Jab Tak Hai Jaan has too many strong competitors. Chandni,Daag,Silsila,Kabhi Kabhi, Lamhe, Darr,Dil to Pagal hai, Veer Zara to name a few in the romance genre. This film just about manages to live up to the illustrious filmmaker, Yash Chopra’s image and body of work, notwithstanding the never ending, old fashioned script.
The Chopra elements are all there: beautiful landscape, the faith in undying and unforgotten love, beautifully cherished women ,a hero who loves like none other, a stellar star cast. However, the film lacks the one important factor which made Yash Chopra films special: boldness in thought and character. Here it falls totally thanks to Aditya Chopra’s story and dialogue stuck in time, marathon screenplay(Aditya Chopra,Devika Bhagat) and the dragging sentiment of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and Veer Zara.
The film is set in London (where else).The snow falls. Samar (Shah Rukh Khan) digs snow for a living. His eyes fall on Meera (Katrina Kaif)running towards a Church. Cupid strikes…”Pehli baar barf mein pari ko tairte hue dekha tha..” He follows her to the Church. Enters the main villain, Jesus Christ. Meera believes in making pacts with her God .Every time she wants something, she lets go of what she loves the most. So after some guitar strumming, serving as a waiter and giving gyan to Meera near a dustbin, dancing wildly with her, winning her over, he meets with an accident. Meera makes another pact with Jesus and the lovers separate for life. Samar, miraculously is now in the Indian army, diffusing his 98th bomb because he is “the man who cannot die”.
Between the 98th bomb and his 108th,he meets Akira (Anushka Sharma)who has a 'fitoor’ of getting her first break with Discovery Channel with Samar’s crazy love story. She belongs to the new wave ”instant make out, instant breakup” generation who wants to know what intense love is like. Several convoluted twists in the script later, Samar meets Meera again. The film gets longer than ever.
Shah Rukh Khan, well into his late 40s,has mastered both lover boy charm and intense passion. He slips easily from the playful Samar with Meera to the cynic Samar with Akira. Unfortunately neither Yash Chopra’s direction nor her silly characterization can help Katrina Kaif deliver any of the intensity required. Anushka as the sprightly and spunky Akira can win any heart over and sustains one’s interest in the film.
A.R Rehman’s music and Gulzar’s lyrics fail to match their own genius as well as the magic of Kabhi Kabhi and Lamhe. Aditya Chopra’s much hyped poem ”jab tak hai jaan” is as much an attempt at intensity as his script. Anil Mehta’s cinematography reflect’s Yash Chopra’s love for the grandeur.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan despite little jaan, may work for Yash Chopra loyalists, Shah Rukh Khan’s ample charm and his somewhat shy first screen kiss.