I am a die-hard SRK fan. No matter how ridiculous his antics or disheveled his hair, I will always admire him. It is getting tougher though to defend his choices, both on screen and otherwise. Ra.One was a disaster of epic proportions and Don 2 was a script that Farhan Akhtar wrote in his sleep. Add to that his desire to perform cartwheels and pick up fights, and you find yourself losing your faith in perhaps the biggest self-made superstar this country has seen. Yet, there is one undeniable truth – no one can romance like he does or at least I thought so till I saw this three hour truck load of unadulterated crap called Jab Tak Hai Jaan (JTHJ).
Neither the promos nor the fact that this was the late Yash Chopra’s last film were incentive enough for me to watch this movie in the first week – a ritual I have maintained for most SRK releases. But, as fate would have it, I eventually ended up watching the movie. My expectations were pretty mediocre and I was still disappointed. It beats me how the movie has managed to collect the supposed 100+ crores that it has because there is no concept of logic in this movie. Just when you think a scene is ridiculous, you are treated to something more harebrained.
The basic premise is as simple as it is stupid. SRK is a man of many talents. He can sing mellifluously, navigate through a busy marketplace with utmost ease, wait tables, clean up snow and lest I forget, also has a heart of gold. Then you have Katrina Kaif, playing a London born Indian who is ‘apparently’ a university topper but believes in things like leaving things to get things, getting things to leave them, crossing lines, forgetting about those lines and other such nonsensical stuff. Inevitably, their paths cross and they fall in love but not before some Ishq Shavaing and uncomfortable kissing. An accident that leaves SRK bloody leads to Katrina breaking up the relationship. A pissed SRK(to be honest, Katrina’s entire line of reasoning to stay away from SRK would piss off anybody) moves back to India, joins the army and becomes a bomb-detonation expert. He broods, defuses bombs with no security, broods, drives around on his bike, broods…you get the drill.
This story of love,passion,sacrifice brings Akira, an aspiring documentary maker(with very little emotion otherwise) to tears and she decides to tell SRK’s story to the world. In perhaps one of the movie’s more stupid scenes, Akira is shooting a bomb defusing exercise with her ipod on and accidentally steps onto the trigger, only to be saved in time by SRK. Oh wait, did I mention she wears really short shorts and tank tops throughout her journey with the army men, camps with them, becomes their backslapping buddies and the works. I am no expert on how the Indian Army works, but I am pretty sure that they do not allow civilians, irrespective of how hot they are, on field trips like this. It is difficult to get involved with the proceedings when there are distractions and illogical scenes like these in the movie.
Akira’s movie is liked by her bosses in London and they agree to air it on the condition that SRK flies down to London to corroborate some facts. With Katrina in the same city and so much dumbness attached to it, SRK obviously doesn’t agree initially but eventually surprises Akira by travelling to London. As fate would have it, he again ends up saving Akira but gets injured himself again. For someone named ‘the man who cannot die’, SRK sure does get involved in a lot of accidents!
SRK is diagnosed with retrograde amnesia – simply put, his yaadash is all screwed up and his memories since the first accident are erased. To make his recovery more swift and smooth, the doctor advises Akira to help put up an act where life is all good, SRK is married to Katrina and is a successful businessman. Unable to keep up the lying and the shenanigans after a point, Katrina decides to tell the truth, but then that wouldn’t be too dramatic now, would it? So instead, we have SRK thrown into a situation where there is a bomb to be defused. With robotic like precision that unfortunately reminded me of SRK in Ra.One, SRK’s expertise forces his memories to come flashing back. Overcome with a sense of betrayal, he refuses to stay in London and comes back to India to do what he does best – brood. Since the movie is already tediously long by this point, it is a great relief for the audience to see enlightenment dawn on Katrina who realizes she needs to be with SRK and we all get the happy ending we wanted, albeit an hour late.
There are a few redeeming qualities to the movie though. SRK, although wrinkled and aged, is still charming but, the flashing of his dimpled smile can no longer make girls swoon. Katrina is beautiful as usual. She is also emotionless as usual. Anushka strives hard to be bubbly and feisty, but in my opinion, she was borderline annoying. The music, except the song Chhala, is not too memorable either. With a story so flawed and a running time of almost three hours, JTHJ is a test of your patience. With due respect to Mr. Yash Chopra, this is perhaps his worst movie and this coming from a fan of his movies. It’s sad that a romantic movie from the Chopra stable with SRK and music by A R Rahman fails so miserably at conveying romance. Or anything for that matter!