Just missed the release of the DVD in India by a few days, and then once back here just couldn’t get around to it until now, but it was well worth the wait.
Part road movie, all romance, Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met seemed doomed when it released last October. At the very same instant in the 24/7 news cycle, it emerged that the Chhota Nawab had usurped Shahid Kapoor as the object of Bebo’s affections.
Who would go see the movie now that the couple were kaput? My already tepid interest waned at that point. (Never wild about her, though like photos of airplane accidents, I can’t look away. And Shahid, well, up until now, he always looked so young on film that I felt as though some police crime unit would burst through the door and arrest me for ogling underage boys.)
But the film surprised a lot of us, found its audience, and a lasting, growing one at that.
We have Aditya, who’s inherited his late father’s business and seems to be faring poorly in the boardroom, only to also see his girlfriend go off and get engaged to someone else. Shellshocked, he blindly makes his way to the train station and boards the first train he finds.
As it chugs away from the platform – cue the banjo music – (yes, really, banjo music) – along comes the fresh-faced Geet, running to catch up as porters toss her luggage onboard. The motormouth Sikhni finds mute-by-comparison Aditya seated in her row, so she proceeds to talk at him until he slips off at some back-of-beyond town to be by himself. Thinking he’s going to miss the departing train, Geet hops off too, to warn him, and the trains goes without either of them.
And they’re off on their adventure. She insists that he accompanies her to her family’s home in Batinda, and he agrees. The reticent Aditya slowly opens up, charmed by Geet’s optimism and warmth, and later by her large, boisterous family. Along the way, they pass through Manali, and Geet reveals a plan to elope with someone other than the munda her family has lined up for her.
And it goes on from there, with some very lovely scenery along the way. On the road to the abode of Manu, we’re treated to Yeh Ishq Hai, which would be sweet, were it not for the mincing, faux-Chini, dance steps that Kareena repeats throughout the picturization. (Look here and see what I mean around 1:01.) Nagada is set on the grounds of the Dhillon family manse in Batinda, and wow, you gotta give Shahid credit for being fleet of foot and energetic. This is my favorite song of the film.
Mauja hi mauja is great too, except we have to wait til the very end to see it, and then, the sudden, startling appearance of a bunch of firangi girls, some dressed in stripperish renditions of coolie uniforms, is all very bizarre and out of step with the rest of the movie.
In a stranger-than-fiction moment, as the two talk about a woman who’s walked out on her man so she can be with someone else, Kareena tells Shahid “When somebody’s in love, there’s no right or wrong.” Ouch! What’s Hindi for “˜foreshadowing’?
I’ve commented in the past on the occasional gaffes you see with subtitles, and there was funny little bit of that in Jab We Met: during one song, the voice sings “sa-re-ga-ma etc etc” but onscreen we read the English equivalent “do – ti -la – so – fa – fa etc etc” and it’s completely at odds with what we’re hearing, which are not even words.
See it or skip it?
Aww, see it! It’s a lighthearted, sweet movie, perfect for a Sunday, when you don’t want to watch anything too heavy before the work week begins again. Kareena is likeable as the bubbly, confident Punjabi kudi, and Shahid, rapidly gaining onscreen presence, was well able to hold his own and not be drowned out by his ex-.