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Jab Tak Hai Jaan  : Love Means… Celebrating Celibacy
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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Romance
Late Yash Chopra
Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh
Take away the maudlin element from Yash Chopra’s swan song and it’s tough to stay objective. But if truth be told the veteran’s final bow is a drag as rationality is AWOL (Absent Without Leave) and dives deep for far too long on the enforced complexity of true love.

The plot: Major Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) from the Bomb Disposal Unit of the Indian Army has diffused his 98th bomb without a shiver or a bomb suit. Much like Amitabh Bachchan in Trishul who set off detonators without a backward glance or AB again in Kaala Patthar who courted death because something had already died within him, Samar too, has no fear of death. Chirpy Discovery Channel intern Akira (Anushka Sharma) becomes privy to his secret diary with daily scribbles and off we go on a story set in London a decade ago.

A story of intense passion, the love story of Meera (Katrina Kaif) who has frequent deals with ‘Sir Jesus’ (God, do this for me and I’ll give up chocolates/smoking etc) and Samar who only knows love as a pure passion that must end at the altar. But Meera forces him to end their saga, banishing him far away from London to fulfil a promise she has made to God. Awestruck by the sacrifice and passion of Samar’s love for Meera, Akira of the love-them-and-leave-them gen falls headlong in love with him. It remains unrequited but she does her bit in getting Samar to face his past and Meera again.

The good: Fabulous low angle shots, exquisite locations tailor-made for romance and a teary-eyed Shah Rukh in a milieu of snowfall, have all been seen several times before. However, Yash Chopra creates the clichés and makes you fall in love with them all over again. Love and separation diffused with tears and confusion once again dominate the screenplay (Aditya Chopra and Devika Bhagat) but there is unbridled sincerity seeping through at all times. Be it the knotty two-way love or the sympathetic one-way traffic, deep waves of empathy are evoked, even if there is little justification for the long separations.

Anil Mehta, the man behind the camera, should stand up and get an ovation for gift-wrapping the frames so beautifully.

Shah Rukh Khan as Samar is splendid – and hot too, in the love scenes. The light kisses are a first for him, even if the rest of his role is not.  Katrina looks ethereal, full stop. It is Anushka who notches up what may be called a good performance.

Rishi Kapoor and Neetu are perfectly cast in a guest appearance.

The bad: The intent of the story-teller was undoubtedly to discover and paint a new stroke on an old emotion called love. However, in the bargain, the story (Aditya Chopra) is unabashedly unconvincing. If it is covered up engagingly, it is because of Yash Chopra’s charming and simple directorial touches. If only the story was free of logical hiccups!

The detailing in the time lapses has sometimes been overlooked. eg. Katrina’s no-change look even after 10 years.

The demanding 3-hour length does remind one of YRF’s Ek Tha Deewana which took equally long to unspool. Perhaps someone at Yashraj is far too much in love with their films to use the scissors when necessary.

A major minus would be AR Rahman’s mediocre tracks and barely average background score.

Overall: If you don’t mind a story that takes logic for granted and you love the hoary Yashraj clichés, go for it at least to experience a feeling of intense love.

- Pooja Thakkar

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