Nicolas Rapold / New York Times
November 15, 2012 09:06 IST
A still from Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Yash Chopra's final film, Jab Tak Hai Jaan (Till My Last Breath), raises the stakes on Bollywood romance to potentially explosive levels. The superstar Shah Rukh Khan plays Samar, an expert bomb defuser who hides behind sunglasses and nerves of steel in India, where he has fled after Meera (Katrina Kaif) breaks his heart in London.
How his past romance all went down is explained through a prolonged flashback involving amnesia, pacts with God, a hit and run, and a percussive warehouse-party dance number.
Along the way there are sideline gigs as a busker, a fishmonger and a waiter. Once the film catches us up, a fresh complication arises when a sassy young intern from a TV show, Akira (Anushka Sharma), gets hooked on Samar while shooting a documentary on his work.
A love triangle develops that is as intricate and death-defying as a prisoner's dilemma. Even though the film drags, the magic of Bollywood is that this story's muddle of twists only clarifies the urgency behind the undying desires of all concerned parties. And beyond showing the requisite London landmarks, Mr Chopra pans over earth and heavens in typically spectacular shots of Samar in Kashmir as he goes about his dangerous business. (Yash Chopra, died in October at 80.)
SRK charms and swaggers about, holding onto marquee status even in a post-amnesia hospital-bed scene that has him wearing an absurd nipple-tight shirt. Would that his co-star Katrina, who has great fun with a "Rent"-dress-code warehouse dance, didn't have, at key moments, the expressiveness of pudding.
But when Akira flirts with Samar while he defuses a bomb on a bridge - from which they hang in harnesses - Jab Tak Hai Jaan reaches some new acme of oblivious romantic folly.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Opened on Tuesday nationwide.
Directed by Yash Chopra; written by Aditya Chopra and Devika Bhagat; director of photography, Anil Mehta; edited by Namrata Rao; music by A. R. Rahman; choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant; production design by Sharmishta Roy; produced by Aditya Chopra; released by Yash Raj Films. In Hindi, with English subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 55 minutes. This film is not rated.
WITH: Shah Rukh Khan (Samar), Katrina Kaif (Meera) and Anushka Sharma (Akira).
© 2012 New York Times News Service