Sunday, May 19, 2013
Last Updated: 19 May 10:23 AM IST
19 November 2012
LOVE is the sort of longing that drove Shakespeare to write, “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.” These lines depicted the lovesick Orsino’s longing for Olivia. Of very recent vintage, director Yash Chopra saw fit to add a little modification, namely, “If love be the food of love, then hang on… give excess of it that, surfeiting, the appetite may sicken but he will live.” This much can be surmised from the script of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, not by the sentiment, where Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) survives two accidents because he is The Man Who Cannot Die, flirting with death every time he diffuses a bomb without the protective apparel required. More the star-crossed lover at work than a duty-bound officer who believes, “Zindagi bomb se zyada zakhm deti hai lekin zindagi ke liye toh koi bomb suit nahi hai.”
This from a director who has given us classics like Silsila, Chandi, Kabhi Kabhi, Lamhe, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, Veer Zaara. The undisputed king of romance, Chopra goes overboard in his latest “Love is Life” venture. That said, it remains a fact that nobody can craft romance like the late Chopra, nor can anybody better embody it than Shah Rukh Khan, never mind the 40-plus symptoms, enrobed as an Army officer, a profession he adopts to challenge God, for reasons best known to God, and meets the vivacious, adventurous Akira (Anushka Sharma), who has no time for love and blatantly flaunts her penchant for one-night stands. From being a newbie in Bollywood, the six-film old Sharma has matured into a Yash Chopra heroine who easily pulls of the role assigned to her. Akira’s carefree attitude soon gives way to a full commitment, a must for the Chopra plot.
A love story it is, and since Chopra had us know in Dil Toh Pagal Hai that “someone somewhere is made for you”, he makes sure Jab Tak Hain Jaan doesn’t end up being a story of mismatches and missed matches. Result: Samar will be reunited with his first and true love and therefore we have the ravishing, radiant, rich, charismatic and expressionless Meera (Katrina Kaif). Indeed, a matter of wonder that this 29-film-old star who surely knows how to charm fails to impress. Kaif looks beautiful in every frame, but that’s it. She is no Kajol and that is precisely why, when she wraps herself in Shah Rukh’s arms while singing Saans mein Teri, the chemistry is missing. And this is exactly where Anushka outshines Katrina. Despite having one of the hottest numbers in the movie, Ishq Shava, which has already topped the charts, Katrina’s lacklustre performance fails to connect with the “sentiment of undying love” that a Yash Chopra movie is known for. But Anushka does justice to her role of second female lead in the film and offers a substantial performance, as an intern with the BBC. However, she still is the second lady and Chopra frowns at breaking the conventions of traditional society. It is Akira, now lovesick, in the second part of the movie, who unites her love with the love of his life. An accidental spotting of Samar’s diary lays bare the latter’s past and Akira discovers an accident had separated the two lovers and just a little later an accident will again unite them as Samar forgets everything after his second accident, save Meera.
If detailing is anything to go by, then Chopra was a master at that. Samar is just an imagination plucked out of the director’s mind and Shah Rukh Khan leaves no stone unturned to make Samar life-like. Be it the courageous Army man, the doting youth who roams about with a guitar, singing and doing odd jobs in London and the passionate lover who goes head-over-heels for a rich NRI girl, he excels in epitomising the ultimate Yash Chopra hero.
The plot is overlong and has very little to offer because of the predictability. But this 180-minute film is watchable, mainly for Anil Mehta’s cinematography. Pahalgam, Ladakh and London come across as picture-perfect dream destinations for romance. If the cinematography scores, then the music bores, for surely Rahman was not himself, at least not in this movie, as the songs are not “music to the ears”, at least not in the Rahamanian sense of the term.
And finally, the man himself – Yash Chopra, who is no more – and the Keatsian headline than serves to make one quietly remember a man who didn’t get the time to say the final “Cut”.