Movie Review: JAB TAK HAI JAAN (2012)
Yash Chopra is a legendary filmmaker. And with his recent death, he has left behind a legacy of amazing movies that were all ahead of their time. But I’m sad to say that his last film will not share that acclaim. Here’s my Movie Review of JAB TAK HAI JAAN…
1 Out Of 5 Stars
JAB TAK HAI JAAN reunites Director Yash Chopra with his favorite muse, Shah Rukh Khan, along with some fresh blood for another supposed epic romance. However, this film seems more like a ‘greatest hits’ of every cliché that Bollywood has provided over the decades.
The film features a supposed young Shah Rukh Khan as Samar, an Indian immigrant in London who meets and falls in love with Katrina Kaif’s Meera, with disastrous results. We’re shown a different Samar in the beginning of the movie though, as a gruff and grumpy Bomb Squad officer in the Indian Army, who refuses to wear any protective gear, implying a tragic and bitter past through his reckless and badass attitude. Of course, what else could it be? That quality is also ripped off directly from THE HURT LOCKER.
At the same time, we’re introduced to Anushka Sharma’s Akira, a budding journalist from the Discovery Channel, who happens to stumble upon Samar’s personal and intimate diary, where he articulates his tragic love story that ends with him becoming the grumpy old man he is now. This is where the problems of the movie start, as Akira’s reading of the diary is how the story unfolds, in flashback sequences of the younger Samar and Meera, a narrative device that is so over used, but not the worst one in the movie. Thankfully it doesn’t last too long.
After discovering his tragic love story through the diary, Akira falls in love with Samar herself and gets to spend more time with him, under the guise of being assigned to his Army unit to tell his life & love story on The Discovery Channel. That’s just stupid. The Discovery Channel doesn’t feature human-interest love stories. It’s even stupider to see Akira flirting with him during the filming of her documentary, while he’s trying to disarm a bomb! It’s supposed to be cutesy and how she breaks his tough exterior by being bubbly, but I’m left stunned at the complete irresponsibility on his part for allowing this to happen.
Also, isn’t this a very ‘home wrecker’-like quality being shown in Akira? She falls in love with a guy solely because he had a previous relationship that ended badly, to the point where she then schemes and plots to have him fall in love with her? What does that say about her as a person? Especially considering how she just up and leaves him with his ex when he gets Amnesia and doesn’t remember her anymore. Obviously he wasn’t worth all that work. Tsk Tsk.
Let’s get to Samar’s first love, Katrina Kaif’s Meera. The flashbacks show us how they met, which is another ridiculous cliché. Meera is set up as a character with strong belief in God who believes that whenever she asks God for something, she must give something back in return. So after Samar meets with an accident, Meera prays to God to spare his life, and in return, she’ll never see him again. (What?!) So Samar lives, and Meera keeps her promise to God, by breaking up with him. That’s it. That’s the conflict with which their ‘epic love story’ comes to an end. This is the ‘tragedy’ that causes Samar to go all dark. The complete retarded-ness of this is further exasperated when Samar, who then curses God for ‘taking his love away from him’, (like his role in MOHABBATEIN) vows to go on a mission to prove Katrina’s faith in God wrong by being reckless with his life. The bomb squad. No safety gear. Get it?
Despite this, the ‘conflict’ is completed negated by the end, when Meera & Samar hook up again, despite Meera’s ‘promise to God’. Basically rendering the entire story of the movie that we suffered through for 3 hours, completely moot.
As stupid as the movie was up until this point, if the story focused on Akira & Samar’s love story winning out in the end, then there might have been some redeeming factors. But no. Other convoluted plot points cause Khan to return to London causing him to meet with another accident resulting in Amnesia, forcing Kaif to return in his life, as advised by the expert as the typical Amnesia Doctor, a staple in Bollywood cinema dating back to the 70’s.
I really want there to be a count of how many ridiculous plot points are crammed into this movie. Every scene introduces a new plot point, a new conflict that’s over in 5 minutes, (like the whole Meera’s mom sub plot) and a new gimmick that has to be overcome before reaching the next plot point. That was probably the most entertaining aspect of this movie; the completely unpredictable thrill ride of cliché after cliché that appeared on screen every few moments.
Despite being a 3 hour-long movie, no sequence has proper development, which makes all the plot points and characterizations have no effect on the audience. The love story between Khan & Kaif is rushed. The interaction and development of friendship between Sharma & Khan feel forced. Sharma’s rejection by Khan has no impact. For a movie so long, every single act is rushed in order to get to the next convoluted plot point as quickly as possible.
JAB TAK HAI JAAN is not a good movie. It can’t even boast of good performances. Shah Rukh Khan is inconsistent in his portrayal of Samar, who basically emotes like every Khan role in history. Katrina Kaif does nothing extraordinary. And even Anushka Sharma, one of my favorite actresses, hams it up to the point of annoyance and suicidal thoughts during the viewing. The film itself has no redeeming qualities as it fails across the board in almost every single aspect. JAB TAK HAI JAAN is nothing more than a compilation of all the clichés that has cause international audiences to roll their eyes when a ‘Bollywood’ movie is mentioned.
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How do you feel about Yash Chopra’s last movie?