Jab Tak Hai Jaan


*This post is full of spoilers, I’ve discussed the entire script, so if you haven’t seen the film but want to see it, avoid reading this.

This movie will always be remembered for three things:

1-      The last film directed by Yash Chopra: Yash Chopra died while directing this film. The film was complete except for one last song—the title song. After Yashji died, Aditya, his son decided not to shoot the song. The song was added at the end of the movie with picturization of Yashji directing JTHJ.

2-      Shahrukh Khan’s first onscreen kiss. So Shahrukh decided to kiss on screen but the kiss did not live up to expectations.

3-      Anushka Sharma wearing the shortest shorts possible and that too in Kashmir!

The film starts off showing Major Samar Anand (Shahrukh) and Akira (Anushka). Samar Anand is a bomb diffusal expert in the Indian Army and Akira is an intern for the London Discovery Channel. Samar saves Akira from drowning and gives her his coat. When she takes off the coat, a diary falls out and Akira starts reading. This is when we go back ten years to London to see the story of how Samar met and fell in love with Meera (Katrina).

Meera is introduced to us in a church, where she has a few seconds flashback to her childhood. I always get stuck on details and I of course caught that the girl who played Meera as a child has a British accent. But Meera ki accent British toh nahi. Isn’t it funny how Katrina Kaif has spent almost all of her career playing an Indian girl who grows up in England when she has only spent a few years of her life there in reality.

Meera is a weird girl. She loves making vows to God. She asks for something and vows to give up something in return. I think this role could have been played convincingly, if only a good actor had been casted. The casting of Katrina as Meera was the worst idea. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to about this film feels that Katrina ruined this movie. She has the same expressions in every scene, actually she doesn’t have an expression. She looks as if she’s staring at a blank wall the entire time.

Katrina had done a fairly good job in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan but after that, she had some botox done for Chikni Chameli. Her face is not as swollen in JTHJ as it was in Ek Tha Tiger, but it still had an bad impact on her facial expressions in my opinion. Also, the role of Meera is not an easy one. She is a girl who is stuck between emotions. She is struggling between love and her promises to God. Only a versatile and excellent actress could have portrayed Meera well. Katrina was not able to express any of the emotions that Meera should have been feeling and this is why her relationships with God and Samar are unconvincing. She is neither able to convince us of her love nor her bond with God.

Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh are in a scene of the movie. Neetu Singh is Meera’s mother, who had fallen in love with another man and left her husband and daughter when Meera was fairly young. It was interesting to see Neetu hug and kiss who could possibly be her real life future daughter-in-law. For some reason Rishi and Neetu are always given these special appearances as a role model real life couple. Has anyone noticed Rishi Kappor’s ever growing girth? I’m afraid it’s going to pass the earth’s circumference soon. I think he accepted this special appearance just to drink wine in England.

Let’s come to the kiss scene. I’ve already mentioned that it was bad. The kiss was not good, it was unconvincing. But I have to say that everything else about that scene was perfect. If we were to take that exact scene, exact location and background music and replace Shahrukh and Katrina with two other people, it would have been great. I loved how it was totally quiet in the beginning of that scene. It was a simple scene but there was intensity to it. Of course the actual kiss ruined it and where there should have been goosebumps, there was laughter. People in the theatre laughed when Shahrukh said “Meera, agar main tumhe kiss karunga, toh kya tum mujhe thappad marungi?” Bad dialogue yaar!

The most important scene of the film is when Samar gets into a traffic accident and his heart stops. This is the moment when both Samar and Meera’s fate changes. Meer suddenly realizes that she is responsible for this. Because she had made a vow to God that she would not cross the line and get into a relationship with Samar. But she did. So to fix things, she makes another pact with God on the spot. She says that if God saves Samar’s life, she will never see Samar again. It seems like the believability of this entire film depends on the believability of this one scene. So did you believe it? Meera certainly believes it. She literally walks away while Samar is being taken to the hospital. She doesn’t even follow him there!

I don’t know why but this scene reminded me a lot of an episode in Gossip Girl. It’s the same scenario there.

When Samar gets out of the hospital and finds out why Meera is avoiding him, he naturally gets furious and decides to make a pact with God himself. Meera thinks that if she’s with Samar, Samar will die. So Samar decides to show her that her whole ideology is *bullshit (pardon my language), by going away to India and putting himself at risk every single day until he dies. Wow what a great way to prove that Meera is wrong! Did he ever wonder if Meera would even find out that he has died, if he does indeed die? So funny!

So Samar returns to India, thinking that Meera is going to marry her fiancé and he joins the Indian Army to become Major Samar Anand—the man who cannot die. Everyday, he diffuses bombs without wearing any protective equipment but has never been hurt. By the way, can someone go up to the rank of Major in ten years?

The flashback is over and we are back to present day where Akira is trying to get a full time job with the Discovery Channel. And she gets approval to do one documentary where she will be following and shooting Major Samar Anand defusing bombs.

