There’s Shah Rukh Khan. There’s Katrina Kaif. There’s Anushka Sharma. Cherry on the cake – Yash Chopra is the director. And, as far as expectations go, the sky’s the limit. After all, we all know what a cast like this can deliver. The king of romance Yash Chopra has scored again. Only, this film is probably his most memorable as it was his last. Even at the age ripe old age of 80, Mr Chopra delivers a love story of the kind that not many young filmmakers of today can pull off.
It’s a simple love story with many, many twists. And when you’re leaving the auditorium, you’re convinced that romance has never been portrayed like this before. In a word, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is no less than an experience. An experience for movie lovers and for those who believe in love. The one-man woman and one-woman man concept may belong to a bygone era but the way it has been presented in JTHJ makes you believe in this ‘old-fashioned’ concept all over again.
How many filmmakers, today, can make a film that lasts almost three hours and yet keeps the audience hanging onto every word, every sequence? Well, Yash Chopra was among this elite group. In the very first frame, you’re introduced to an army major who lives in his own world, one where he has taken refuge with a secret he’s hiding. He lives by himself. The pain in his eyes and the angst that gnaws away at him are beautifully introduced, in just a few lines uttered by Shah Rukh Khan. It’s all very subtle. Three protagonists falling in love – why and how. And they decide to live without the one they’re in love without uttering a single word. Very poignant, very moving.
Story: This is the simple story of a happy-go-lucky person who lives in London. He doesn’t mind taking up any old job because he doesn’t want to follow his family tradition and join the army. He meets a girl who’s in search of herself. She doesn’t know what she wants in life and is not aware of her likes and dislikes. She believes in God and that if God has the power to give her something, he also has the power to take it away from her. They meet, they fall in love. Then the girl decides to walk out of his life. A simple happy-go-lucky guy turns into a heartless man waiting for death. Ten years later, a young woman enters his life. She’s interested in him but he does not reciprocate her feelings. What follows forms the crux of the film.
Once automatically assumes that since the film features one guy and two gals, it’s a love triangle. In a way, that’s true as both women are in love with the same man but he loves only one of them. He’s a one-woman guy. Even in the most elaborate love stories, the writer and director find it difficult to establish two people falling in love convincingly. But here, we have two women falling in love with same man, in a short span of time. Simply genius and the biggest triumph of the film.
As mentioned earlier, the story is simple and, but for a few twists, there’s nothing new. The screenplay is tight and keeps you engrossed. There are a few scenes that remind you of several Hollywood films, especially when SRK asks Katrina Kaif to join him and his friends at a party and the latter dances likes there’s no tomorrow. It’s almost lifted from the Titanic. The vineyard scene (with Neetu and Rishi Kapoor) also reminds you of a yesteryear Hollywood film. But you ignore these ‘lifts’ because they have been woven into in the script beautifully and conveyed brilliantly on celluloid by the master of romance, Yash Chopra.
The way Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif’s paths cross intermittently is presented very sweetly. Also, their first encounter is superb. However, Yash Chopra’s true brilliance is palpable during the railway station scene, where SRK decides to kiss Kaif. But the scenes that follow – where Kaif takes an oath in church and later decides to break it – take your breath away. Even SRK’s parting shot to Kaif, where he asks her to “go”, is heart-wrenching!
Yash Chopra is known for his ability to hook the audience to every single moment in the film and he does it again, in JTHJ. And they linger even after the end credits roll. The initial portion of the second half contrasts with the first half, where Anushka Sharma is a girl of today who believes in living every moment of life to the fullest. There are moments that make you laugh till she realises that she, too, is in love, something she has never believed in.
But the biggest twist in the tale is introduced once SRK arrives in London once again. Here, both the women and the protagonist are together, both women are aware of their feelings for him, and still they have no choice but to be civil to each other. No one could have presented this sequence as deftly as Yash Chopra does in JTHJ.
The climax is another highlight of the film, where the two lovers are united and the third person speaking highly about their relationship. If the interval of Yash Chopra’s Waqt is considered one of the best interval points in Hindi cinema, the climax of JTHJ is among the best climax scenes the Indian audience has ever watched.
The length of the film will have the audience divided down the middle. But the second half could have been shorter. Directorially, Yash Chopra delivers one of his best. He will always be remembered as the king of romance. Cinematography is first-rate. Dialogue is simply superb. Music (A R Rahman) goes well with the mood of the film and it’s the choreography (especially Ishq Shava) of every song that further raises the bar. Background score, once again by A R Rahman, is one of the highlights of the film.
Performance-wise, Shah Rukh Khan delivers another award-winning performance. It’s not easy for an actor to play two diverse characters in the same film, and that too with such élan. Kudos to SRK! This is undoubtedly Katrina Kaif’s best to date. She looks stunning and emotes well. Anushka Sharma’s performance is another asset to the film. She is mind-blowing. Sarika is fantastic. Anupam Kher in a blink-and-miss role, is good. Others lend adequate support.
Verdict: JTHJ is not just a masterpiece in the romantic genre; it is an experience for movie-goers. Don’t miss it, experience it. Blockbuster.