Major Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) is known as the Man Who Cannot Die – the man who constantly puts his life at risk, yet somehow survives every encounter. While resting near a lake (after defusing his 98th bomb), Samar ends up saving the vivacious Akira’s (Anushka Sharma) life. He leaves Akira with his jacket and (unintentionally) his diary, which records his story and his love for Meera (Katrina Kaif), the girl he left behind in London. This diary takes the story back ten years, where we learn of the circumstances that brought him to Meera, and then wrenched the couple apart.
You may be considering watching Jab Tak Hai Jaan for the obvious emotional reasons of it being Yash Chopra‘s last film, but does it live up to the standards set by this ace filmmaker? Read our Pros and Cons list to find out.
+ It’s a typical Yash Chopra romance – the larger than life variety that makes you fall in love with love – the quintessential, pure, unconditional love. It’s a treat to see such a story on screen again, because it’s been a while – in a day and age where there’s a naughty romcom around every corner, there’s something so charming about this old-fashioned love that’s reminiscent of 90’s Bollywood. It’s also chock-full of some beautiful moments the director is known for, as well as some lovely dialogues that are, thankfully, not over-the-top.
+ It has a contemporary streak. Even with the old-fashioned ideas of love, Yash Chopra makes sure to add some modern elements to ensure that the film is not completely out-of-touch. These characters kiss (yes, there is a lip-lock scene – Shah Rukh has broken his rule!), they swear (though it’s limited to “What the fu**?”), and they talk about sex.
+ The performances. 17 years separates Raj Malhotra (DDLJ) and Samar Anand, but still Shah Rukh Khan’s ability to make you fall in love with a character on screen has not diminished in the slightest. He charms your socks off as the carefree Samar in the 2002 portions of the film, and draws you in as the intense, brooding Major Samar Anand during 2012. Katrina looks lovely in every frame, and does well with her role – she impresses in the Ishq Shava and the dance portions prior to it. Anushka is a complete natural as the spirited girl, a role similar to those she has done in Band Baajaa Baaraat and Badmaash Company.
+ Stunning cinematography. Every location is captured beautifully, and each scene is a visual treat – especially the Ladakh portions of the film.
– It drags in parts. While I really enjoyed the first half, the pace slows in the second half, thanks in part to several clichés that are thrown in. A tighter screenplay, and a more impactful second half would have made this film that much better.
– The concept. This is an entirely personal choice, but I felt that the circumstances that separated Samar and Meera were weak. For example, in Veer-Zaara, it’s Veer’s imprisonment that keeps the two lovers apart – but in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, the circumstances are purely internal and could have been overcome with just a change of mind on the part of one of the characters. “Change of mind” may perhaps be over simplifying things, but in essence that’s what it is. This is why I personally couldn’t feel as invested in the struggle of the two characters (as I was in Veer-Zaara), because I just wanted to shake one and tell them to get over it.
Worth a watch, if only to experience that larger-than-life love story on screen once more – but be forewarned of a lengthy runtime and a slow second-half. (3.5/5 stars.)