In Yash Chopra’s parallel universe, Shahrukh’s Major Samar Anand is a superhero. This is familiar territory for Shahrukh and he delivers a masterclass on “how to stop worrying and love the bomb”. To survive the movie you have to absolutely ignore any knowledge of Hurt Locker or Memento or logic.
Having said that, there are two things I am mostly worried about. First one is the message the film sends to people about why they should join the army or defence forces. Even in Lakshya, it’s only when Romi (Preity Zinta) ends the relationship with Karan (Hrithik Roshan) that he gets the discipline and mission in life. Similarly in JTHJ, Samar (Shahrukh Khan) joins the army only when he is dumped by Meera (Katrina Kaif) for some incomprehensible reasons.
The second one is regarding taking chances with your lives by going all Rambo with a bomb. No bodysuits! Our man Samar, doesn’t wear any protection and goes on to difuse 108 bombs (in a nice nod to religion again) wearing his army fatigues and a black T-shirt. All that because he has a point to prove (heartbroken, fight against God etc etc). Now, I am seriously worried. What if all electricians in India start touching live wires without any protection? You will die a fool. Don’t attempt it. Please. Even Sachin Tendulkar wears a helmet (and a thigh guard, abdomen guard, elbow guard etc.).
I have said this earlier and I repeat, Lamhe was Yash Chopra’s last great film as a director. It has been all downhill post 1991. The later movies have been saved by great music and nothing else. The problem with JTHJ is its music. One of the worst albums ever, by A.R. Rahman. Yash Chopra uses most of his standard templates in the movie as well and borrows some other templates.
The Nargis Fakri zombie bot: You have no clue about life or love, but you are a hot zombie. Suddenly you meet a man with great singing skills and obviously the secret superpower of winning hearts over. On cue, Shahrukh wants Katrina to discover the real person within her. How? Obviously by dishing out a hot ‘Ishq Shava‘. Trouble! What was she thinking after Samar already introduces himself as Rahul?
The God argument: Amitabh did it. Shahrukh had to do it. He does it in his own style, “Aaj tumse meri jung shuru hoti hai.” While Amitabh did it for his mother, Shahrukh does it for his love. Also, instead of this I would have loved it, if the women of Yash Chopra’s films were atheist. That would have made life much easier. Especially since the entire conflict in the plot rests on a “God promise”!
Dosti ki Line: This is one more addition to the growing list of Bollywood symbolisms and metaphors. Mann ki aankhen, Khushi ke aansoo, Insaniyat ka takaaza etc etc. You will be a changed man or woman after the movie. I assure you.
The Amrish Puri Transform: It ain’t over till Amrish Puri says, “Jaa Simran, jaa. Jeele apni zindagi.” In a wicked twist, Anushka Sharma transforms into Amrish Puri and says the inevitable, “Ja, jee le apni Zindagi.” I never saw it coming.
The Musical Dance number: Sridevi does it in Lamhe (or was it Chandni?), Madhuri and Karishma do through their ‘Dance of Envy’ and Katrina and Shahrukh and entire London underground do it in JTHJ before crooning, “Ishq Shava”.
Retrograde Amnesia: This is the new cool. Everyone in bollywood is having retrograde amnesia for different time periods. Ghazni started it and JTHJ continues it. Very conveniently the patient goes ten years back in time. Excellent use of the plot device here by Mr. Chopra. Well played.
Sharukh’s smile as a confidence jetpack: You can do anything once you are boosted by the famous Shahrukh smile and a head nod. Anything. Yes, you can, too.
There are two worldviews in Bollywood. One is a Yash Chopra worldview which believes, love triumphs over everything. He is anti-marriage and all such jazz. If you love, you gotta run. A glorious middle finger to societal norms and social institutions like marriage.
The other is the Sooraj Barjatya worldview, which says marriage is bigger than love. A
marriage of families and cultures and not two individuals and hence demands higher sacrifice. In fact, someone from the audience jumped out and shouted, “What kind of message they are pushing to the audience. It is all fraud”, during the Neetu Singh, Rishi Kapoor sequence.
There are gaping holes and absurd logic throughout the movie but you have to ignore all of them. You shouldn’t be worried that the London Metro bomb squad will allow a random individual to difuse the bomb or even get close to it with a, “he knows what he is doing.” You should also not question the apathy of the Indian army who don’t even bother that their top Bomb Difuser is absent and in a hospital in London and in the lovely company of two beautiful women. There are suddenly no bombs to difuse in the interim period.
Rahman’s music is horrible. This is the worst Yash Chopra musical in years. I don’t know what happened during the making of the film but the music is horrible.
Shahrukh is in top form in the movie especially in the second half. I quite enjoyed his performance. Dilip Kumar was born to be a thespian, Amitabh to be the angry young man but Shahrukh Khan was born to be a lover on screen. I still rate Dev Sahab as the greatest on-screen lover but Shahrukh comes really close. He can get away with anything as long as he is a lover. Admit it, how many of you do not want to say this to someone, “Will you slap me if I kiss you?” and go on to plant a full blooded, kiss on the lips and then with that classic Shahrukh facial twitch and smile, say, “Tumne thappad nahin maara!” Do not attempt it. Especially not with Katrina Kaif. Most likely, you will be arrested.
The closest performer to Shahrukh in the movie are the legs of Anushka Sharma. They are a joy to watch and are natural performers. They remind me of the lovely Eucalyptus trees in my beautiful Kendriya Vidyalaya campus.
On Deepawali, Yash Chopra has given us a superhero spectacle about a Bomb defusing bot who has a secret super power. This is what Shahrukh should have made instead of Ra One. A superhero with the power to win every heart over (well, almost everyone’s), and immortality. What a stunning Diwali present.
Image Credits: ibnlive.in.com, apnatimepass.com, filmydunia.com