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JAB TAK HAI JAAN - The Maestro began his individual journey of Yash Raj banner with DAAG (1973) & thoughtfully ends it with a new age version of the same as his swan song. (Review By Bobby Sing)
13 Nov, 2012 | Movie Reviews / 2012 Releases

Ardent fans of Yash Chopra brand of cinema, would readily agree that there was a vast change in the maestro’s films before and after his DARR released in 1993. Though all those films were received well at the box office too but that perfect blend between meaningful art and entertainment, visible in his films before the 90s was somehow missing in the later part of his career. Probably that was the reason, Yash Chopra decided to revisit the 70s again and remake his own film DAAG with which he started his personal banner Yash Raj films in 1973. So unintentionally revealing its basic storyline JAB TAK HAI JAAN is a kind of modern remake of DAAG (1973) wherein Shahrukh, Katrina and Anushka replace Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore and Rakhee along with an additional new age flavor of A. R. Rahman’s musical notes.

With a career span of more than 50 years featuring some of the most famous & respected films in the 100 years history of Indian Cinema, Yash Chopra was evidently one of our important stalwarts of Hindi Film Industry without any doubt. But being his die-hard fans since the 70s, I honestly felt quite confused and sad during the first half of JTHJ, since it turned out to be largely uninteresting, repetitive and too long unlike all those Yash Chopra films, still fresh in our minds. The first 30 minutes of the film are just ok and then it starts walking on an all ‘seen before’ road with many sequences reminding you of YRF’s earlier hits and other films such as THE HURT LOCKER (for bomb diffusing scenes) and the recent ROCKSTAR (when the rich girl is taken on a freak-out night to rediscover herself).
Moreover I was also surprised to see the ‘Punjabi Learning’ sequence thrown in just for the sake of it wherein neither of the two (SRK & Katrina) speak even one dialogue of Punjabi apart from the Lyrics of that song. And that also when SRK was supposed to be knowing the language well as he is also shown singing a complete Punjabi song just a few minutes before in the film itself called “Jhalla” (and not “Challa” which I will reveal later). Further this first half also features a not so impressive long dance sequence (instrumental) added as per Yash Chopra’s decades old tradition (like earlier seen in Chandni, Lamhe & Dil To Pagal Hai) in which Katrina unsuccessfully tries her best to dance in a never before style on the screen.
But most importantly I was really amazed to see the totally unconvincing twist in its storyline on which JTHJ’s whole screenplay is based. The reason behind the separation of the lead couple in the film is highly absurd which really made be sad watching this last venture of the maestro supporting such a weak thought. However then came the only two saving points in its first half and they were its two good songs “Heer” and “Saans” plus the highly entertaining cameo of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor, which gives you some great moments to enjoy and cherish at last. In short, though both Shahrukh & Katrina have performed well but JTHJ can easily be rated as a weak film till its intermission wherein you can the sense the presence of the good old Yash Chopra only in parts and his strong touch of emotional entertainment remains largely missing.
However, the tables get turned post interval when you have the vivacious Anushka, coming in to save the film from sinking in a remarkable manner. Here admittedly, the girl has done many similar roles earlier in her recent hits. But in JTHJ she once again proves her acting skills impressively and that too scoring a lot more than both Shahrukh and Katrina together. So despite of the fact that we have the same old cliché’ plots of road accidents, loss of memory and efforts to bring it back in this second half too. Yet the film gets rescued only & only by Anushka Sharma alone and the whole team of JTHJ should be actually thankful to her. If truth be told then had she not performed this well, the swan song of Yash Chopra would have gone into the dark clouds of rejection in the first few days itself since it lacks many of those elements associated with the big name clearly.
Hence it’s the second half of the film which actually gives you some of those emotions you were eager to see and then it again goes down to end on another mediocre note unexpectedly. Therefore if you are eager to see something exceptional from the maestro in his last film, then its going to be disappointment more or less, as JTHJ just remains only a good one time watch and that’s it. And I am truthfully saying this as I really know who was Yash Chopra in real terms and what he has given us in all those precious incomparable gems in his entire illustrious career of more than 50 years.
Coming to the performances, it certainly remains a Anushka Sharma film altogether without any second thoughts. The moment she enters on the screen the film gets a sudden positive jump and you start liking the results on the screen instantly. Shahrukh Khan performs fine in the first half but the age factor hampers the impact naturally. And the veteran makes his presence felt when he actually plays his age in the second half. Yet, even the King Khan visibly gives up interacting with the spontaneous Anushka in few scenes quite sportingly. Katrina Kaif also plays it well but looking at the intense performances of both Anushka and Shahrukh, she forcibly can be placed only at a rank after the two.
Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor are a sheer delight to watch. And I really enjoyed watching their scenes in particular with those few meaningful dialogues reminding me the Yash Chopra vision of life once again. The team of 3, working with Sharukh in the Army base, support him well but Anupam Kher is purely wasted in a small role. Following another ages old tradition of Yash Raj banner, JTHJ is again a brilliantly shot film showcasing the picturesque locations of Ladakh, Kashmir and London beautifully.
Still the same cannot be said about its screenplay which does have many flaws and dull moments (in the first half) which could have been avoided to reach a smaller duration (as currently it’s a 3 hours long film). For instance, the road accidents shown are happening too casually, there are so many bomb diffusing sequences tackling it too lightly and there is a “Main Man” of Indian Army who visits London, has an accident, gets into the hospital, loses his memory, stays there for weeks or months…..but the Indian Army is least worried to look out for his absence quite strangely.
Now talking about the other important feature of a Yash Chopra film i.e. its music, I honestly expected a lot more than delivered from the unique trio of Yash Chopra, A. R. Rahman and Gulzar. Where the background score mostly works with the emotional theme of the film featuring a signature melody, the songs in its soundtrack are not that great (except Jiya Re & Saans) as one expected from the three exceptionally talented personalities working together. But apart from the songs, I have another serious problem with its one track mentioned below.
Its related to the song titled “Challa” which is not at all about any Challa i.e. a Ring (in Punjabi). In reality if you study the lyrics of the song and listen to its pronunciation by the singer too, then its talking about a mad person searching for something called “Jhalla” in Punjabi and not “Challa” a ring. But very strangely or weirdly all the print material of the film calls it “Challa” and not even Yash Chopra, Rabbi (the singer) or the lyricist Gulzar himself asked for its right correction to be made (and shockingly all these three men are born Punjabi’s). To make it more clear I would like to explain the meaning of its first two lines in support of my point here.

