Jab Tak Hai Jaan – Bachaa Ke Bhaago
November 16, 2012 3 Comments
I dont want to say that Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a bad movie. That would be too generous on the man who gave us Kabhi Kabhi and Silsila. I don’t want to pity him after his death. I do feel bad though. His last outing was Veer Zaara, which even at an indulgent pace, and with extreme hyperbole, had traces of Yash Chopra that made it tolerable. And it had a bunch of good actors playing their part, including the music department.
JTHJ is a finely crafted bouquet of mediocrity from one of the most resourceful production houses of the country. Yash Chopra can rope in exotic locales, big actors, expansive sets, color coordinated choreographed sequences, so his is not the story of someone having to make intellectual compromises because he ran out of resources. His is a case of either dying at the wrong time (which meant that he did not look at the last version of his product) or a case of blatant idiocy. Given the extremely emotional end-credits footage, I will go with the latter.
For those who prefer short reviews, summary reasons why I disliked the movie (detailed later)-
1. Bad Script
2. Horrible acting
3. Ridiculous pace
4. Painful set pieces
5. Murder of some good music
6. 45 year old SRK as a 28 year old street singer
7. End of debate about Anushka’s “potential”
The good thing was that there were some 7-8 trailers – Race2, Talaash, Dabangg 2, Mere Dad ki Maruti, Khiladi 786, Twilight, and a couple I am forgetting. Also, the 5-10 minutes of banter between SRK and his friend in the second half is better than the rest of the movie (its a pity that IMDB or several other sources do not identify his friend’s real name). And yeah, one stand out dialogue, which comes from Rishi Kapoor – “Har ishq ka ek waqt hota hai!”
I want to spare SRK a bit on this movie. He is the only one who holds this movie together, despite not being the best suited for the role.
Side story: Someone asked how do I end up watching these movies (SOTY, JTHJ, kinds) – and a conjecture is that biwi says we are going, and I say yes ma’m. However, as you know, life is more complicated than that. It will be unfair to blame the biwi completely. I should rather blame it on my undying optimism. That some day, that one day, that once in my lifetime, someone in this industry would actually spend money on a good script and then back it up with insane amount of funding to create an end product that I’d fall in love with. So much so that I would come out of the theater only to walk right back in for another show. Philosophical shite aside, this is how it happened -
Mom-and-dad (biwi’s parents) are in town for Diwali. As I was leaving for the station to pick them up, biwi casually mentioned – “before I forget, and in case I haven’t told you, we are watching JTHJ tomorrow. 11 AM. So, if you were making any plans…”.
I said – “OK. By the way, is the ticket for today or for tomorrow? Since today is a chutti as well.”
Next day morning 10AM. “Shit! The ticket was for yesterday”.
“Shit. I asked you to check”(laughing heartily inside my head).
“Shit Shit Shit!”.
“We can’t book online now. Less than an hour left. Lets go to the theater and check”.
“Hmm. I think we will get it. Morning show hai yaar.”(Wildly happy by now, in the hope that there are enough idiots out there who would want to watch this one, and the show would be sold out. And then, we would watch Son of Sardar) (NO! You cannot ask me why SOS would be any better!)
Happily drives for the next 20-25 minutes. Asks biwi to go get the ticket while parking, hoping to get a call announcing the inevitable. Call happens. Tickets have been procured.
“Ticket mil gayee. Kahaan ho?”, she says.
Sends a curse up the air. Parks, throws a few curses under his breath, and the house-band marches on to Screen 7 of PVR Cinemas, Phoenix MarketCity, Kurla (the one which announces – learn to say Kurla with an accent- yep- that one).
Now then, the detailing -
1. Bad script. The number of loopholes being what they are, and historically, not a real problem for someone like me, the number of idiotic things that happen in the movie are mind boggling. A man with a case of retrograde amnesia walks into a cordoned off area because of a bomb scare starts saying something about the bomb and the Brit cops are more than happy to let him touch the bomb and go about detonating it. Obviously the fact that its a train station is not so important. And that guy is a brown guy in a white country isnt either. In a separate scene, a chick strips down to bare essentials and doesnt feel the sting of cold air in Leh. Another man is sitting in a t-shirt. And when she jumps into water, the cold water numbs the senses of a national level swimmer within 5 seconds to such an extent that she drowns. But the other man manages to get her out of water, and comfortably drive away in his wet suit. Well! The bomb diffusion scene (first one) seems like a straight lift from The Hurt Locker.
