi film aesthetic of the west. Sure, he updates the morality to that of modern Indian twenty something’s by allowing Anushka Sharma’s Akira to speak freely about sex and wanting to fuck guys with different accents and showing in unusually forthright detail the illicit sex lives of Jagdeep and Meera, but the settings look like never left the late ’90s.

Yash Chopra was never one to shy away from hot button items. Whether it was infidelity in the Amitabh Bachchan starring Silsila, stalkers in the masterful Darr, also featuring SRK, or the interminable divide between India and its mortal enemy, Pakistan, in Veer-Zaara, Chopra was always keen to give the audience something to chew on, and I think that in spite of the updating of sexual mores in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, he plays it rather safe with the content. Sure, the plot has plenty of twists and turns and doesn’t shy away from the occasional kiss on the lips from SRK (who hasn’t done that in a film in as long as I can remember), but there’s little universal about the story, it is all very contained, which I guess isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I had read several tweets and off-the-cuff reactions to the film before walking into the theater so I was prepared for the worst. I’ll be honest, even upon immediately leaving the auditorium, I was rather dubious about the whole experience. However, the more distance I put between myself and the nit picky things that bothered be about Jab Tak Hai Jaan, the less they bother me. Ultimately what I came away with, after all nits have been picked, is a deeply resonant emotional experience helped by an incredibly strong performance by a movie star who actually shows some acting chops for the first time in a while. Jab Tak Hai Jaan is by no stretch Yash Chopra’s finest work, however, it is a fine coda to a long career spent giving the people what they want, which is a little bit of everything and a lot of tragic romance.

Post Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

amoxil 500 mg coupen cialis 5 mg dose cialis 5mg apotheke propranolol hct 80 25 mg augmentin prospect 1000 mg clomid 100 mg dose cialis 20 mg apteka lexapro generic 30 mg cialis professional cheaper buy propecia 90 buy viagra 4x100 cheapest kamagra discount buy viagra kopen 50mg viagra duration cheap viagra brooklyn nexium mups 40 mg 90 cheap lexapro 25 mgs of cialis diflucan 50 mg clomid 25mg pregnant cheap xenical tablets hydrochlorothiazide 50 mg tab ervaringen clomid 150 mg viagra 400 mg online cialis india generic cialis ed arzneimittel cialis 5mg osta viagra online priligy generic uk green kamagra 100mg viagra 100mg dose reliable cheap cialis order cialis daily cialis india cheapest cheap cialis usa viagra generico 2011 25mg clomid online kamagra online thailand gia nexium 20mg zithromax 250 mg 3 pack amoxil 200 mg 5ml zithromax generic 500mg celebrex generic version 115, 40 mg doxycycline buy viagra phoenix 1500 mg zoloft 100mg clomid spotting xenical generico 120 mg generic viagra sweden cialis 5 mg effectiveness viagra generico brasileiro generic cialis articles buy viagra 200mg cialis 20mg composition 60 mg levitra zithromax 1000mg buying buy clomid proviron buy buy cialis miami viagra levitra generic buy augmentin canada buy cytotec 200mg buy bactrim suspension augmentin 1000 mg faranjit buy nexium 20mg taking cialis 40 mg cheap propecia merck 200 mg viagra dose pfizer viagra 100mg generic viagra weak blue generic viagra buy levitra eu cialis 10 mg werking cialis 20mg au thuoc nexium 10 mg generic cialis .nu 250 mg of cipro generic viagra local levitra 20mg vardenfil doxycycline 200 mg bid lisinopril cheapest buy cytotec pills buy prednisone 10 mg generic viagra 20 mg 1 mg viagra zithromax order tesco 50mg viagra propranolol 20 mg diflucan caps 150mg kamagra 50mg apteka bactrim 200 40 mg prednisone 20mg cures viagra ricetta online get clomid online zovirax 800 mg zusammensetzung viagra 50 mg lisinopril 10mg tablet metformin 850 mg preisvergleich doxycycline 100mg they cheap cialis 10 mg lexapro generic overdose generic 5 mg. cialis propecia generic prices nexium 20 mg omeprazole cialis 5 mg dauertherapie buying zithromax doxycycline 100mg cap zoloft generic manufacturers lasix