“Jhalla Ki Labhda Phirey, Yaaron Ohda Ghar Kehda, Lokan Taun Puchhda Phirey,
Jhalla Hasda Phirey, Jhalla Ronda Phirey, Jhalla Gali Gali Rulda Phirey”
(What is this Mad Man searching for? Which is his house….He is asking from the people around. The Mad Man is laughing, he is crying and he is wandering in all the local lanes.)

Now why this song was titled as “Challa” (The Ring) instead of “Jhalla” (The Mad Man) in all the film’s print material, I really couldn’t understand.
Summing up, with all due respect JAB TAK HAI JAAN is the maestro YASH CHOPRA’s swan song as decided by the destiny…..! But its definitely not amongst his best works if you are well aware of the body of work presented before us in the past decades. So my message to all the youngsters out there would be that do watch JTHJ as a good one time entertainment for sure, but don’t make an opinion about the VISIONARY MAN from this one film alone.
To know the MAGICIAN called YASH CHOPRA, you need to watch all his movies since the 50s to be straight. Because without experiencing all those gems you cannot reach the beautiful vision of life, he used to portray in his diversified projects so skillfully.
And remember he never died as an old man of 80…………….as he always was a young boy of 18 at heart…………right till his final days saying “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”.
Rating : 2+1 / 5 (Including an additional 1 just for Anushka Sharma alone)

Tags : Jab Tak Hai Jaan REview By Bobby Sing, JTHJ Review by Bobby Sing, Yash Chopra's Swan Song, Yash Chopra's Last Film, Reviews by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews,
13 Nov 2012 / Comments ( 16 )
gagan chawla
agree with u sir regarding the challa thing...it should have been the other way around...but still its an awesome song....abt the movie i felt it was nice coz i havent seen daag....and morover i loved it bcoz it atleast shows unconditional love wich in this day and age is losing its meaning....
Bobby Sing

Hi Gagan,
Thanks for agreeing to the point mentioned and do give DAAG a chance by finding some time for it.
For the new age viewers it might be outdated but the film has its heart in place in a much better manner than JTHJ, though made by the same person.
And regarding JTHJ, the emotional factor attached with YASH JI surely plays a major factor in its performance, impact and public result for sure.

