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Movie Review: Jab Tak Hai Jaan


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Yash Chopra's last movie before his death, stars Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif — Courtesy Photo

With iconic director Yash Chopra’s passing, is it an end of an era? “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, the director’s fourth collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan the question is better left unanswered.

A coffee-break later,this is what I have to say: Epic “lackadaisical” fail. There, I’ve said it.

The tradition of a warped sense of subliminal cinematic gratitude would restrain a totally bad write-up for JTHJ; but thankfully, I’m not prone to such sensitivities — especially if the end-product doesn’t give any reason to harbor faux notions. Still, tradition — or better yet, Yash Raj tradition, mostly restricted to Mr. Chopra’s filmmaking — plays a hefty, and panting-lumbering, role in writer/producer Aditiya Chopra’s film structure. There’s the usual half-baked love-triangle, foreign locations and an overlong running time.

Shah Rukh Khan plays two diverging shades of a standard guy, flung in the center of unconvincing Bollywood-prone circumstances. He is Samar Anand, a near-pennyless with dreams of music supported by a steady part-time job waiting tables at a restaurant. He notices, and falls for the film’s purposeless, rich-girl played by the very plastic-y Katrina Kaif. She is Meera, a beauty who is love-free until JTHJ reaches near-intermission time.

An illogically stuffed plot-twist, later Samar winds up in India as a bomb disposal expert.

Samar, when we meet him, is the army’s go-to guy with 97-on-the-spot bomb-disposals. Enter the weirdly-spunked gal Akira Rai, who he rescues when she near-skinny dips on an open-lake in Laddakh.

Played by Anushka Sharma, jammed and packed in short-shorts she is a self-labeled gen-x’er who darts away from relationships at the drop of a hat. Akira’s long-term plan, as she unabashedly puts it, is to be a documentary filmmaker and travel the world

Her bucket-list gets sidelined when she picks up Samar’s diary and reads his backstory. Smitten by his detached attitude, she targets him as her documentary subject for Discovery Magazine and then, as it happens often in JTHJ through an unskilled plot-twist, drags him back to London for the film’s last act.

While the end credits of JTHJ shows Mr. Chopra ably-directing the shoot, the film’s overtaxed first and third acts tell us something different: Aditya Chopra’s (and Devika Bhagat’s) screenplay needed an uncompromising, hard-look — and a meeting with a red marker.

While I do believe that a film is essentially made in the editing room, I also believe that one has to look at his screenplay and jot-out things that don’t work. For a producer, with too much money and personal preferences to pamper, the decision may not be that easy to entertain.

Anushka Sharma makes her bubbliness work for her, while Katrina Kaif, in perhaps one of her most stoic turns at play-acting, dulls-away on what would have been an easily multilayered character .

SRK is partially fine — and that’s where JTHJ is at its most criminalist. One expects Mr. Khan, at his current stature, to bombard our consciousness with a mesmerizing turn. Not make us go “oh what a ham!” Partially hamming it up, with slight neck-flicks for expressions, Mr. Khan flairs-in considerable restraint when he’s more burdened with weightless-weights in the middle of the movie.

Come on Bollywood! Give SRK something befitting his caliber. The charm’s there, he just needs that sweeping swoosh of intelligent stimulus to get things going — just like JTHJ does.

Author Image

Despite living movies 24/7 (, the writer is still truly, madly, deeply in love with cinema; the root cause of this anomaly requires further clinical trials.

