Happy Birthday Month Shahrukh! Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Yash Chopra’s Final Love Triangle

Happy Wednesday Shahrukh Review day!  Aw, only one left after this.  That’s sad.  But, it has given me a chance to crank through some of his films that I hadn’t gotten around to addressing before.

This is not my favorite Shahrukh film.  Its not my least favorite, but it’s somewhere towards the bottom.  However, there is still plenty to talk about.  Not so much about it as a “Shahrukh” film, but about it as a Yash Chopra film.

Image result for jab tak hai jaan poster

Let’s think about triangles!  They are supposed to be 3 equal points, but they aren’t really.  We don’t look at the triangle and think about the line along the bottom, we focus on the point at the top and two lines coming off of it.  It’s about one point that is resting firmly on two supporting points, and those two supporting points being slightly more stable by being connected to each other.  But the focus is always the top, that’s what matters.

And that’s how the typical film triangle works as well, it’s not about 3 people being equally connected, it’s about one person being equally connected to two other people.  And those two having some kind of vague less important connection between the two of them.  It’s a narrative tool that lets you explore one central character, not a tool that lets you explore 3 characters equally.  Usually in the pattern of one central character and two romantic options representing two aspects of their personality.

There are some interesting variations on this pattern available.  Gunday, for instance, was more about Ranveer being torn between love (Priyanka) and friendship (Arjun) than it was between Priyanka being torn between two lovers.  Muqadder Ka Sikander was about Amitabh being the center of two triangles, love (Raakhee) and friendship (Vinod) and also idealized love (Raakhee) and human flawed love (Rekha).  Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam split the film neatly in half, instead of the heroine being equally supported by both lovers straight through, one was the lead of one half and the other the lead of the other half.

But of all the triangles in Hindi film, Yash Chopra is the King so far as I am concerned.  He has one standard triangle and he played with it for 40 years in all it’s variations: Love Versus Duty.  But what is meant by “duty” isn’t always simple.  Anil Kapoor in Lamhe sees it as his “Duty” to remain in love with Sridevi 1, to honor the promise he made himself to always be faithful.  Sridevi in Chandni sees it her “Duty” to marry Vinod Khanna because he was kind to her and generous.  Or Silsila where it is the simple question of marriage versus romance.

In Yashji’s greatest films, he resolves the conflict by showing that it is no conflict at all.  You can find love within your duty, or you can find duty within your love.  Our protagonist feels both emotions so strongly and thinks they must choose between one or the other, but the real resolution is to find a way to be at peace with all parts of yourself instead of trying to tear yourself in half.

In this film, Yashji wanted to do another different reflection on love and duty.  He took The End of the Affair as the basis, which is a strong important interesting consideration of that question.  And he took Shahrukh as his lead, an actor capable of playing two completely different characters, one totally dedicated to love and the other totally dedicated to duty.

And he picked two heroines, one almost ethereal and untouchable in her beauty, and the other tremendously alive and human.  The idea was to set the “Duty” heroine opposite the most “Love” version of the hero, and the “Love” heroine opposite the most “Duty” version of the hero.  And to make it a reflection on time and how it changes us, how a couple has to come together in their own time and place, when it is right.

But Yashji was very old.  And the script was perhaps a bit hurried (in an effort to finish the movie while he still could).  And his favorite actor (Shahruikh) was a bit old for this particular role.  And the end result is a film that is almost, but not quite, what it was meant to be.  A love triangle that is less Love Versus Duty and more Real Living Characters versus Romantic Ideals.  And the end result is something that just doesn’t work, but still lingers in your mind as you think of all the ways it could have resolved.

 

 

 

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Let’s start with Chandni, because that is the film that feels most similar in themes to me to this film.  Sridevi is an innocent inexperienced happy young woman who falls passionately in love for the first time with someone who is passionately in love with her.  This is not an impossible love, but it is a difficult one, their backgrounds are very different but so long as they are both strong in their feelings and decisions, they can make it happen.  And then there is an accident, and Sridevi’s lover decides for her that the romance should end.  She goes away, heartbroken and incomplete, and then grows stronger and finds a new way to be in a new city.  She meets a new love who falls in love with this new version of herself.  Her relationship with him is not passionate or perfect, but it is stable and happy and matches who she is now.  But then there is a return of the love from the first half, she thinks it is too late, time has gone on, and how can she forgive him for trying to kill their love?  But in the end, she realizes that is pointless, why turn away your own happiness just because it feels like it is too late?  And there is also the particular heartache of the two lovers who each in turn sacrifice their own love for her happiness.

