Movie Review: Jab We Met

November 04, 2007
Aditi Nadkarni

When the movie began, I checked a few times to make sure I hadn't accidentally clicked the "Mute" setting on my remote. The long, dramatic silence that opens Imtiaz Ali's Jab We Met is quickly interrupted as the effervescent character of Geet (Kareena Kapoor) makes an entrance. Had it not been for the hint of charm in Shahid Kapoor's bespectacled, serious guy persona, he would've easily faded away into the background as Geet's character engulfed the screen. But the stark contrast between these two personalities is what keeps the audience rooted.

Geet's bubbly persona is a homage to some of the most loved female protagonists of popular Hindi cinema such as the garrulous Basanti of Sholay, the gregarious Manju of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Khoobsurat, the rebellious Pooja of Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahi and of course the doe-eyed, sensitive Simran of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Shahid Kapoor's semblance to the Shah Rukh Khan of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is unmistakable and so is the Punjabi family ambiance.

Aditya Kashyap (Shahid Kapoor), an industrialist afflicted with a serious heartbreak hops onto a train in a daze and takes a life changing journey when he meets Geet (Kareena Kapoor), an exhuberant, pretty girl with a taste for adventure. When they cross paths, Geet has her life planned out in dreams while a distraught Aditya does not even know where the train he is on board is headed. But by the second half of the movie, this equation is flipped. The hopeless romantic in Geet faces rejection from her boyfriend Anshuman (Tarun Arora) while Aditya enriched by his experiences with Geet manages to take the risks needed to resurrect his failing business empire. Aditya walks into Geet's life yet again, this time with plans of repairing her broken heart and reunite her with Anshuman. As always, though, life throws these two pilgrims one more curb.

At the heart of every commercial Hindi film is a love story and it so happens that Jab We Met manages to encompass within its storyline, the shades and sequences of every known memorable Bollywood hit. While plagiarism has long since plagued Bollywood, Jab We Met surprisingly brings originality even while borrowing from the plots of hugely popular films. More importantly, it gives some new meaning to the old definitions of romance. This film finally breaks the stale marriage between romance and tradition and gives way to the uninhibited and adventurous friendship that is probably at the core of every lasting love affair. It also re-familiarizes the Indian audience to the idea that the first love needn't be the one that seals the heart and that there is indeed a deeper love after a failed one. The usual over the top mummy-daddy characters of Alok Nath, Anupam Kher, Reema Lagoo were thankfully missing which may hint towards the long overdue growing up of the Bollywood's typecast chocolate hero. (After it can't all be about loving one's parents, can it, KJ?)

The most remarkable sense of originality lies in Imtiaz Ali's handling of the film's female protagonist whose every line evokes a ready smile. Very few films in recent times have managed to bring the female protagonist to the forefront with such finesse. The rebellion, the joi de vivre and spirit of a bold young Sikh girl living life on her own terms was refreshingly reminiscent of the strong female characters of yesteryears that are now sadly lost to item numbers and eye-candy roles in current times. With Jab We Met, one can safely say that the female protagonist is back in Bollywood.

The film's two main characters make up the bulk of the scenes. Kareena Kapoor's performance bolsters the film even when the pace dwindles towards the slightly dawdling latter half. With Jab We Met, Kareena Kapoor proves herself to be one of the very few actresses of present day Bollywood who can emote unrestrainedly when the camera floods her face. Shahid Kapoor's slightly grown-up look and quick charm fits right into the variable of a mainstream Hindi cinema's leading man. The music is melodious in the context of the film and is sprinkled with a couple of catchy bhangra numbers that are characteristic of most recent Bollywood hits.

All in all, Jab We Met made for an entertaining DVD movie night. On a slightly more melancholy note however, it reminded me of how little we expect from mainstream Bollywood films anymore and how happy we are when a film has a believable albeit predictable love story, a few endearing characters, some substantial acting and a steady plot, though I can never stop wondering why Punjabis are the only ones falling in love and standing amidst mustard fields, ready hearts on their sleeves.

Aditi Nadkarni is a cancer researcher, a film reviewer and a poet; her many occupations are an odd yet fun miscellany of creative pursuits. Visit her blog for more of her articles and artistic as well as photographic exploits.
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November 5, 2007
05:25 AM

This one is a different review preparation unlike for the vivacious Aditi. Just kidding! I liked it. I will watch the movie now.

BTW, I quite agree with u, why only Punjabi's get to be lovers. Becoz, they have way too many "HAPPY Singhs". I can tell you off hand atleast 5 of my close panju friends who have 'Happy' as their pet names. More over they always wore HAPPY logo t-shirts to school. These Tees were really popular in late 80's.

And, the kick for KJo was witty, you have way w/ words, don't u?

I have a different take on the love part -

About, deeper love, after failed first one. Yeah! you are right becoz we tend to learn not to make same mistakes again. First failure, tells us a lot about our short-comings as well. That too ONly if, we welcome them.

Trust me, I have been thru' this phase and it hurts why we did the mistakes then. In most cases, where both the lovers are 'Sane' individuals, It's not that u love the other person deeper, we go out of the way to make the other person happy as our past b-i-t-e-s us without we even knowing.

November 5, 2007
09:18 AM

Honestly, I don't know what the hoopla is all about. I give Jab-We-Met a 6 out of 10. I wasn't impressed at all.

November 7, 2007
04:16 PM

It's very good review, I just love this movie i will 11 out of 10
Love you Shahid and Kreena

November 21, 2007
09:09 AM

Jab we Met was hilarious. Ok, agreed 2nd half was stretched and followed no logic whatsoever. But then since when we started digging logic in bollywood movies.

Only 1 funda rules while enjoying a bollywood flick... keep ur thinking head away.

Now abt the film... it was packed well, Kareena had some of the snapiest lines.I specially like the scene in hotel "Decent". Dara singh had only 1 punch line which he keeps repeating in every scene. Pawan Malhotra was loud..but hey aint punjabi's suppose to be loud, he carried it well. Divya Singh(seth) was wasted. Shahid complimented the role well.

All in all...makes a good pick for bollywood nite.

P.S. has anyone tried "Buddha maar gaya"?

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