There is an old Indian saying “Bhagwan Ke Ghar Mein Der Par Andher Nahin” (In heaven things may happen later than anticipated however there is never a moment of darkness). You could say that this is the adaption of the saying, “patience is a virtue”. Whatever it maybe, the essence of these sayings is what Imitiaz Ali lives by. The fine director created nothing but a flawless piece of cinema with his debut movie [i]Socha Na Tha[/i], however the movie remained in the darkness. Two years later the director returns with the same spirit, motivation and most importantly the same talent that has enabled him to create a piece of work that is simply outstanding.
[i]Jab We Met[/i] is without a doubt the finest work of cinema that has hit the screens since [i]Chak De India[/i]. Sure it doesn’t have a Khan in the titles but it sure as heck has two very talented Kapoors. It is not often that you see a movie that is so simple in natural yet so extraordinary. [i]Jab We Met[/i] provides this rare moment.
Aditya Kashyap (Shahid Kapoor) is without a doubt the most morbid person one can encounter. Despite being a millionaire his life is full of troubles. He comes from a broken family, after the death of his father he is running a business that is nosediving into an absolute disaster and to top things off he has just been dumped by who he thought to be the “love of his life”. A normal person would say that he is a lost cause but our Geet (Kareena Kapoor), is no ordinary girl. The two meet on an unexpected night when Adi is on the verge of giving up all hope. Geet’s fiery and cheery persona at first annoys Adi to the point of insanity but when he looks much closer he sees that there is a lot to be learnt from Geet. In her nosy yet helpful manner Geet stupidly misses her train back to her big Punjabi family in Bhatinda. The blame goes to Adi and thus Geet swears that she will not let him escape until Aditya himself drop her home. Geet is off to meet her family before she puts her genius plan into action, which is to runaway with her non-Sikh boyfriend. [i]Jab We Met[/i] is the story of how Aditya leads Geet back to her beloved family and then to her beloved boyfriend and whilst doing so he learns the lessons of life that were long due.
The story is not something out of the ordinary, nor is it a hundred percent original. While viewing it, the movie may bring flashbacks of countless other movies but many of the titles that will come to your mind would be of unimpressive productions. Many such scripts have been subjects of experimentation but not until today has a director succeeded in finally capturing the essence of such a love story.
[i]Jab We Met[/i] stands for everything Indian cinema has long forgotten. A simple storyline crafted with breathtaking Desi scenery, incorporating the colour and essence of India. It’s a refreshing experience to take a journey with characters so Indian and most importantly a journey that’s in India, which lately has become an unexpected factor from today’s film makers.
The script remains flawless with not a single angle that was perhaps misplaced, wrong or out of character. If you had to dissect the screenplay to bits the only argument you could present would be that songs, “Aaoge Jab Tum” and “Yeh Ishq Hai” could have been shortened in the picturisation.
All most each and every scene has something outstanding about it, be it the cinematography, the dialogue or the performance. However if you had to choose a few scenes to pin point then two of Shahid’s scenes certainly stand out. The first would be his introductory dialogue scene with Kareena on the train when they first meet, and the second would be the one when Shahid meets Kareena after nine months apart.
Usually it’s the cast and director who receive all the accolades however besides these two people there are a two other sources that make [i]Jab We Met[/i] such a fantastic movie.
The first would be the combined talents of the editor, Aarti Kashyap and the three in one screenplay writer, story writer and director, Imitiaz Ali. The two managed to make the impossible possible, that is they managed to make a climax that was NOT a bore. Usually in such stories climaxes are full of tears, hugs, slow motion shots and long dragged out dialogues that by the time actors finish delivering, audiences are fast asleep (usually saying “we get it, now can we please roll the credits!”). As the story unfolds many would think that like any other love story this too will have a bored out climax but that is not the case. It’s quick, clean and provides all you need to come out of the cinema fully satisfied. Most importantly whilst making it short the makers kept in mind that it wasn’t rushed or haphazard and that it provides all the necessary answers. That is without a doubt the strongest point of [i]Jab We Met[/i].
Lastly, cinematographer, S Natarajan Subramaniam needs to be congratulated for creating a movie that is absolutely down-to-earth. The cinematography is a perfect combination of classy yet realistic. It doesn’t look cheap nor does it look overdone. Not many movies are so perfectly captured. For [i]Jab We Met[/i] this style of cinematography was very much needed as it worked hand in hand with the style of story telling and characters.
At last we get to the most anticipated part of this review, the performances. Where to begin? Lets start with the scene stealer, Shahid Kapoor. Saying that he has grown from strength-to-strength would seem like an understatement. The actor simply blows you away. Dialogues delivered flawlessly, expressions that are priceless and with a fresh matured look that is to die for (especially in the ‘Mauja Mauja’ song sequence). One would not believe that such a knock-out performance was delivered by someone who is only 4 yrs old in terms of acting. [i]Jab We Met[/i] is by far the finest piece of work to the actor’s name. One hopes for more fantastic performances from the actor in his upcoming releases.
Kareena Kapoor appears in a persona never seen before. Sure she has been the “crazy” girl in many previous releases but never has she made transitions between a “crazy” and “normal” girl so beautifully. She just might be the saving grace of Bollywood at a time when we are absolutely desperate for more and more capable actresses. The only flaw in her performance would be the slight bits of overacting in one or two sequences. But regardless like Shahid, Kareena also has just performed one of the most memorable performances of her career.
To sum up this fabulous experience [i]Jab We Met[/i] would be a movie that needs to be studied by students of cinema and makers of Bollywood. The movie teaches a valuable lesson which is that you don’t need an “out of this world” script in order to make an “out of this world” movie. This one is without a doubt, one of the masterpieces of 2007!