The key to why Chandni works better than this film is that it isn’t stupid.  Rishi loses the use of his legs in a tragic flower petal accident (okay, it’s a little stupid).  But his sacrifice of Sridevi’s love after that is logical, the audience can see why he does it.  His family already doesn’t like her, he already had to use all his strength and independence to get them to agree to the engagement.  Now they are openly abusive to her when she comes to visit him, and he cannot stop them because he can’t even get out of his own room.  Yes, if he learns to walk again, regains his independence, they could someday escape his family and be happy.  But that is “if/when” he learns to walk again, in the meantime she will give herself over to abuse day after day and he cannot stop it.  And if the therapy doesn’t work, she will have committed herself to a lifetime of such abuse.  Looked at that way, it makes sense for him to cut her out of his life, save her from himself.  The best part is that his sacrifice was not false.  He succeeded in getting Sridevi to think beyond him, to consider a life outside of him.  If he had never learned to walk again, she would have been happier without him than with him.  That is what makes the final conflict so complex.  Sridevi loves Rishi more than Vinod, but that does not mean she has no love for Vinod.  He is viable option for her.  She is willing to sacrifice her greater love for Rishi for her greater duty towards Vinod.  Which also makes Vinod’s sacrifice real, he knows that Sridevi will marry him and find a way to be happy.  But she would be slightly happier with Rishi, her real love.  And so he gives up the happiness he could have, the real marriage they could have built, and lets her have the better choice.

Now, let’s look at this movie!  Katrina is a devout rich girl in London who falls in love with a street musician and odd job man Shahrukh.  But then he is hit by a car and she promises God not to see him any more if God will save his life.  Shahrukh lives, but is furious with Katrina when she explains her promise and decides to start risking his life by joining the Indian army and becoming a bomb defusor in Kashmir.  Ten years later, young reporter Anushka meets him and starts following him around and falls in love with him.  He returns to London to meet her again, is hit by a car, and gets amnesia, thinking it is ten years ago and he is still with Kat.  In order to protect his brain, Anushka tracks down Kat and convinces her to pretend to still love Shahrukh.  It all works until Shahrukh gets his memory back, yells at Kat for abandoning him all those years ago, and goes back to Kashmir.  Kat, finally, decides it has been long enough and goes to Kashmir to surprise him, they reunite and that is the end of the film.

The biggest problem with this film is that it is stupid.  Katrina does not sacrifice Shahrukh for any logical reason, but merely because she decided to make a promise to God not to see him any more.  God doesn’t work that way in the first place, and second it was a stupid promise to make.  And third, there is no way to take it back.  The crippling in Chandni was simple, it could be removed and then Rishi could seek out Sridevi and everything could be happy.  But God doesn’t do take-backs, that promise should have been for all time.  Yashji wrote himself into a narrative corner.

In addition, Shahrukh does not follow her wishes to move on.  What created the real bite in Chandni was that Sridevi truly did move on, become a different person, the sacrifice worked.  Just as in Kabhi Kabhi Raakhee truly moved on and felt sorry for Amitabh who had not, and all of Silsila was about Amitabh and Rekha learning the lesson that they should move on.  In this film, Shahrukh is not falling in love with anyone else or in any other way moving on from Kat.  Her sacrifice created no additional growth or complications in the narrative.

And then there’s Anushka.  She should have been the matching sacrifice, the new love who steps back in honor of the old.  But, because Shahrukh’s character was locked in place, there never really was a “new” love.  Anushka had nothing to sacrifice, because the narrative never gave her any hope of winning Shahrukh away from Kat.

The bones of the film though, those are good.  I can see the story Yashji wanted to tell.  Katrina is a saintly young woman whose world view has never really been challenged.  Her life is full of duty, duty to her father, duty to God.  Yashji even wrote in the reason why, her mother abandoned her when she was young, she sees that as a failure of duty, and has sworn never to do the same.  Shahrukh comes into her life like a thunderbolt, she fights him off, trying to remain pure and dutiful.  But she can’t, he is too full of life and love and overwhelms her.  She “sins”, as she sees it, for the first time.  And so when he is hurt, she sees that as punishment for her sin.  She swears never to step wrong again, to thrust love out of her life, and begs God to forgive her and keep Shahrukh safe rather than letting her sin touch him.