Cheers!

Shal

I am so confused whether to watch it or not, really disheartened by the mixed reviews of the movie.

Bobby Sing

Hi Shal,
As mentioned in my reviews you can watch it just for Amushka Sharma along with some limited expectations for the film as you wish.
Cheers!

Poornima
Hi Bobby,
Today is Deepawali and I want to wish you prosperity in all shades of life, so that you may go on doing your meaningful work wonderfully.

Poornima.
Bobby Sing

Hi Poornima,
Wish you and all your loved ones a very Happy & Prosperous Diwali too.
Thanks a lot for your kind wishes and do keep visiting and be in touch.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

nihin
bobbybhai..happy diwali to you & your family ! Just wanted to say that!!

nihin
Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot Nihin and wish you and all your loved ones A very Happy & Loving Diwali too.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Jithin Mathew thomas

Bobby,
I saw the movie yesterday and was really disheartened. Personally after being a follower of your blog for 2 years i feel it was unfair to give the film a 3 stars. I respect Yash Chopra a lot and the films he has made. However a Bad film is still a bad film at the end of the day.
After watching this film the viewers were in a weird kind of situation. For one the movie lost its plot in its first half itself but at the end of the movie nobody could complain (the end montages of the director directing) as it would mean disrespect to him.

This in my opinion is a strategy by the makers. People in the theatre were no longer interested some time after the second half. However after they left the theatre they were confused on what to say. Yash ji has made a lot of good movies in the past and his name will always be there in the name of good directors from india. Jbhj has come at the cost of lot of small movies not getting screens due to its megnanimity.In this situation it is important to acknowledge a bad movie as a bad movie and not encourage the makers to come up mediocre products like this.
Wishing you a belated Diwali.

Bobby Sing

Hi Jithin,
I can easily undestand what you might be feeling as I felt the same too after watching the film since the expectations were quite high.
But regarding its ratings, as I have mentioned its 2 Stars for the film and 1 only for Anushka Sharma alone.

To be exact, had Anushka not been there, I would have lost all my interest in the film at the interval itself.. 

And lastly yes you are perfectly right that the emotional factor associated with Yash Ji recent demise is going to guide the overal impact and perfromance of the movie 100% without and doubt.
Again yes, they actually used that end footage of Yash Ji's shots perfectly right to make everyone emotional in the theater..............and as a result they coudlnt say anything bad about the movie at all while walking out as expected.

Wishing you and all your loved ones a very Happy Diwali.....!

And once again the ratings for JTHJ are : 2 + 1 (onlky for Anushka)

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Pavi.Pavish

Bobby Ji, somehow i am not convinced with the fact of CHALLA & JHALLA differentiate you are showing. CHALLA is the correct form and word used in the song and yes you are right CHALLA MEANS RING, but when we talk about our previous old & vast histroy of heer ranjha times, challa refers too the mad guy itself. And for that i can give you many examples : like if you listen original challa by gurdaas maan, or by arif lohar or even if you listen the earlier bollywood challa in the movie CROOK...everywhere it's referring to the mad guy itself. So, i dont know, but as per me the pronounceable is all correcto :-)

Bobby Sing

Hi Pavi.Pavish,
We all have our own opinions and that is perfectly fine cause actually that difference only holds the real beauty in a thought expressed.

However regarding the word here, I would like to say that "A Poetic Expression" can easily have more than one meaning and a song or its lyrics can easily have different meanings for two people. 
So in one way, if you wish to take it symbolically which is infact right in one sence then you can accept CHALLA as the mad person..No Issues.

But the point being made here is that if you carefully listen to the song sung by Rabbi then he is clearly saying JHALLA and not CHALLA.
And moreover all its lyrics point it towards being JHALLA and not CHALLA.