He tweets @kamranjawaid

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (42) Closed

Rohit Nov 19, 2012 09:49am
I agree with the reviewer. The film is a big disappointment. I think a lot of film critics/reviewers in India were emotional about the film being late Yash Chopra's last, and were hence lenient in their reviews. The film deserved flak for its poor script. Yash Chopra was a wizard. Unfortunately, his last was also his most ordinary film.
lucky (@luckysandhu1) Nov 18, 2012 04:50pm
Must watch movie , atleast twice This review is Fixed..
khakan ahmed Nov 18, 2012 07:17pm
the guy who reviewed this must have likes rowdy rathore ,body guard n son of sardar... bull shitt.. this was one of the great love stories of Bollywood.... srk was awesome... kat. was gorgeous n her dance proved her skillfulness... story was perfect... yash ji adi n guys did handsome job
nazirlone Nov 19, 2012 07:03am
Can't agree more with the writer.The house was full and i failed to get the tickets the first day.(In Kuwait).I was expecting something of Veer Zaara magic.My negative remarks after the film were vetoed down by my wife.
ertrtretrtret Nov 18, 2012 12:22pm
review main jhoot nahi boltay....
Deep Nov 21, 2012 04:18am
Sorry to say Zahra but it seems tat u r a big fan of SRK tats th reason u dont se anything wrong in th movies but I watched th film too, I wud say its an average film, bit boring as I almost slept in th middle of th movie. While 3 idiots is no doubt trillion times better than this JTJH, 3 idiots has almost no flaws nd hugely appreciated not only in India but al over th World specially in Southeast Asia. U will never feel boar while watching films like 3 idiots.
Deep Nov 21, 2012 04:10am
ya u r right Sara.
Dhaval Nov 20, 2012 11:13pm
Where the quality?... the movies like Jab Tak hai jaan are craps put together. Only selling points are big names. This is worst movie I seen recently. After first 30-40 minutes in the movie and it was unbearable.
kamran Nov 18, 2012 09:42am
Spoiler alert. This is not a review....
Saqib Nov 18, 2012 10:34am
Good Review movie is Pathetic.
kundan Nov 21, 2012 08:30am
you are right .These type negative comments are separate indians & pakistanis. we always see the good things & they see negative things they should change their mentality
Hema Nov 18, 2012 01:30pm
Enjoyed watching Jab tak hai jan. Saw Olympics sign during ' Challa' song which was supposed to be in year 2002, Olympics took place in year 2012 not 2002!!!!!
DaAaNi Nov 18, 2012 11:54am
Loved :| Uaaaaaaaaah r u serious anti sara. this was soo sooo soooooooooooo booring . full time wastage
niks Nov 18, 2012 11:54am
I kind of agree with this review, the story was a little TOO week. I was really looking forward to this movie and was hoping to see Sharukh with Katrina create some sort of magic. I strongly believe now, after watching the movie that almost ANY other actress could have done a better job than Katrina; quite frankly she was terrible and I feel that her wooden/expressionless acting ruined the film for Sharukh and Yash ji, along with her "I don't give a damn about these 'so called seniors', they're just so lucky they've got me" attitude, which for me came across in the film and especially in the campaigns promoting the film. Anushka did her best and remained loyal to the sometimes over the top script but good direction. Sharukh as usual doesn't need any praise but would have been even more superb if his co star had done her bit properly. Mind you Katrina's dancing abilities can never be faulted, although Sharukh has been choreographed much better in his previous ventures.
Sara Nov 18, 2012 10:59am
loved the movie! this review is pathetic and very biased. i think the person who reviewed the movie hadn't watched it yet. great movie and an amazing acting by SRK. Loved Samar Anand to the core.
Kohli Nov 19, 2012 03:21pm
Yash Chopra was never known for his time sensitivity. In 'Silsila' Amitabh and Rekha fly from Shimla to Delhi on a helicopeter after learning of Sanjeev Kumar's air crash and they show the plane still burning and people lying strapped to thier seats looking very calm. In 'Veer Zaara' shahrukh, an Indian Air Force officer resigns from his jobs gets a visa to go to Pakistan to be with his love interest in a matter of one day. You can enjoy a Yash Chopra movie for its visuals and locales and romance - but don't go into these technicalities.
Sudda Nov 22, 2012 09:24am
I really like the film. SRK you are rocking. Shah Rukh/Anushka/Katrina - their acting marvellous. SRK & Anushka are best of BEST. Great movie.
Ali Nov 19, 2012 07:06pm
Haven't watched the movie yet but from the sound of it, it's a movie only for all those SRK fanboys, if you are an Aamir Khan fan (like me) don't waste your money or your time (JTHJ I am not going to watch JTHJ)
Bewak Kalam Nov 19, 2012 10:12am
I think U dont know about Acting, Otherwise u would have appreciated Amir Khan over SRK
Blinded Wolf Nov 19, 2012 08:54pm