And then Shahrukh grows from a young man full of life, to an older man with all that purity and dedication that Katrina had as a young woman.  Katrina stays in place, because she was always right, the one who understood sacrifice and duty.  Shahrukh has to grow to her.  That is the time they are waiting for, when Shahrukh will understand why she did what she did.

Anushka is there to help Shahrukh see how he has grown.  He tried to throw Katrina off-balance when he was young, convince her to take risks and live life.  Anushka is doing the same to him now, and he is seeing how far he has come, how he can no longer be that young crazy boy.  And in the end it is Anushka who is shut out, seeing that she has her own work to do on herself, to live and earn through sacrifice instead of selfish personal goals.

Isn’t that a nice movie?  That’s the movie Yashji wanted to make.  And, in some ways, that is still the movie he made.  But there was too much that was missed, too many gaps left to be filled in by performances that became beyond his control, and the story was lost.

The first biggest problem is that Katrina’s sacrifice.  It just doesn’t make sense.  Yes, you can wave it away with a “well, that’s the plot of the movie” excuse, but it nibbles away at your brain and makes it harder to give over to the film.  Part of it is purely dialogue, Katrina never says explicitly “I know I was doing something wrong and God punished me by hurting you, so I am giving you up in order to stop God from hurting you any more in order to punish me”, instead she dances around it.  But it is also a bigger narrative problem that the film skates away from saying Katrina is doing anything wrong.  We learn she is engaged to someone else, but then maybe that engagement is broken?  Or not?  It’s unclear.  And right before Shahrukh is injured, they are planning to introduce him to Kat’s father, so I guess she isn’t ashamed of their relationship at that point?  It would be a tricky thing, to have a perfect pure heroine and still make it clear that in her own mind she is “sinning” somehow.  It requires a delicacy and subtlety I think Yashji just couldn’t handle, he needed to make Kat actually engaged to someone else, or even married, in order for us to see why she was so resistant to Shahrukh and so sure she was doing something wrong.

The next big problem is Shahrukh’s logic in moving to Kashmir.  There is something about him risking his life everyday to test Katrina’s vow, but that doesn’t quite work.  Yashji wants it to be his own version of sacrifice and duty, something he is doing for love.  But instead of comes off as just sort of petty, and selfish even, putting himself and his crew in danger just to spite Katrina.  Again, it just needs a little more refinement, make it his way of honoring her vow and believing in it, that he truly thinks her love is protecting him.

And then there’s Anushka.  This wasn’t completely predictable, but Anushka and Shahrukh just have way way too much chemistry together.  As written, her character is supposed to be spoiled and selfish.  The first time she meets him, she is risking her life just to win a dare.  Over the course of the film, we see her mature, go from flirting and bothering Shahrukh despite his lack of interest to tracking down Kat and sacrificing her own burgeoning love because she knows it is better for Shahrukh to be with Kat.  The problem is that Anushka has such a strong screen presence, she doesn’t “feel” like a selfish shallow woman, she feels like a strong woman with hidden depths.  A really strong director could have beaten that out of her, forced her to play something totally outside of her usual persona.  But Yashji was not that director.  And so Anushka ended up taking over the character, she went from a shallow selfish too young woman, to feeling like a viable romantic option for Shahrukh.

And finally, perhaps the biggest problem, Yashji just could not figure out how to end it.  It goes back to the original issue of Kat’s sacrifice being open ended.  If he had simply made her married, then the end of it all would have been the death of her husband.  Or if he had given her a human intermediary between her and God who could have given her solace.  For instance, made it a promise to Anupam that he released her from on his deathbed.  With no clear road ahead, he fell back on Amnesia.  This is a brilliant solution for Shahrukh’s character, letting him return to his youthful happiness and then feel the crushing weight as his maturity hits him again.  But it does not really resolve the issues with Katrina’s character.  If she is meant to be “right” all along, knowing that sacrifice is important and love must wait, then there needs to be one more beat to her story.  We need to see and feel her continued sacrifice here, the years of deprivation and the struggle to remain strong in the face of temptation.  And most importantly, we need to see Shahrukh come around to realizing he was wrong after all.  He confronts her with her own foolishness and she has no response, that is where it is left.  He needs one more moment, a confrontation and then his own realization of the importance of duty and an understanding of why she did what she did.