Major Samar Anand is very different from the happy-go-lucky Samar who was doing odd jobs in London. He is serious, not very friendly and HOT! Sharukh looks yummy in a beard! Akira, the girl who jumps in freezing lakes, who wears shorts and sleeveless tops in Kashmir and who has dreams of working in conflict zones and sleeping with lots of men, falls in love with Major Samar Anand.

Anushka was a savior for this movie. Her fresh acting, expressive face and full on attitude makes us take a breath after watching the palanquin that is Katrina Kaif. Anushka added a lot of quality acting to this film, but this film became a turning point for her in not so great ways in real life. This film and Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola are the last films where we get to see a natural and cute Anushka. After this film, Anushka went for botox/cosmetic surgery to change her features, particularly her lips. She looks like a different person now. They say that the pressure of being called “not so pretty” by people like Aditya Chopra from her very first film and her admiration of Katrina Kaif’s looks finally took a toll on her and made her go for surgery. It’s sad, because I love Anushka as she is.

Akira finishes her documentary and goes to London. Her boss loves the documentary but Samar Anand has to come to London to meet them so that the story can be approved. Akira begs Samar to come and he does. But what luck! As soon as he arrives in London, he gets run over by a car. So realistic na? Because of the accident, he develops retrograde amnesia, where he forgets the entire past ten years. His memory is back to the first accident he had in London with Meera. When he wakes up, he doesn’t recognize Akira and keeps asking for Meera.

Akira finds Meera and convinces her to see Samar at the hospital. When Meera sees Samar in the hospital, it’s like they never separated. Both are just as in love as they were before. Meera starts playing Samar’s wife for a while in hopes that his memory will return soon. Was this part necessary? Of course not, but the script needed a way to get the two to spend time together I guess.

Samar meets Akira for what he thinks the first time and Akira gets to see the old Samar. She’s shocked when this Samar says that his family were all in the army but he doesn’t want to join because he’s scared of guns and bombs. She realizes that the old Samar was full of life and Meera is very important for him.

One day, when Samar is at the subway station, there is a bomb found on the train. By impulse, he goes to the bomb and starts telling the police the characteristics of the bomb. He starts diffusing the bomb, by the time he has finished, all of his memories have returned. He leaves the scene by saying that he is Major Samar Anand from the Indian Army.

Samar tests Meera by asking her to come to a church so that they can marry again. Meera refuses and Samar faces her. Samar says that he has now understood that Meera loves God more than him. He is going back to India, he will continue living and loving her. Akira sends Samar off at the airport. This scene is very touching. Samar says that before he does, he will ask God for another life to love Akira. So original isn’t it? Samar leaves by telling Akira to not become like him and Akira says that it’s too late. Aww.

Now the last scene, Samar is again diffusing a bomb somewhere in Kashmir and in the vicinity he sees Meera, in a plain but beautiful white churidar. Yashji loved his heroines in white—from Sridevi to Madhuri to Juhi, they all wore white plain sarees and churidars in Yashji’s movies. Yashji always portrayed his heroines like angels and Katrina also looks like an angel in this final scene. Meera says that she has also spent these ten years, dying every day like Samar. It took her ten years to understand a simple thing, that God hasn’t kept Samar alive without her, he kept Samar alive for her. Samar asks, why she didn’t understand this sooner. Meera says that she had said from the beginning, that it takes her time to understand things.

Samar walks away to diffuse one last bomb, he tells Meera not to make any vows because even God can’t keep him from returning to her. The film ends with Akira’s presentation about Samar and Samar and Meera coming together at last. Samar asks Meera to marry him and she says yes. Samar also quits the bomb diffusal unit, he doesn’t want to die anymore.

Finally, I want to mention the songs. Most of the songs are good, I think the album of this film has been a surprise. For example, Sans is a very different song than the kind of romantic tracks we get nowadays. It reminds us of 90s songs. I think it’s very good, definitely very romantic. When the reprise version of this song was played later on in the scene when Meera sees Samar in the hospital, for the first time after 10 years, I got goosebumps. That scene was the only scene in the movie that got to me. I should mention however that the picturization of Saans could have been better. The picturization was too active and fast for the song which is quite slow.

Ishq Shava is the other song I like from the film. It has a fabulous dance sequence immediately before where Katrina proves once again that she’s a great dancer. Ishq Shava was shot on some kind of massive boat on water at night in London. So they were basically freezing throughout that song.  The song sounds very Persian in parts and does have some Farsi lyrics.

Challa is also a good song, but it’s Punjabi so it was hard for me to get the lyrics. It has a nice beat though. Jiya re is also a good song. I just hate the clothes Anushka was wearing in it. Too skimpy!

Srk trying to protect Katrina from the snowfall during the shooting of JTHJ. He’s such a sweetheart.

In conclusion, the movie is okay. I think the expectations for the film were too high and with the casting of Katrina and some issues with the script (Meera’s relationship with God), the movie fell short of the expectations. But it still did well at the box office. If nothing else, it’s a tribute to Yashji, so I think it’s worth seeing because it’s Yashji’s last film.

RIP Yashji

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