Jab Tak Hai Jaan (As Long As I Live) is a simple tale of old-fashioned romance. Mainly shot in London, including the Borough Market, Canary Wharf, O2 Arena etc; one particular and quintessential dance sequence took place on board a boat sailing through the River Thames. Jab Tak Hai Jaan stars British-Indian actress, Katrina Kaif, as Meera, the legendary Shahrukh Khan (SRK) as Samar and the ever-so-cute Anushka Sharma, as Akira. Working closely with Yash Chopra, SRK’s stardom has reached international recognition and was even invited to Yale University on April of 2012. Who could’ve guessed this would be his last collaboration with Yash?
In the picturesque land of Kashmir, we first meet Akira. She dives into a river after losing a bet, but begins to drown. After rescuing Akira, Samar offers his jacket to keep her warm. Unbeknownst to Samar, his diary lands in Akira’s hands and we are brought ten years back to Samar’s immigrant life in London. This is where the real story begins. Meera, a devout Christian, born and bred in the UK lives the luxurious life as the daughter of a tycoon. And it is here that Samar, an enthusiastic immigrant who mainly works as a fishmonger and busker, first lays eyes on Meera while he is sweeping snow near a church as a temp.
Samar’s enthusiasm lands him a part-time job as a waiter in a prestigious London hotel, which eventually leads to his first actual encounter with Meera. Having eavesdropped what she prayed for in the church, Samar comes to realise that Meera believes that favours are only given in exchange of something precious. They make a deal, Meera gives Samar English lessons while Samar teaches Meera a song to impress her father. Affection gets the better of this pair, thus resulting in lovebirds singing in harmony (and dancing as well). However, Meera’s faith and strong belief in making deals becomes a barrier for their relationship, leaving a frustrated Samar lost in an unforgettable heartbreak.
I would give Jab Tak Hai Jaan 4 out of 5 stars, for its idiosyncratic cinematography, the minute yet vibrant usage of colours, impressive acting, and fabulous choreography. However, I felt that the predictability of the plot and certain exaggerated sentiments might have pulled the film back slightly. Nonetheless, Jab Tak Hai Jaan makes for a wonderful feel-good film.
Yash Chopra, who passed away just recently, was a great contributor to the Hindi cinema. His final work, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, portrays London through a perspective never seen before whilst keeping the Bollywood elements intact. Although cheesy or overly dramatic at times for those who are more accustomed to the mainstream tones of Hollywood, Jab Tak Hai Jaan offers its unique interpretation of religion, romance, loyalty and faith. If the title of this film was an answer to a question, then I suppose the question would be, “How long are you willing to wait to be with the one you truly love?”