I think most people here have lost their sanity or are simply blind fans or followers with no sense of acceptance. this is one bad movie. accept it and get on with your lives. it is good to be fan of someone but....and Katrina should just retire!
Imran Nov 18, 2012 08:38pm
I live in USA and I am from Karachi, watch the movie in theatre. I loved the script of the movie as well as all three of them. Awesome movie guys go and watch yourself.
Aisha Nisar Chattha (@iamchattha) Nov 18, 2012 01:31pm
the movie is a greatest romantic piece by bollywood (i don't believe in hollywood's romance)
Bewak Kalam Nov 19, 2012 12:05pm
I dont like SRK when he moves his mouth round and round like monkey
Kamina Nov 18, 2012 04:29pm
Man u wouldn't know a good review even if one sneaked up behind u and.......gave u a nice little kissy
carol Nov 19, 2012 12:35pm
The bestest..., Awesome movie... and shah rukh o god ..., no one on this earth can touch his acting in romance .... The best forever... estatic movie JTHJ.... :)god bless.. badshaah
Rohit Nov 19, 2012 01:47pm
Buddy, worse movies (Ready, Bodyguard, Rowdy Rathore) have earned more than this, but that wouldn't make them great movies. The reviewer has only described the quality of the movie not its box office collection. Btw, I am not convinced about the figures you have given. Some trade analysts have quoted lesser collections.
sara Nov 19, 2012 08:13pm
I totally agree with this review!Movie was just too boring!Katrina's face was expressionless as usual.SOS is very entertaining makes you laugh laugh and laugh
sajjad Nov 18, 2012 08:30pm
Shahrukh you are the best as always!! good wishes for you!
Bewak Kalam Nov 19, 2012 10:10am
I Sad that still people Like nautanki kind of movie !!!!
Hindustani Nov 18, 2012 06:01pm
WHY comments are open for Indian Movies and closed for saudi kings operation, Karachibomb explosion etc. This Means india is Soft Target and others are sacred cows??? Grow Up dawn and don't piblish my comments
Lucia Nov 19, 2012 04:18am
Anis Nov 19, 2012 08:07pm
Totally agree with the reviewer. A disaster movie! Stay away! Longest ever movie......with the most unrealistic story-line.......what a disappointment!
Zahra K Nov 20, 2012 11:50am
Buddy, you are forgetting that this was a YASH CHOPRA ROMANCE and the movie made no other promises but to be exactly that. I think the film was exceptionally well made. Look at the non-sense that Bollywood has produced in recent years. I am sorry, but even 3 idiots had some major glitches! There was not one minute in this film that was irrelevant or cringe-worthy. Every film has a cringe-worthy moment, where you're just like really? Why was this not dumped in the editing room? JTJH on top of not having any such let downs, actually delivered some great scenes! The acting was brilliant, Katrina's moves in Ishq Shava, no less than wow and Shahrukh of course was the Shahrukh that he always is, but I think he also managed to revive his quintessential old charm that was faltering a little with disasters like Ra-One. Shahrukh was beyond great in this film and as for the plot, again, this is a Yash Chopra we're talking about, the film was meant to be viewed as a dream of idealized romance and dreams are meant to make no sense and this film was exactly that; a beautifully senseless abandonment of logic; an escape from realism into the ethos of romantic and aesthetic philosophy.
Dhoniz Nov 20, 2012 01:21pm
Lollywood is better than Bollywood and Hollywood. And they do this without making any movies .. :P
M Shahzad Nov 19, 2012 05:24am
Nice review.
yogita Nov 19, 2012 12:06am
Jab tak hai jaan, Jab tak hai jaan!!! So appropriate a title as a final tribute to the maverick who created magic with his eternal love stories ; Silsila, Darr, Dilwale Dulhniya le Jaayenge,Dil to Pagal hai and now JTHJ. Yash ji and Shahrukh are a dynamite combo, who light the silver screen and people
Jthj Nov 18, 2012 11:49pm
Lame review. The movie rocks and is for romantics so don't get all technical with it.
bolti maina Nov 18, 2012 05:01pm
boss...solid review man! reviews are about making an opinion to go see a movie or not. this one looked pathetic from the beginning and now I know why. i agree that srk should be given something of his caliber. katrina kaif should just leave the, right now!
TKhan Nov 19, 2012 12:31am
The film earned Rs.15.23 crore (Tuesday) Rs.19.54 crore (Wednesday), Rs. 14.45 crore (Thursday) and Rs. 11.17 crore (Friday). A sum total of over Rs. 60 Crore. Mr. Jawaid, what will I not do to make a Epic
ilyas Nov 25, 2012 07:28pm
This film was totally a waste of time, I'm giving it 1/5 & prefer others not to watch..
krishnan Nov 20, 2012 01:40am
I dont agree.In Silsila ,the passengers were killed in their sleep by pure oxygen in Simla- so looked serene in death.In Veer Zaara ,Sharukh's uncle was supplying groceries to the Ambassador - so visa in one day!All this as cut to reduce the length of the films which normally are of 4 hours length with Yash Raj.
krishnan Nov 20, 2012 01:35am
I think we Indians have to grow up and not see conspiracies ( like many of our neighbors!) everywhere