Let’s go back to the idea of duty and love. This is Yashji’s final consideration of that.  And what he lands on is something really deep.  Love is duty.  It becomes duty.  Love will wait, love will sacrifice, love will be patient, that is the duty you owe to it.  It is not about big moments and happy gestures, it is about the small moments and the sadness.  He is famous for his love stories, for the mountains and the rose petals and all the rest of it.  But every Yashji film, eventually, rejects those symbols of love.  The love is in the sacrifice, in the pain and drudgery and every day of it all.  This is a love story not because of Shahrukh and Katrina in London, but because Shahrukh and Katrina gave up London, gave up wild happiness, and proved their love through long slow painful years.

I think that’s why this film has stuck with me.  Watching it, I was frustrated by the film it wanted to become and the film it was intended to be and how they conflicted.  If Yashji had let the story and the actors and the characters take control, this would have been the story of Shahrukh and Anushka finding a spark of love and life in each other that was not there in Katrina, of Shahrukh picking Anushka over Katrina, picking love over duty.  That is what came out in the dialogue, the songs, the performances, that this was the couple made for each other.  But Yashji intended a different story, a story of Shahrukh growing to meet Katrina, of Katrina being the high mark of all that was good and noble, of her being the reward of long faithful love.  He couldn’t give up that meaning just for the sake of actor chemistry, no matter how much I want him to.  That was his own duty, to his love for film as a medium with a message and a depth, instead of mere entertainment.

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48 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Month Shahrukh! Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Yash Chopra’s Final Love Triangle

  1. This is the review I’ve been waiting for, thank you! The movie really frustrated me when I watched it. Mostly because like you said the plot was stupid! And Anushka-SRK were just so good together, and somehow when Kat does come back at the end, SRK looks really bitter and just glad to prove a point. I don’t know if it was love, or just disbelief at having been rejected because she loves God more. Either way, towards the end SRK didn’t seem delirious or happy that she was back – just smug, and that somehow translates to the audience as well.
    Also, I feel they were trying to say Katrina was wrong to have not chosen love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think they could have pulled it off if the ending had only made more sense. They just need some nice triumphal conclusion to the Kat-SRK issues, and then we could get to the really nice last moment when they just see each other and smile and he makes her a ring out of the bomb wire.

      You are right, Shahrukh just seemed bitter and angry and there was never a moment that really forced him to get past that. Or a justification for Kat’s choices.

      On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 6:12 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. This really helped me understand what Yash Chopra was aiming for, and to feel worse than I have thatbthe film is so disappointing. As I said in a different comment, I watch it for Anushka, the fabulous score, and sexy bearded SRK. Besides Katrina’s weak and often wooden performance, there are awkward or obvious glitches that just drive me nuts.

    The first inkling you get that someone was not thinking things through is Anushka’s dive into the lake, from a rock IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE, when she then discovers the water is icy. And there are so many more scenes like that.

    But for an example of what “chemistry” between actors looks like (and what its absence looks like) it is great. Katrina gives Shahrukh nothing to work against, there is hardly any real interaction. And no actor, no matter how good, can carry a two-person scene.

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    • Yash has done so many great films with the quiet still kind of heroine. Sridevi in the first half of Lamhe, Raakhee in Kabhi Kabhi, Jaya in Silsila, they are so restrained that it is almost impossible to read their feelings. But they are great actresses so we can understand what they are feeling even when no one else does, and they create amazing chemistry with their co-stars with the sort of ice and fire effect.

      But Kat, she just can’t do it. She doesn’t feel restrained, she feels empty. And maybe it is something about Shahrukh too? Because Kat and Akshay have wonderful chemistry in a similar way, she laughs and relaxes with him and he is all energetic and goofy. But somehow SRK and Kat just DO NOT work. At least as the usual romantic couple. I will be very curious to see what they do in Zero, because if this miss-match of chemistry was used well, I could see it being a super strong positive for a film. If the whole movie is about Shahrukh thinking he is in love with Kat, and then he meets her and there is just nothing between them, that might be fascinating.

      And yes, so many scenes that don’t work! Yashji was never great on logic, but he always fell just on the right side of the line where it wasn’t so illogical that you couldn’t still get lost in the story. Like, a rose petal helicopter accident is ridiculous, but at least it isn’t impossible. This film just felt like there wasn’t enough time or attention put into making it work.

      On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 8:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. As a total absurd situation that spoils the film there is also the ridiculous system of helping poor Sha Ruhk to recover his memory exposing him to situations that NEVER HAPPENED, as his restaurant or his house not to mention his marriage!