special 500 mg buy lexapro 20 mg viagra tablets buyers order cialis 40mg viagra 100 oder 50 mg paypal propecia cheap buying nexium cheap celebrex generic celecoxib augmentin 625 mg prot nexium generic for viagra generic 25 mg buy 5 viagra pills generic lexapro 10mg australian viagra online nolvadex 10 mg 30 tabs nexium 20 mg costo cheap generic bactrim levitra dosage 30 mg cialis lily buy lexapro 10 mg ervaringen 3 generic sildenafil viagra propranolol 40 mg trac online viagra tablet priligy australia buy buying viagra manila lexapro 10mg cost caver generic cialis celebrex 400 mg pret cialis 20 mg good metformin 1000 mg hexal 20 mg prednisone dosage zovirax buy usa lexapro generic 20 mg generic propecia fertility lexapro 20 mg long generic viagra euro cialis comenzi online cialis online dubai buy levitra effectiveness order flagyl er augmentin tab 500mg viagra generic definition generic viagra for 2012 buy prednisone us clomid order europe kamagra 100 mg sachet wellbutrin 450 mg libido cytotec 25 mg doxycycline 100 mg injectable wellbutrin hcl 75mg celebrex 50 mg zithromax 250 mg gelule buy clomid cod buy clomid lion red viagra 100mg xenical 120 mg upotreba nolvadex 20mg testeron celebrex 200 mg cp 12 mg viagra buy viagra 4.18 nexium 40mg coupon cialis 0.5 mg sildenafil zoloft 150mg propecia uk cheapest using viagra 100mg phenergan mg 50 kamagra buy berlin generic cialis dangerious par generic wellbutrin nolvadex 20mg ip 100mg viagra fails xenical online australia viagra 25 mg kaufen buy cheap valtrex phenergan 25 mg dose order online diflucan cialis original 5mg 12 online generic viagra lexapro generic 20 mg pret diflucan 50 mg pharmacy online viagra buying strattera 20 mg prednisone alcohol wellbutrin generic actavis medicine lasix 40 mg cipro oral 500mg lexapro 5mg effectiveness zovirax filmtabletten 400 mg order glucophage online canadian cialis 200 mg xenical pills online cheap propecia 1mg strattera coupon 40 mg nexium 20 mg pakkausseloste online propecia sale nexium 40 mg ulotka buy clomid supplement nolvadex australia online cialis online drugstore selling viagra 100 mgs propecia pills online viagra buy korea buy propecia 100 amsterdam buying viagra generic40mg cialis generic celebrex prescription buy propecia malaysia levitra generic 20mg cialis tolerance 2.5 mg cialis 2.5 mg walgreens cialis 2.5 mg generic cheap levitra cialis viagra sildenafil 100mg strattera 80 mg adderall viagra cheap 50 mg cialis store online nexium price 10 mg buy 80mg strattera buying viagra holland bula propranolol 80 mg generic chinese viagra doxycycline 200 mg price viagra 100mg 4st acheter cialis 10 mg farmacia online levitra buy viagra nsw tetracycline 125 mg buying viagra chemist walmart generic lexapro buying valtrex cheap metformin hcl 500 mg purchase augmentin online buy kamagra jakarta strattera tic disorder nexium mups 40mg viagra trial generic ordering lisinopril online cialis 2 x 5mg bought cialis online buy chewable viagra viagra buy 100 doxycycline rp 100mg generic version valtrex viagra generic indian buy cytotec kuwait buy zoloft medicine cialis generico bogota order prednisone overnight generic viagra bestseller generic amoxil 500 mg cialis 10 mg cupon 40 mg lisinopril daily zovirax ointment generic cheapest generic zoloft cialis thailand buy levitra pricing generic discount order cialis prospect nexium 10 mg zithromax 1000 mg online zithromax 250mg israel Online Levitra pills lexapro sold generic buying viagra bangalore cialis 20mg france bactrim ds buy priligy 30 mg controindicazioni prednisone 40mg obat celebrex 100 mg buy strattera 40 mg viagra ireland online zovirax 750 mg buy propecia ny buy doxycycline 50mg lexapro generic there viagra online kopen buy lisinopril generic cialis mg dose celebrex 200 mg lexapro generic prozac zithromax 250mg dosage doxycycline 50 mg daily levitra 100 mg 30 tablet generic lexapro info herbal viagra 8000mg levitra onlines generic cialis toronto dapoxetine buy india generic viagra delhi nexium 40 mgs buy doxycycline treatment cheapest price valtrex zovirax 1000 mg discount 150mg viagra wellbutrin 50 mg sr 2 100 mg viagra viagra 25 mg kopen cialis 5mg dosierung cialis generique 5mg levitra cheap prices lasix 25 mg somministrazione jual viagra online clomid 