JAB TAK HAI JAAN movie review: Yash Chopra, Shahrukh Khan’s homage to true love, Bollywood ishtyle!

Yash Chopra’s swan song is an ode to love, delivered in his own way, on his own terms

At a time when big studios dictate the how-when-why-where of any film, it’s ironic that a studio boss delivers a three-hour product that is completely old school, with an impossible and mushy story line, all about love. And it works!Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a love story of three people, each being led by their own individual destiny, but linked by the strong bond of timeless emotion. The movie is how, even battling against a star-crossed fate, true love can endure. Where time is only a factor to beat, but never to succumb to, because that same love triumphs over all. Yes, this is the kind of premise the film is based on, and an absorbing and interesting story makes it happen.

This is the story of three very different people. Major Samar Anand, played by Shahrukh Khan, is a bomb defusal squad officer who believes in love. He is constantly on the warpath and is consumed by the destructive force of love. As a young, carefree guy in London – before he becomes a daredevil army man – falls in love with Meera (Katrina Kaif), a pretty young NRI. She is about to marry someone else her father wants for her and will not take Samar too seriously. Forever torn between a broken childhood and guilt, Meera is dealt a cruel card when a childish oath she took comes true, and Samar meets with an accident. Being naive, and driven by her guilt, she asks Samar to leave her forever.

Samar believes that God is mocking him, and he takes Him on by becoming a real daredevil army Major who works as a one-man bomb disposal squad in Kashmir. Never one to wear a safety jacket, he is forever playing Russian roulette with his life and has turned hard as stone. In the course of his tour of duty he meets Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma), a young, aspiring documentary filmmaker trying to capture with her camera the dangers of life in the army. Samar saves Akira from a blast and she falls in love with him, even though she belongs to a generation that falls in and out of relationships easily, never taking it too seriously. By chance she discovers a diary that tells of Samar’s love story. Akira films the Major being a total superhero – the documentary is selected by the TV channels. Samar travels to London to release the film…..and a superb twist turns the movie on its head.

At three hours, it may feel long, but Jab Tak Hai Jaan is an entirely watchable film, which has strong, well defined characters. The complex story with its sparse dialogue and mastery in capturing pretty, aesthetically sharp shots has the stamp of a mark of a true, accomplished veteran who knows his movie-making grammar and his cast and crew extremely well. JTHJ will be remembered as one of Yash Chopra’s finest works, and a fitting effort by a filmmaker at the peak of his craft.

A true farewell from a man who defined romance in cinema. Bravo, Yashji!

Rating:  3.5/5

* Poor – Avoid!

** Average – Give it a shot if you are desperate!

*** Good – One time watch!

**** Very good – Must watch!

***** Excellent – Don’t miss!

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