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    • Yes! The whole amnesia plot jsut went way way way way way way wayyyyyyyy too far!!!! It almost wouldn’t have been bad if he was just in the hospital and Kat had to visit him a couple of times, but then it got super silly.

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  4. And poor Anupam Kher just disappears! And they let Anushka dangle under the bridge without a bomb suit! And she’s flirting with Shahrukh while he is defusing a BOMB. And makes a terrible joke and he laughs for NO REASON AT ALL.

    But I just listened to the sound track again, because it is so good. And I got to hear Neeti Mohan sing Jiya Re at the A.R. Rahman concert, which was even better.

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    • I realized putting this post together that it is the songs where you really see what Yashji wanted to do. Heer, Ishq Shava, Saans, it tells you the whole romance so much better than the rest of the film.

      On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 8:42 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • At least in Dilwale it was a pretty quick flashback. JTHJ we have to live with it for most of the movie.

      On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 9:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Thank you for putting your finger on why it bugs me so much when they do weird makeup or CGI stuff to young-ify him (except in FAN where it’s essential to the character of Gaurav and the plot). It widens the uncanny valley because as you say, we all know what Shah Rukh looked like at every age and that ain’t it!

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      • The other part about Fan is that Gaurav isn’t supposed to be “young” shahrukh, he is supposed to be an entirely different character. Unlike in the other movies where we have to believe the “young” Shahrukh grew up to be our present Shahrukh.

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  5. Full of flaws as it is JTHJ has moments of brilliance like the sequence of Ishq Shava as a perfect synthesis of music, words and dance depicting the volcanic explosion of love. Or oddly enough, the subtle scene between Kat and her mother; as Kat understands and forgives her, she herself is delivered from the terrible vow of staying away from Samar, In that moment the feminine alliance gives her courage and bravery to assume her love. When the accident happens she falls back in the masculine law of punishment; her father interdiction to see her mother and what she assumes to be the justice of God punishing her “fault”.

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    • Yes! That is a perfect interpretation, Katrina seeing the world in black and white, then embracing the greys, but then returning to black and white. The only problem being, we can’t really understand what caused her to change again in the end. She needed another conversation with her mother or something to make sense of it.

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      • Maybe she recollected the conversation with Rishi; a loving man that waited eight years for her mother? or the farewell of agnostic Anushka doubting God wanted her to waste her life and Samar’s because of her “sin”?
        Something I really don’t understand and may have a meaning is why in the last scene she goes to Samar all dressed in white which is the mourning color.

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        • I read the white in the final scene as a filmi tribute, Raj Kapoor made women in white into one of the greatest romantic images of film. I think it might also be one of the few times we see her in traditional clothing. I read it as a statement for the audience that this will be the grand romantic ending moment we have been waiting for.

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  6. One quick comment before I go to bed. The movie that was to be that you lift out of the movie it became makes much more sense. I feel like part of the failure of the movie, and perhaps partly why you can see the theme more clearly than the movie itself does, is the depiction of Kat’s faith. I’ve seen this before, where an author or director is interested in the idea of a faith that deeply drives a character but has maybe never lived that kind of faith himself, the way it shows up in the story turns into a plot device rather than an emotional driver that connects with deeper truths. For Kat to make that kind of sacrifice, choosing her understanding of god over the human in front of her, her relationship with god and her understanding of virtue and sin – of living in alignment with god’s will or at cross purposes – have to be more than just transactional. The back story about the mother as the reason her sense of duty is strong makes sense, but the reason that would cause her to turn to faith and the way her faith sustains her is not clear, we just see her making a series of deals against the picturesque backdrop of an always empty church.

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    • Yes! If Kat was better actress, and who wrote the script understood better what real devotion and spirituality is, this movie would be a masterpiece. Instead they took spirituality of 5 year old girl, put it in adult woman, and expected us to buy it.

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    • Yes, agree completely. Hinduism is often used as a plot device in films, but more the superficial parts of it, I have to do this thing on this festival, I have to go to the temple on this day, like that. It’s as rare to see a depiction of true faith in Indian film as in any other industry, I think. There’s also the way Dharma, social responsibility, is folded into religion so that the two can be confused. Katrina’s relationship with God here is meant to be entirely personal and internal, not about going to the temple on a particular date, and not about what other people might think. And that is a very hard thing to understand, and even harder to convey onscreen.

