1.5/5 – Jab Tak Hai Jaan: failure of a farewell

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Thoughts before the film: I hope the two girls die, Yash Chopra brings in Kajol/Rani Mukherjee and she lives happily ever after with Shah Rukh Khan.
For those who have grown up watching and enjoying Yash Chopra’s romantic films, namely Chandni, Silsila, Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Veer-Zaara, to name but a few, Jab Tak Hai Jaan became one of the year’s most highly anticipated films. With Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles, the late director’s final venture was nothing less than star-studded either. Hence, expectations were kept high, leading to tickets bought in advance for full-house cinemas throughout the busy week of Diwali.

“You can’t speak Hindi and you want to learn Punjabi? Ha!”
The story:
Jab Tak Hai Jaan is about a 21-year old documentary filmmaker, Akira (Anushka Sharma) who, after finding and reading the diary of the perpetually grumpy Major Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan), a bomb disposal expert, decides to make a film about him. The diary presents Akira with a flashback of Samar’s life in London where he met, fell in love with and left Meera (Katrina Kaif) ten years ago to go to Ladakh. Meera is an engaged, churchgoing Punjabi girl, who falls in love with Samar while learning Punjabi from him. When Samar meets with a fatal accident, Meera goes to Jesus and asks him to save her beloved. In return, she would never meet him again. Circumstances lead Samar back to London, where he meets with another accident and gets retrograde amnesia, forgetting everything that had happened since his first accident. The doctor believes it’s best to bring everyone Samar knew 10 years ago to help him retrieve his memory. Meera makes Samar believe they have been married for ten years but stops herself from getting close to her because of her promise to Jesus. Not seeing results from her love, Meera asks Akira to go in front of him to remind him of his recent experiences. Nothing seems to work until Samar sees a bomb in a train which he suddenly knows how to defuse. Samar subsequently remembers everything, gathers he has been lied to by Meera, and returns to his life in Ladakh. Akira’s documentary is successful and Meera follows Samar back to Ladakh, realising Jesus kept Samar alive to be with her.
Thoughts during the film: I hope Katrina Kaif dies.

“You’re 21. I’m 31. This isn’t creepy at all!”
The goods:
Shah Rukh Khan. There’s a broody SRK in an army uniform on a motorbike AND a romantic, charming SRK playing the guitar in the same film.
Anushka Sharma. Despite having done the same role in every film she’s been in, she’s the only one who played her role well without being annoying, all while looking great.
The music. A.R. Rahman. Need I say more?
The bads:
Shah Rukh Khan. Before watching it, you’d think he’d do the same thing he’s done innumerable times before, but he’s really just weird and awkward. Playing a character 20 years younger than his actual age with girls who are old enough to be his daughters doesn’t help either. In addition, when he gets retrograde amnesia, he turns into Rizwan Khan. Yes, SRK as an autistic is the same as SRK as an amnesiac.
Katrina Kaif. She can’t act. She can’t dance. She can’t smile. She can’t speak Hindi. And she’s too old to play a 21-year old. In short, she’s useless. I will hereby stop putting her in my list of ‘goods’ just for being pretty.
The script. Quite possibly, one of the worst scripts any Yash Chopra film has had, with the exception of Parampara. If you don’t remember it, you’re probably better off.
3 hours. A bad film that’s three hours long is a pain in the backside (quite literally).
The comparison. Being a Yash Chopra film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan will inevitably be compared to his previous films. It doesn’t even come close to the standard set by classics such as Darr, Dil Toh Pagal Hai and Veer-Zaara. It’s not touching, it’s not that romantic and it’s way too long.

47 and STILL playing a 28-year old!
The rating:
Keeping in mind everything else the late director has made, I give Jab Tak Hai Jaan a mere 1.5 out of 5, with the music by A.R. Rahman being its saving grace. Being an ardent fan of Yash Chopra-SRK films, I went in expecting (and hoping for) a corny, romantic film. I didn’t get one.
The last word:
Jesus is the star of the show. The power he seems to have on Katrina Kaif’s character and her relationship with SRK is unbeatable. It’s kind of like he’s looking down at them and laughing at their stupidity.
Thoughts after the film: I wish they all died.

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