2. Horrible acting – Katrina Kaif, by herself, is usually good enough to take care of the acting problems. The others, by halo effect, look like good actors. In this movie, Anushka and Katrina are fiercely competitive. Katrina wins by one expression. That is, she has one, while Anushka has two. Expressions.
Katrina has an amazing happy expression, where she is romantically running around or dancing or whatever with some good or average music in the background. Her second expression is one of extreme disinterest. No expression at all. She mouths dialogues, but the face remains the same, and as the biwi points out – her eyebrows dont move at all. At all! Now, pan the camera (slowly and romantically) on Anushka. She is better. She has two expressions. One that classifies her as the true born of a Punjabi family. Everything is – O Teri kinds! And the second is when she is the true born Punjabi who is trying to hold her emotion back but a traitor tear finds its way out. You know the happy sad tragic kinds. There is no third expression really that comes to mind (or screen) when you think of her.
3. Ridiculous pace – The movie moves at a pace which is in line with the old age parable involving a hare and a tortoise where eventually the slow and the steady wins the race. Unfortunately, no one in that parable defined till what speed can it be considered “slow” and for what duration can it be called “steady”. The movie makes you check your watch so often that if you carry a set of dumb-bells to the movie and wear a watch on both your wrists, you will surely come out with Arnie – biceps.
4. Painful and inappropriate music set pieces – This one is a traditional strength of YR. Remember “Aaya tere dar pe deewana” from Veer Zaara. Ridiculous scene but music used well. Ends with Shahrukh wearing a black shawl and looking on with intense eyes. Yeah. This one, however, sets up a dance sequence where KK will dance to her hearts glory (on the streets, true Step Up style) and discover her inner peace. Way I see it, the sequence features some good dancers as extras/foils who are relegated to the background, to highlight an amazingly un-graceful dancer (KK) and an otherwise extremely energetic dancer (SRK) who has a broken back and who is well past his expiry date when it comes to dancing. So, it looks comical. And a wasted opportunity. Maybe, then, that was the idea. And it bloody goes on for close to ten minutes with the Ishq Dance followed by Ishq Shava. Phew! So much for a generation which is fed Jhalak Dikhla Ja and Dance India Dance and similar shows at least 4-5 days a week (and with multiple reruns across channels, including news channels)
5. Death of some good music – Heer is a brilliant track. I loved playing it on loop. Sadly, once you’ve seen Katrina emote that one on screen, it loses all emotions. She spoilt the song for me. Thankfully, not so much that I can’t listen to it anymore. Likewise, Challa is a good song where the chosen voice does not sound like it belongs to SRK. And once you see SRK on the screen jumping on the song, it becomes worse.
6. End of debate around Anushka’s potential – Now I am convinced that she is not good for anything else but playing the happy punjabi kudi. That, thankfully, she does quite well.
7. SRK as a 45 year old 28 year old guy – PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK, will you? Wasn’t it enough that Aamir Khan was playing a gyaani 17 year old guy in 3-idiots? That guy at least tries to look more earnest about getting his walk,talk right.
8. The movie is a barrage of set pieces where the lead actors (or supporting cast) have the opportunity to deliver some amazing cheesebally suger coated syrupy inanities. The kinds that when spoken in real life, amongst good friends, especially when you’re young, are bound to draw guffaws. Imagine you talking to your girlfriend, and saying things like – “meri aur xyz ki kahaani us adhoori kitaab ki tarah hai jinke panne umr ke thapedon mein dhundhle se ho gaye hain. kuch harf nazar nahi aate, kuch sirf khayalon mein hain!” I mean, really, do you expect your friends to empathise with this profound statement. Most likely, they will hold silent for, exactly, maybe, 5 seconds. And then, hell shall break loose. But anyway, YR is known for getting away with those profound moments, making generations of women believe that true love happens when there are roses blooming, people standing on the alps in nothing but a t-shirt, and people narrating love poems in uber cool baritones – jab tak hai jaan, jab tak hai jaan.
Last thought – Jab tak hai jaan… bachaa ke bhaag lo. OR, if there was a positive spin to it – “Dekh lo. iske baad sab kuch acha lagega, jab tak rahegi jaan”