      And now I want to read Jane Eyre again, that book did such a good job of showing what God meant to the heroine, that her faith was her one true thing and source of strength and security and to betray it would be the same as betraying everything good in herself.

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  7. The Yash Raj heroine that Kat reminds me most of is Madhuri in DTPH, and Kat is no Madhuri. Same childish (not child like, which can be good) thinking about God and how God works in the world. Thanks for speculating on the movie Yashji wanted to make, that would have been a good story. Also, great point that the songs tell a better story than the movie.

    In addition to their insane chemistry, the themes between Shah Rukh and Anushka are more interesting than duty vs love, and make the age gap work so well. Shah Rukh sees his younger self in Anushka, and is genuinely worried that her thwarted love for him will embitter her and rob her of her higher purpose in life. This is why, in addition to his affection for her, he is supremely gentle with her. It’s why he fixes her camera, and why he goes to London, to keep her on that path to her dream. That’s real sacrifice/duty for another person stemming from love, not stemming from obeying senseless rules coming from a deeply flawed understanding of the world.

    Despite it’s many flaws, there is enough Yash Raj magic in the movie, and enough AR Rahman magic in the music, that it really does stick with you. This has become a comfort food movie for me. I just skip the bits that annoy me. I love the too brief moments with Rishi and Neetu, the bits with Anushka and Shah Rukh’s bomb squad team, and I love that Yashji was trying to push Shah Rukh out of his comfort zone (all the physical affection including awkward kisses between he and Kat, and having Vaibhavi choreograph rather than Farah–even if that happened due to scheduling conflicts or Farah becoming a director or whatever). Has he ever done another dance number even resembling Ishq Shava? Clearly he was out of his depth in some parts of the song, but it really works in others, and, as always, he was game to give it a try.

    We’ve talked about Hindi movies that we use to introduce non-Hindi film watchers to. I think this counts as a movie I’d never try to watch with someone who isn’t already a fan of Hindi movies or one of the lead actors. It’s just too absurd, in ways that only fans will forgive.

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    • On the dot for Ishq Shawan! it seemed to me that some cuts were necessary because SRK leg was hurting.
      I’ve just seen Shakti and maybe Ishq Kamina was his best.

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    • I love your point about Shah Rukh’s gentleness with Anushka. That’s something that comes through very strongly in Lamhe. Anil is very gentle with Sridevi 2 until he suddenly isn’t. It’s kind of a sign of when he starts to see her as a viable romantic possibility, he shifts from pity and care to frustration and guilt as he works out his own feelings. In this movie, we can see that Shahrukh loves Anushka, but not romantically, because he is so gentle with her, and so unselfish.

      I’ve had good/bad luck showing this movie to new people. They love it and enjoy it, but it gives a skewed view of the industry, makes them think that it is all ridiculous plots and unbelievable characters and all of that. And then if I show them something like Humpty Sharma the reaction is “well, this must be an unusual film because the plot makes so much sense”.

      And now I am trying to think of another song where Shahrukh really pushed his abilities like Ishq Shava. Maybe a little bit in Beech Beech Mein. Dhingad also comes to mind, the moves were much less energetic, but they were also distinctly different from his usual elbow/shoulder/knee heavy kind of stuff. One 2 3 4 from Chennai Express was I think supposed to be like that, but it failed.

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      • The Newcomer mentioned Ishq Kamina, which is similar even though done by Farah. I like the variety of dancing/song picturization in both Raees and JHMS. One 2 3 4 is super fun, but yes, feels like his normal athletic jumping around, with obligatory head following hips shaking. 🙂 I re-watched RNBDJ last month and was delighted to see that Suri/Raj does that move in the drunk dancing scene with Bobby in his shop.

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        • Right, I remembered after replying to you that Radha was another Vaibhavi song. It’s not as obvious, but she is getting Shahrukh a bit out of his comfort zone there as well, having him do soft Bhangra moves, kind of a lightness and subtlety to them that he doesn’t usually do. The moment when Anushka jokingly pretends to be pulling him on a string, for instance, is very different form his usual stuff. Not like Ishq Shava at all, but also not like his regular moves.

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  8. The Big Big problem with JTHJ is the departing of Graham Greene’s novel. He wrote End Of The Affair as a catharsis after the ending of his real passionate affair whith a devout catholic married woman. Being himself a catholic only increased their guilt.
    In the novel she wows to God to leave him if he survives the London bombing; once assured that he is alive and safe SHE DESAPPEARS forever. Years after he hears from a priest that she had died almost like a saint, of total consumption, dedicated to the care of sick and ailing people.
    Keeping childish Katrina alive was the first step on a swamp with no plausible exit.
    Having said that, I personally confess that I close my eyes to all the flaws and inconsistencies and simply love this movie!

