Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

November 13, 2012

Once more with feeling!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 7:45 pm

November 13, 2012

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma, Anupam Kher

Director: Yash Chopra

Now who’d have thought that a simple promise made to God would become a deal breaker in a relationship? Yash Chopra, in his latest and last film Jab Tak Hai Jaan, serves a missive halfway through a frothy romance between Samar (Shah Rukh Khan) and Meera (Katrina Kaif). Just as we’re buying into their princess and pauper love story, Meera makes a promise that will separate the two, and frankly drag down a film that’s coasting along smoothly until this point.

Fortunately, despite this difficult-to-swallow conflict, Chopra and his leading man lend Jab Tak Hai Jaan an indelible charm. It’s that charm, coupled with the filmmaker’s trademark freshness, passion, and tenderness, that still keeps you invested in these characters and their star-crossed romance.

As a struggling immigrant in London, our hero Samar makes a living washing cars, waiting tables, and singing Punjabi folk songs on the street. Cupid strikes when he meets Meera, the daughter of a rich NRI businessman, but their romance is thwarted when she makes that fateful promise to Jesus. Samar returns home to India, heartbroken and angry, and joins the army. In ten years, he’s grown into a bomb disposal expert who has successfully defused 98 explosives, and is dubbed “the man who cannot die”. Intrigued by his story, aspiring documentary filmmaker Akira (Anushka Sharma) attaches herself to his unit and travels with them to shoot Samar at work. Predictably, the feisty Akira is drawn to Samar’s brooding intensity, and pretty soon finds herself hopelessly in love.

Jab Tak Hai Jaan has the novelty of modern treatment, seen during Samar and Meera’s courtship where they make out in phone booths or cavort in bed. Which is why then that the regressive and old-fashioned bits stick out like a sore thumb. It’s a bit of a stretch to take in typical tropes like an accident that happens not once, but twice to the same character, a spot of amnesia, and that tired routine of having long, loud exchanges with God. The other quibble you’rre bound to have with Jab Tak Hai Jaan is the indulgent, leisurely storytelling that drags its feet in the second half.

The truth is that whether you agree with, or aren’t a fan of Chopra’s brand of love stories, he conveys them with complete conviction. The two female protagonists in this tale are intentionally different – Meera is the classic, Yash Chopra heroine (albeit a modern one who smokes and curses), while he introduces a new kind through Akira, described best in her own words: “I belong to the instant make out, instant break-up generation.” Katrina Kaif looks ethereally beautiful, but her emotions are limited under the shadow of a shaky, unrealistic character. Anuskha brings a spark to the film and has dialogues that stand out with her punchy, spirited take on them. But Jab Tak Hai Jaan rests with Shah Rukh Khan, and we see a subtly magnetic performance that is both charismatic and intense. The actor looks vibrant and so much younger, delivering a terrific turn as Samar, hopelessly devoted to his love.

I’m going with three out of five for the late Yash Chopra’s Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Despite its many script problems, it’s a consistently watchable film that oozes with feeling and real emotion. A fitting swan song.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. JTHJ is out and out a boring and gloomy movie and quite predictable. Except good short cloths and location, nothing interesting is there to look out in the movie. The worst and the most irritating part of the movie is Katrina Kaif’s acting……she can only look good and dance well…….but when it comes to acting she is still in kinder garden. SRK looks very much similar to his role in KANK (dull and gloomy). Its only Anushka, the refreshing part of the movie. Rajeev you should have given 1.5 to JTHJ and that too only for Anushka – but i know JTHJ will sweep away all the awards this year coz of the emotional factor.

    Comment by Navya — November 16, 2012 @ 8:10 am

  2. Ha ha, rightly said.It is really boring. but I dont know why the previous commenter liked anushka who sucks even more than the movie does.

    Comment by Guru — November 16, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  3. Hi Rajeev,

    Am a big fan of your reviews. This one though, I felt was a bit lenient as I found the movie extremely boring, lengthy and illogical, I have lived in England for about 7 years and I know it would not be possible for a civilian to convince the metropolitan police to let him diffuse a bomb in the train as we are asked three passwords even when enquiring about our mobile bills online, this is perhaps more unbelievable than a girl having direct communication with god and letting her superstitions make life changing decisions for her. The whole essence of Yash Chopra’s romantic movies have been how the hero and the heroine connect and convince their extreme love for each other to the audience, here I felt that was not developed at all. Nevertheless, am sure a lot of people liked it as it was quite difficult to find tickets even on a weekday afternoon.

    Look forwards to reading your review of Talaash,


    Comment by Bikram — November 16, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  4. This movie is an insult to intelligence of even the taxi drivers of UK and USA who are the target audience of this movie. Retrograde amnesia my foot. Even Manmohan singh has better intelligence than the makers of this movie. Its a Aditya Chopra movie passed on as a Yash Ji one.

