Dubai: Superfluous yet immensely likeable, Jab Tak Hai Jaan has all the trappings of a Yash Chopra grand romance. But like one of those old Royal Enfield bikes you see Shah Rukh Khan riding in the teasers, the movie sputters and backfires several times before it gets on track.
But once the plot thickens, all loose ends are quickly forgotten and the viewer is transported into a make-believe world where love triumphs over reason and practicality.
We’re introduced to a glum Major Samar Anand (Shah Rukh Khan) who can defuse a bomb before you can say ‘Hurt Locker’ and that too without any protective gear. The bravado has earned him the sobriquet of ‘The Man who Cannot Die’.
What makes this seemingly immortal brooding bomb-disposal squad leader tick is a hardbound weathered diary containing the story of a 10-year-old romance about which he sings loudly in what we are told are his ‘quiet times’.
Somehow, the diary falls into the hands of feisty Akira (Anushka Sharma), an upstart documentary maker who wants to make a film on Samar but ends up falling hopelessly in love with him. Now that’s a major (no pun intended) problem because Samar’s heart still yearns for Meera (Katrina Kaif), the daughter of a wealthy NRI businessman he lost his heart to in London where he worked as a waiter. Yes sir, a waiter.
Cupid strikes after they strike a deal: Samar would teach her Punjabi songs and in return she would brush up his English skills. But before their love story could reach a foregone conclusion, Samar is knocked down by a car and a devastated Meera who has a penchant of making deals with the gods, makes a fateful promise. She sweare she will keep away from Samar if his life is spared.
Despite its inherent flaws, JTHJ comes across as a beguiling romantic film that takes you on a roller coaster ride of high emotions set amidst picture postcard locales — a rare treat during this overheated season of action-packed movies.
Katrina looks ethereally beautiful and Khan delivers one of the most incandescent performances as he plays a macho army man and a guitar-wielding lover with equal ease and aplomb. But more than anyone the movie belongs to Chopra. In his swan song, the celebrated director once again proved why his legacy will be hard to match.