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    • The disappearing without explanation is so important to me, it makes it a true sacrifice, between her and God. While in this film she actually goes and tells Shahrukh about it, which changes the meaning of her sacrifice (for me) to being something between the 3 of them, her and Shahrukh and God. It would be a different kind of movie too, if Shahrukh is trying to die in misery at losing her and not knowing why, and she is keeping him alive through her devotion and prayers. A really interesting change might have been to have Anushka track down the whole story and learn what was happening, and discover that Kat is now dead. Anushka and the audience would fear that Shahrukh would now die the next time he tries to defuse a bomb, only to discover that now it is her prayers that are keeping him alive, and he is living for her.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. And, I just re-watched this making of Ishq Shava video, which makes me smile, and will now have the song in my head all day.

    Also–isn’t it Jab Tak Hai Jaan, not Hain Jaan? Just a bit confused being a non-Hindi speaker and all. Thank goodness we just use initials most of the time. 🙂

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  10. I hate this movie. Probably my most hated movie of the later phase of his career. As bad as the script was, perhaps it might have been saved somewhat if the casting was appropriate. You can’t put Anushka in a movie with SRK and have him end up with someone else. It just doesn’t work. Despite the age difference, they automatically click together. To try to overcome that and that too with someone as cold as Katrina is obviously going to be a disaster.

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    • You know what would have been amazing? Dips and Shahrukh and Anushka as the love triangle. I think Dips could have conveyed the interior pain and restraint of Kat’s character much better, and her chemistry with Shahrukh is equal to what he has with Anushka, but also feels very different. Her character journey in YJHD is similar to what Kat has in this, and she pulled it off very well, coming alive as she falls in love and then giving up that love and growing up before discovering it again years later.

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    • The movie it should have been was Shahrukh playing 35 in the first half opposite a married woman who was also 35 and gave him up because she felt she was betraying her wedding vows. And then ten years later he is middle-aged and not over it yet. I would even be okay with Anushka still playing the same role, they have such great chemistry that I can buy it despite the age difference. But Kat just cannot pull off being the same age as Shahrukh, she doesn’t look nearly old enough in the second half.

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        • I think Yashji was nervous about making his heroine truly “sin”, but it’s the only way the plot makes any sense. No reason God should care if she is in love with someone, so long as she isn’t married to someone else. Can you imagine Rani and Shahrukh as the first half couple? Him an Indian army Vet who is starting life over with gusto in London, and her a saintly proper married woman whose life revolves around her church and her faith? And then the second half could be her deciding God doesn’t want her to be unhappy and it is okay if she leaves her husband after ten years of suffering and misery.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Then it would have been a KANK type disaster. Indian people won’t accept it.

            The only way it works IMO is to let SRK move on from his first love and pick the second woman who finally makes him happy after years of suffering. Maybe when he meets Katrina again, he realizes they are not the same people anymore and he was just hanging onto a myth that doesn’t actually exist.

            JTHJ doesn’t work mainly because he actually looks happy and content with Anushka. They have so many sparks that it’s not believable that he would pick Katrina over her when he meets her again. The characters outgrew the script and it was like he chose Kat just because the script said so, not because the character would have actually picked her.

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          • I just rewatched the ending last night for the first time since I saw the film in theaters, and my goodness his good-bye with Anushka is heartbreaking! And makes JHMS seem like almost a sequel, I didn’t remember how clearly it stated the premise for JHMS in just those few lines of dialogue (I will come back to you in another life but younger, I don’t want you younger I want you just like this). I normally would say it is too much of a stretch to think of two films with completely unrelated creative teams as connected, but the way the interact there and the exact lines of dialogue feel so much like Imtiaz meant his film to pick up on that unintended unexpected chemistry and let it flower. Heck, he even has them meet again just outside the airport! As though it is picking up the story where it ended before.

            I agree that, as the chemistry turned out, the only thing that makes sense is to let SRK move on. And that’s a story Yashji has told over and over again, Lamhe and Kabhi Kabhi and Silsila, that it’s healthy to move on and find someone else. The few times he went the other way, the chemistry with the original couple was so different from the alternative couple that we could see why they couldn’t/shouldn’t move on (Sridevi/Rishi, SRK/Madhuri).