    Comment by Vijay — November 16, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  5. fully waste movie,, like ra one

    Comment by mukul — November 16, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  6. JTHJ is a 3 minute story dragged into 3 hour mega drama. Its Anushka who makes the film slighly watchable, with her bubbly character. Else its a out and out boring film.

    Comment by Prashanth — November 16, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

  7. Here’s my review of “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” http://aajani.blogspot.ca/2012/11/love-is-in-air_14.html

    Comment by Amin Ajani — November 16, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

  8. Pathetic movie…

    Comment by trups — November 17, 2012 @ 12:28 am

  9. JTHJ has heart in it’s acting n that ‘s the uniqueness which is always felt in yash chopra movie. It has good concept but weakness in screenplay made film weak boring in it’s some portion.

    Comment by mayan — November 17, 2012 @ 7:12 pm

  10. Even with the unfortunate death of Mr. Yash Chopra, and big star cast the movie is not at all interesting and a very old wine in a new bottle. It reminds me of 60’s films with accident, amnesia and the doctor telling he will recover his memory if his old love nurses him etc., what crap! Shah Rukh also hammed throughout with same old mannerisms. He reminds me of Dev Anand in Heera Panna and Prem Pujari! Definitely old but not accepting the truth. Why can’t our heroes act their age? Katrina is plasticky. Only saving grace is Anushka, she is also type-cast in that bubbly role. I think Shah Rukh should take up character roles in future. His days are over….

    Comment by Sunil Bhoj — November 17, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  11. Sort of agree with you Mr. Masand, just that Mr. Shahrukh was as fresh as 5 days old bread, and Miss Anushka was as sparky as my 10 year old toaster…nice review otherwise!

    Comment by Vidgun — November 17, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  12. Anushka steals the spotlight in every scene even under SRK. Kats Meera character is weak and Kat isnt able to flesh it out. Anushka will take the award for best supporting actress.

    Comment by Pita — November 18, 2012 @ 6:59 am

  13. Utterly disappointed with your take on JTHJ. I believe the rest of us have already pointed out the issues with the movie and even on avoiding them blindly, assuming the Indian audiences in land and abroad are stupid, the romance itself is comparable to a Turd Sandwich. Absolute nonsense.

    Don’t let your review be a tribute to late Yash ji.

    Oxford University.

    Comment by Shakya Ganguly — November 18, 2012 @ 11:27 am

  14. gud movie 3.5/5

    Comment by rahul — November 18, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

  15. hello sir
    i just joined you i mean just today as i read your comment on JTHJ its good it was the cocktail of somme of yash ji and srkm movies it also can be said that it would be the new virsion of veer zara
    i think so

    Comment by Abdul Moid — November 19, 2012 @ 1:35 am

  16. sir
    i have high regards to your reviews for movies, both bollywood & hollywood. I’m so particular that in the recent past I have not seen a movie until you hav e reviewed it on your site.
    But jbthj is a disastrous movie. I have never seen a movie which is slow & drag. Its so predictable.
    Even Veer Zaara was nice with Preity’s performance.
    Please consider

    Comment by himaanshu — November 19, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  17. Mr. Masand, You have given genuin review. Despite many flaws in the story and screenplay, the movie is watchable. It is a beautiful presentation by Yash Chopra. Young heros should learn how to play romantic roles from Shah Rukh Khan. No matter how much young he looks but he plays young best. But the movie could have been more logical.

    Comment by Deepak Kumar — November 19, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  18. First time in my life I did not watch the climax of the movie,walked out of the theatre just when Katrina announced Anushka that she was unmarried.Could not take it anymore..I really wasted two and a half hours of my life..Specially the night before I watched a movie titled..”(500) Days of Summer” .I was bowled over by the film.JTHJ is no way an Indian Romantic film of 2012..Today’s romance is incomplete without facebook..

    Comment by Soham — November 19, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  19. rajeev i have always followed ur show on ibn as well as ur reviews…u had a big issue with saif ali khan playing the role in cocktail and voiced it to saif himself and even in ur reviews…then how come u hav no problems with srk playing a 25 year old and romancing gals his daughters age???

    Comment by rohit — November 19, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

  20. 3 starts for this movie ,u must b kiding me..n One More With Feeling..I guess feelings tht only Mr.Rajeev understood/felt..Either its coz it is Yash Chopra last movie or Feelings for the YashRaj camp..This is movie does nt deserve a 3 star at all..its a paifully feeling u r left with after the movie for waste of money.