Now coming to the older versions you have mentioned............first of all keep the Crook song aside as that is certainly not anything about tradional song or culture..............In that film the word CHALLA and its traditional compostion is just used commercially to express the story of the film (with english rap too) and thats it.........and the Bhatt camp has been playing with such gems from long. Putting it strongly the CROOK song is just a good and cheap commercial Piracy of a Divine Traditional Song which doesnt even deserve to be discussed in the same parah.

Secondly, talking about the song of Gurdas Maan and Arif Lohar which more or less have the same lyrics & composition, I would like to request you to give it a cool listen again.......In that song you can consider CHALLA as a mad person if you wish or want to imagine in few of its lines...........................BUT actually there the word CHALLA is taken as a reference or a Key center point with the help of which the poet says many other things about Separation from the Beloved, A Mother's love for her children and Respect which should be given to our Parents. Its exactly like the other traditional song "TAPPE" in punjab where we use the rhyimng words to express the main thought.

From a different viewpoint  you can also think that in this traditional song poet is actually talking with the CHALLA (Ring) in his finger which was given by his beloved. And in PUNJAB there is a lot of emotional value attached with the Ring (CHALLA) of your beloved.

To give you a better idea............just think about these first lines of different parah of the song and give it a second thought again.!

Challa Beri O Buhe - (Referring to a tree in the garden in front of my door)

Challa Khooh Te Dhariye - (Keep it at the boundary of a Well)
Challa Kaaliyan Mirchan - (Referring to Black Spices)
Challa Kann Diyan Dandian / Challa Gall Di Ve Gaani / Challa Paya Ee Gehne - (All three referring to a Girl's ornaments)

So just give it a thought!

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS
 
 
Vinayak Gupta

Dear Bobby,

At the very outset, I would like to clarify that I enjoy Yash Chopra's cinema as much as any person born in early 90s might have.

It is utmost requirement for love story that it should touch the heart of the viewers. JTHJ is a love story without a soul. It would be correct to say it a successful project for YRF but not a movie. The credit of this failure may be given more to script writers who wrote an uninteresting script and screenplay. Not only this, they took a expressionless beautiful doll Kat to be a part of love story. After such a long period in the industry, she didnt know 'A' of acting. An emotionless set of scenes in first half make it a waste. The films contain few dance numbers and songs which have no relevance.

Even I didnt feel character of Anushka to be a saving grace. Yash ji tried to put few catchy dialogue in her mouth which look like saving grace. But it also heavily misses magical touch for a love story. Hearing 'fitoor' from her mouth looks like foreign language.

Now the last but the most important character SRK. As usual a big failure. He was a mismatch for the character. He looks old for such role.

I will say the only saving grace of the movie is only end credits and nothing more.

And the last twist in the story is flimsy and unbelievable. RETROGRADE AMNESIA....my foot.

Felt sorry for Yash ji's venture. It's forgettable

Kind Note: I have always appreciated your reviews for telling us truth. You have always discharged your onus. But I am really sorry to say but this one is misleading. The film deserves an empty run in reality. A "-5" film.

Bobby Sing

Hi Vinayak Gupta,
First of all thanks for always reading and appreciating my viewpoint but its ok to differ sometimes.
But having said that, we are actually not too far from each other here as the perfect ratings of the film stands 2 only from my side and the extra 1 is just for Anushka alone.
And as mentioned in my review without Anushka the film would have fallen badly as its evident from its pretty weak first half.

So I was too not very happy seeing this last venture of the maestro and thats the reason I wrote escpecially for the youngsters that please dont make any impression of the name YASH CHOPRA by watching any of his recent movies particularly this one. Cause the man in actual terms is visible only in his films before the 90s or even 80s.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS


 

Aashkaran Dhillon

Regarding that Challa thing........Isn't Gurdas Mann song also written as CHALLA and not JHALLA.... :/

Bobby Sing

Dear Aashkaran,
The Gurdas Maan Song is actually saying CHALLA (The Ring) and its an ages old popular folk song.
Whereas this is a new song talking about a mad man who in Punjabi is called JHALLA.

Cheers!

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