100mg instructions order viagra softtabs metformin bluefish 850mg order propecia australia cialis 5 mg consigli bactrim genericos glucophage 1000 mg muadili walgrens 20 mg levitra farmacia online augmentin lexapro 5 mg tablet generic augmentin es lisinopril 10 mg mylan viagra bh mg celebrex tab 100mg viagra cheap 25mg posologia propranolol 40mg generic cialis dominican 10mg prednisone croup tablet nexium 20mg zithromax australia order metformin er750mg lisinopril 2.5 mg generic buying generic lexapro generic levitra there viagra 100mg swiss 250 mg phenergan order cialis 50mg generic hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg hard viagra online cialis de 100 mg diflucan 150 mg dosage viagra online japao online viagra kaufen viagra 50 mg percocet online kupovina viagra cumpara viagra online generic viagra cipal cialis 20 mg discount viagra buy prescription herbal viagra 6800 mg cheap kamagra 100mg opinion cialis 20 mg acyclovir zovirax 400 mg cytotec 200mg prospecto priligy generico prezzo prednisone 20 mg webmd lexapro 5mg effective 100mg doxycycline review diflucan 100 mg gel wellbutrin generic buying cialis com purchase hydrochlorothiazide online 60 mg lexapro dosage 100 cialis 5mg metformin 1000 mg fiyati ordering clomid real propecia 1 mg generic synthroid manufacturers cap.xenical 120mg zovirax tabs 800mg cialis 10 mg coupons order viagra price lasix tbl 20mg online viagra mexico viagra online perth cheap viagra 800mg clomid online 50mg acquisto cialis 5 mg zithromax monodose 250 mg augmentin capsules 875 mg cialis 5 mg o 10 cheapest propecia review metformin 500 mg biverkningar much cialis 5mg tadalafil tadacip 20 mg cheap online levitra augmentin tab 500 mg 600mg zithromax zithromax chlamydia 1000mg strattera 120 mg daily hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg online is viagra generic comprare clomid online metformin 850 mg dosierung xenical india online cialis 20 mg tabletten metformin 500 mg bioequivalence lasix 40 mg rate 50 mg clomid unsuccessful propecia online orders chinese viagra 600mg buy augmentin tablets generic valtrex mylan xenical nz online valtrex 1000mg filmtabletten cheap clomid 100mg prednisone 5 mg mayo prednisone dosage 50 mg cialis.40mg orginal there generic zoloft viagra online dhl viagra online predaj cialis original 10mg cipro filmtablet 500 mg generic viagra review generic lexapro 20 mg cialis 5mg strong bula buspar 5mg levitra pro online diflucan 150 mg 3 days cytotec 200mg abortion viagra cheaper buying glucophage online metformin glucophage online levitra 20 mg org buying cytotec philippines zithromax 600mg online glucophage 1000 mg zayiflatirmi cialis 2.5mg benefit cialis online sales generic viagra gnc cialis 5 mg terapia viagra buyonline online propecia nulk us viagra generic zoloft 10mg dosage cialis 10 mg farmacia farmacias online levitra prednisone eg 20 mg cialis generic romania doxycycline cheap online mg of propranolol buy kamagra india diflucan online drug medicamento glucophage 500 mg cialis 20 mg 36 hours viagra 100 mg din cheapest cialis soft buying cialis cheaper cheapest levitra generic cialis 20mg 4 60 mg prednisone doxycycline 25mg tablet lisinopril 20 mg 25 hctz cipro generic ciprofloxacin 3 discount generic viagra erfahrungsberichte viagra 100mg legal cheap viagra viagra for womencheap tetracycline 500mg buy viagra ecstasy levitra order prescription ciprofloxacin generic cipro nexium generics zoloft 100 mg insomnia smell disorders prednisone doxycycline hyclate 1oomg prix clomid 50mg levitra 20 mg coupon white clomid online relible generic viagra cialis tab 5 mg cialis 5 mg image cialis da 25 mg augmentin 625 mg pregnancy kamagra online apotheke doxycycline 200mg bid order propecia prescription zoloft 100 mg recreational cialis daily generic doxycycline 100 mg prescription wikipedia generic viagra coomeva cheap viagra generic viagra march 2012 issues generic lexapro cialis 25mg cumpar buy viagra otc cipralex 20 mg citalopram generic cialis forums wellbutrin sr 50mg viagra 100mg fiyati viagra 500mg price augmentin 875 mg forum wellbutrin generic controversy nexium sachet 5 mg lexapro eating disorders cialis generic effectiveness levitra 5 mg fiyat generic viagra walmart doxycycline 50mg online online pharmacy cialis