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yash Chopra was really past his sell-by date by the time JTHJ arrived. He’s always had some hangups like wanting a very classic beauty to play the love interest. Hence, Katrina. In the later years, he was also stuck on the idea of a ‘destined’ love which is what he did in DTPH, another movie I hated. Madhuri had the worst characterization and it was like SRK was in love with a cipher that floats around in white doing nothing except humming high-pitched songs all day. She is a better actress than Kat obviously but I found that love story very lacking too.

            I too think perhaps Imtiaz saw the movie and wanted to strike off in a different direction seeing the SRK-Anushka chemistry. Someone needed to fix the mess that was JTHJ. There’s similarity in the characters too especially as Anushka wanted him to come back to her in another lifetime.

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          • It’s too bad because Darr was just in 1993 and it was one of Yashji’s best. And then his last 3 films (DTPH, Veer-Zaara, and JTHJ) were just surface with no deeper meaning. That whole destined perfect love, that’s what he made fun of in Darr! Deconstructed and showed how it was no more than stalking and obsession. And then he spent his last 3 movies arguing that it was true love after all.

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  11. Doesn’t SRK say something like ” I wish you’d have realized this 10 years earlier and you had not wasted all this time?” I thought it was really funny, to the point where the male lead feels like the whole thing was just a waste of time.

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    • YES!!!!! And Kat doesn’t have a response for it besides “well, I was suffering all those years too”. Which doesn’t really answer the complaint. There was no reason she realized this now and couldn’t have realized it 10 years ago! Nothing changed! At least in KANK there was an essential misunderstanding at the heart of their separation, plus they both received absolution for their sins, and then they could be together. In this movie, it was 10 years just wasted for no reason, waiting for Kat to suddenly feel different.

      I mean, I wouldn’t have blamed Shahrukh at that point if he’d jsut said “well tough tootsies! It’s been ten years, I’m over you”

      On Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 12:49 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kat looks like she’s wearing a mask in the movie cos there are absolutely no reactions!
        And they’re so different after the 10 years – makes sense for him to move on (to Anushka). I hope Zero is able to invert this trope and they use Katrina in that sense – as the reactionless person.

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        • I think she plays a glam movie star which works really well if she’s supposed to be this untouchable distant love SRK’s character fantasizes about. Kat’s limitations would work perfectly in that case. Otherwise, I see a disaster waiting to happen. I assume SRK would know better than to allow anything else because he too would be aware of how hard it was to make the love story work with her in JTHJ.

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  12. As for Shah Rukh acting younger than his age, allow me to share my experience: some time ago for personal reasons I was unable to seriously read, hear music or watch movies.
    As a good westerner I remembered that Bollywood films were said to be all about romance, music and dance. So here am I searching Netflix, and of all possible choices I picked one with a picture of a man holding a younger woman’s waist and both laughing at their hearts content. You guessed it was JHMS! And there am I dumbfounded looking at that scruffy mesmerizing Harry saying he has to be avoided because he is a “cheap and cheap womanizer” while all you feel is you wish he “womanized” you!
    There I was just last year, briefly removed from my concerns, asking myself Who is that actor? and What is that face? Looking for answers I found this blog, Margaret’s book and excavated Amazon for more films and books (where I live there are no hindi films to buy) Naturally the easiest to find were the latest, and believe me it took me a while to get hold of DDLJ!
    So it happened that in one year I went backwards in Shah Rukh’s career, going from today’s consummate actor to his younger days and I realized that since the beginning, he could be whatever he wanted to be; from sleazy and repulsive to absolutely gorgeous and angelic.
    That is why I don’t resent him playing a younger character; Samar for instance is not just a struggling punjabi street singer, he has all the wild restrained energy needed to win the almost unattainable woman he loves and in due time defuse some bombs!
    SRK is young and mature Samar without any suspension of disbelief!

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    • I agree, he has an amazing ability to put youthful energy into his performance. I noticed it so much in JHMS, he was playing someone old before his time, his personality and face showed age and tiredness, but he put all the energy into the way he moved and spoke so that you could feel the youth.

      Liked by 1 person

      • At 52, he could easily pull off a rumpled 42 without too many problems. Looking 10 years younger is not easy. He’s helped a lot by his lean body and excessive energy. The way he’s able to move in spite of all those surgeries is impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

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