    Comment by Mehboob — November 22, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  21. A nice, balanced , romantic movie. Good twist in 2nd half ,

    CAUTION: 1st half has at least 6 to 7 songs.If you are not a fan of songs of this movie better prepared for it.

    Comment by Dhiresh — November 23, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

  22. 3/5

    Comment by Dhiresh — November 23, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  23. Nothing to see in this movie!!!Predictable ending,boring love stories. Songs are also not matching with the character of srk. how come he is singing challa with a guitar at his age? It’s not at all looking good with srk. also in the song ishq saava, he is like a pop dancer with kat which is ridiculous. when u r not copying the stories of Hollywood romantic films, then why u r showing western dance steps that too with srk. srk need not do that scene where he is sliding under katrina in that song. it’s looking very odd.
    Overall it’s 1.5/5. nothing more than that

    Comment by Arindam — November 26, 2012 @ 2:46 am

  24. Bullshit movie

    Comment by Taran mehata chopda — November 26, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  25. Hey Rajeev… i m disappointed with you as much as I m disappoined with Yash and this movie. It qualifies as the most hamming movie of recent times and am surprised that you are calling it a movie with feeling and emotion. If at all, this movie takes us back by atleast 40-50 years, when in the name of entertainment public was subjected to 3 hrs of intellectual insult. Aditya Chopra may a good producer, but he sure as hell, needs lessons on script writing. Retrograde amnesia…!! ha ha…lol.

    Comment by Mush — November 29, 2012 @ 7:25 am

  26. No way this movie deserves a 3. I have read many of Rajeev’s reviews in the past and was surprised with the leniency shown for this movie. Rajeev’s review of this movie has shaken my faith in his objectivity.

    Comment by gaurav — November 30, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

  27. kat is not perfect choice for this movie ….

    Comment by khush — December 1, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  28. I was well used to the dumbness exhibited by my fellow Indian audience when it bad-mouthed none-less-than-exceptional Bollywood movies like ‘Barfi’, ‘Udaan’ & the likes & praised worthless Hollywood ones, like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ , ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Skyfall’ & million others.
    The above, insultin’ comments abt a FABULOUS TALE OF LOVE tht ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ is, Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma- all of whom’ve done a MASTERFUL job in the film, as well as Aditya Chopra, however, have angered me beyond words. You gotta keep in mind, these people have achieved a hell lotta’ more than you ever could, in their lives & deserve a bit more respect than they’re bein’ shown.
    Just add ‘I feel’ before every crummy “review” you write, folks & not assign your disgustin’ views to somethin’ you do not own or have the ability to create.
    That’s all.

    Comment by Sasuke — December 3, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

  29. Rajeev,
    Your site is one of the sources I rely on before watching any movie. But its reviews like this one that make me doubt your credibility. How in the world can you give this 3.5 stars? You wasted my time and money and I am looking for a refund (of at least the money…..and time too if possible).

    Comment by Mahesh — December 14, 2012 @ 3:51 am

  30. This movie offers nothing more than what his earlier mushy films use to do .. Other than this will be last of Yash’s movies .. thank god!

    Comment by Chetan — December 22, 2012 @ 1:13 pm

  31. @sasuke… all of them above have mentioned their names/ the word ‘I’… cynics like u can go find sum other place to rant… dont come to our reviewer’s page to rant and vent.

    Comment by Zaara — December 22, 2012 @ 2:00 pm

  32. Come on Rajeev Masand, just because these actors give you an interview, it does not warrant their movie getting a 3 star. Everyone knows the movie sucked, Its not about growing old, its about growing up.

    Comment by Sai — December 23, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

  33. How could a film be so illogical ? I don’t even think it has succeeding in eliciting audience emotions. In the very serious scene of Meera meeting her mom, the audience were laughing hilariously and i saw them weeping in the purportedly comic scenes.

    Comment by Shruty Sikhamani — January 2, 2013 @ 12:09 am

  34. By no means this film deserves a 3 star rating. It is on out and out boring film….My rating 1.5 stars…

    Comment by Priya Singh — March 24, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

  35. hmmmmmmmmmm saans me teri a so romantic song……..and too sooooo boring movie… oh my god.koi himmatwala hi ise hall me dekh sakta hai……………….bht expectations thi is movie se but dissapointed.
    veer zara ke aage dabbba hai ye movie

    Comment by sahil siddiqui(kackoo) — March 30, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

  36. Fake Indians……………..if this muvi wud have been an offering frm Hollywood, dey wud have died to watch it……………dis ws positively reviewed by d overseas critic………………well received by d overseas audience………………….bt dese ppl only noe to criticize…………………………the muvi ws awesum…………………..better than wt Twilight ws nd many other Hollywood films

    Comment by Utkarsh Dwivedi — May 11, 2013 @ 10:00 am

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