Yash Chopra’s swansong Jab Tak Hai Jaan will go down in Bollywood history as only the second time SRK gets to kiss his heroine after Maya Memsaab, which was released almost two decades ago. The star, who has come whisper close since, but never quite gone the whole hog with his heroines, gets smooched by Katrina Kaif. And nary a spark flies. It’s abrupt, hurried and awkward. More a lip-brush than a liplock. That, incidentally, is just one of the many problems with this “epic” love story.
SRK, who has consistently been supported by a rather fine give ’n take routine with his heroines, whether it is Madhuri, Juhi, Kajol, Rani, Kareena, or even Anushka, has no communication with the cold, bland, expressionless wonder that is Katrina. Nothing moves on her face. All she offers in the name of acting are moist eyes, fluttering eyelashes and plumped lips.
Although frenzied to begin with, it’s the other woman, Anushka, who sounds more convincing when she tells SRK that she has fallen “totally, madly, deeply” in love with him. In between lies the biggest problem of all: a love story that is set in the 2000s but is way too old-fashioned for comfort and just riddled with absurd twists brought on by ridiculous compulsions and sacrifices of its central characters. With a little help from God and retrograde amnesia. Unfulfilled love, a la Love In The Time Of Cholera, is all well and good, but the reasons for separation are more laughable than heart-rending. It’s needlessly stretched with a few bright moments but is largely inert.
SRK looks good with the stubble, particularly against the backdrop of the rugged Ladakh landscape and he can still say “pyaar ho gaya hai, uska kya karoon” like no one else, but that easy charm of yore is getting more and more rehearsed. Full of references to many of Yash Chopra’s own films—be it Dil To Paagal Hai or Veer Zaara, JTHJ struggles hard to find its own
two feet to stand on.
Remember Ajay Devgan riding two mobikes in his debut Phool Aur Kaante? He comes riding on two horses here. He believes the world is useless without sardars and all hell breaks lose when his pagri is trampled on. Though clearly aimed at a Sikh audience, the film ends up upholding the familiar cliches about them, especially about being all brawn and little brain.
It’s that old tale of conflict between two families till love brings them together. Thrown in are stunts, chases, absurd humour, bizarre characters and silly lines like the one who leaves India is “Hindustan Lever”. A watch, if loud, mindless gags work for you. But how many more such comedies can we take?