Movie Review: ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’

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The late Yash Chopra’s last offering to the world, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, is packed full of credentials. Not only is this film the very last that one would see the unmatchable combination of Shah Rukh Khan and Chopra together, but it is also��coming as Chopra’s self-proclaimed finale before bowing out of direction. His untimely death not long after his 80th birthday meant that ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ would be seen as his final farewell and also serve as a testament that his vision for romance, emotions and heartstring-tugging moments would never be seen again by this generation or next. However, the ever-nagging question always remained��as to��whether ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ would be the��perfect goodbye from the man who made so many people��rise and fall��in love as well as give Bollywood some of it’s best and most successful films to date.��Would ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ really portray everything that Chopra stood for and would it also achieve the timeless love known by many of Chopra’s previous offerings? Would it be befitting in celebration of Chopra’s immense contribution to Indian cinema?

SRK-Katrina in 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'
SRK-Katrina in 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'

The story of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ surrounds Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) who is an Indian army officer. In a chance meeting, he comes across Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma) who is bubbly, daring and a zara hatke kind of girl. Akira comes across Samar’s personal diary and discovers why he is not only unfearful of death but also how he ended up on his chosen career path. Akira also comes to know of Samar’s ladylove, Meera Thapar, who he met whilst in London a decade ago and also of a sacrifice Meera made. Akira is then��filled with the passion��to retrace Samar’s footsteps not only for her own documentary as a would-be reporter for the Discovery Channel but also due to a complicated��encounter which leaves her no choice but to bring Meera back to Samar’s life.

It has to be said that ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ is very much a contemporary take on your typical Yash Chopra film. It’s packed with tear-jerking moments, songs to compliment the story and performances that only Chopra can take credit for. Chopra, when wearing the director’s hat, takes specific care of every little thing to totally absorb his audiences in the intermingling stories of the characters, and ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ is no different. One can’t help but fall in love with the greenery and scenery of the London backdrop as well as the calmness signified by the Ladakh landscape. Particularly in the London locations, Chopra has made sure that the portrayal is of a city which is rich in different cultures as well as weaving in the very Indian rooted mentalities of the protagonists.

The performances given��by all three of the films stars – Khan, Kaif and Sharma – are absolutely��appropriate to the storyline. Khan, as expected, reinvents his romantic self as Samar. There is not much one can say about an actor who expresses such emotions through his eyes that even the dialogues don’t do justice to. The ‘King of Romance’ tag has been given to him and ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ helps him prove it all over again. Kaif, it has to be said, doesn’t fit the conventional white-saree-wearing image that Chopra heroines are associated with but she plays the part of the modern but traditional Meera very well. Her chemistry with Khan perhaps helps her along the way, as does her subdued and lovelorn character. Somehow one can’t imagine Kaif in an extravagant and lavish costume or item song��in this film��and neither does she wear intricate traditional attire more than 3-4 times throughout the movie. Sharma’s performance as Akira is one that audiences will feel familiarity with due to her vivacious and one-of-the-lads antics which she has been known to play in previous films. She very much gives an otherwise heart-wrenching love story the push that it needs and, at the same time, brings that little spark that is necessary for it not to be over-emotional. Hats off to Sharma for keeping her own even in the scenes that one should or would be giving their attention to either Khan or Kaif. Rishi and Neetu Kapoor and��also Anupam Kher have cameos��which are a welcome addition to an otherwise very small ensemble cast.��Keep an eye out for British actor Ameet Chana in small parts too.

SRK-Anushka in 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'
SRK-Anushka in 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'

Although the soundtrack of ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, by the award-winning AR Rahman,��left a lot to be desired and perhaps didn’t impress as a whole but more in parts, it’s safe to say that the film gives each song a whole new meaning. Particular mention goes to Ishq Shava which has been fabulously choreographed by the hugely talented Vaibhavi Merchant and sung by Shilpa Rao and Bollywood debutante Raghav Mathur. The song gives a very fresh feel to its London surroundings and takes inspiration from American street dance somewhat. Challa is particularly significant too in��making an everyday location��a special one in Chopra’s portrayal of��the��city of��London.��A��special mention is also deserved for��the title track which plays in the background of the end credits to snippets of Chopra on the sets of the movie. There is a unique feeling that is to be had what with the lyrics and in witnessing Chopra’s last time as director.

What one finds with ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ -��which is a rarity in many films – is that the emotional connect for the cinema-goer seems to increase as the story unravels. It becomes more and more apparent in��one’s heart that Chopra’s romantic fantasies were unparalleled and will never be seen again on celluloid. For the right reasons, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ leaves you feeling sad that this is the finale of a director who died doing what he does best but also makes you feel a sense of clarity and relief that his talents were very much��appreciated in the days he was alive.

‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’��could not be a more��beautiful and fitting tribute to Chopra. It leaves you swooning and teary-eyed in all the right places as well as finding a place in your heart in a creeping-up-on-you kind of way. There are no larger than life expressions of love or romance in this one but more a real and endearing story coupled with staunch emotion. In fact, some of Akira’s last lines sum up the movie perfectly, “This is not a story about courage. This is not even a story about miracles. This is a simple story about love!” Yash Chopra bids us adieu with a love story that defines him and his very clear-cut��sentiments about love. In turn, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ will always stand tall because of Chopra’s very essence incorporated within it.

BizAsia Showbiz rating: 4/5

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