Jab Tak Hai Jaan is the swan song of the illustrious Yash Chopra, a great swordsman of Indian romance. Imperfect but striking, this ultimate work reserves many surprises. An epilogue that befits an incomparable career and shows the way to a new generation of filmmakers. Between tradition and modernism, Yashji reshuffles the great Bollywood cliches. The director's astounding impression impresses with his enthusiasm and freshness.
If he was in phase with his time, he also knew how to get ahead. If the opening of the film recalls The Hurt Locker (USA, 2008), with a breathless demining sequence, think again! Yash Chopra encroaches on the beds of Kathryn Bigelow. From the pen of Aditya Chopra, son of Yash Chopra, the film takes the scriptwriting. Thus for the first time in his twenty years of career, Shah Rukh Khan gave his first kiss in movies! If nevertheless a lack of finesse is to be deplored, the narrative remains implacable by the effectiveness of the direction.
In line with Daag or of Silsila, Yash Chopra work to revisit and redefine romance. The program of this work is a thwarted love story carried by an amazing trio. Shah Rukh Khan (Samar) is a bomb disposal expert in the Indian Army. A mysterious and reckless character haunted by past wounds.
Katrina Kaif (Meera) is the object of these evils, while Anushka Sharma (Akira) plays a pivotal role, who allows the story to reveal and develop. Aditya Chopra recycles the narrative of Veer-Zaara (2004, Yash Chopra), starting the plot with a flashback. He proposes a love story where two beings will be separated before the action resumes its course and continues in the present.
This feature film is embodied in various facets. At first, it is a modern film set in Kashmir and London. Samar, defying death everyday, is presented as the man who cannot die and whose secret lies in his past. Yash Chopra, conscious to direct his latest film, returns to the source. The folktales of Punjab and Rajasthan are thus reinvested. The borrowings materialize through the story of love that is narrated to us.
Underscored by the words of Heer, one of the musical pieces of the film, the relationship between the character of Samar and Meera evokes the drama of Mirza and Sahiban or Heer and Ranjha. If the tragedies of these lovers echo the story, it is above all the conviction of their passionate love that is exhaled in Jab Tak Hai Jaan in a timeless and immeasurable love carried to the firmament.
On the other hand, the ethereal character of Meera, although molded on one of the great female roles of Yash Chopra, refers to the devout princess Meerabai. All this subtext serves here as a keystone of romance and allows to pay tribute to the roots of the Indian commercial cinema modeled on and influenced by these songs, dances and stories.
The film is thus dotted with references to his long career and the legacy he leaves to Hindi cinema. It distills here the ingredients that made its success from grandiloquent decors, exotic landscapes, female characters and especially omnipresent music. The melodies, dotting these films, participate in one of the major assets of Yash Chopra. They are vectors of emotions and give a special aura to the film and an intoxicating pulse. They are the soul of these films.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan is no exception to this tradition and moreover innovates. Yash Chopra inserts an instrumental piece like Tandav (Lamhe) or recalling his Dance of Envy (Dil To Pagal Hai). Titled Ishq Dance, this passage combines Afro-Cuban drums and percussion and presents a nested duel dance in the plot with an explosive issue hatched by the storming of the choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant. But the brilliance of this sequence is manifested by a great turn of conjuring.
Yash Chopra, the undisputed master of crescendo and the increasing intensity of emotions, demonstrates his talent upmanship. He surprises and dares by another choreographed song (Ishq Shava). He thus doubles his dance scene by trading the percussions for a string of strings where are invited oud, mandolin, saz and guitar. He demonstrates his dexterity to put into scene impetuous climaxes to experiment and to keep you in breath for approximately 3 hours, without coming up against a drop in diet.
Beyond these inventions and arrangements of surprising sequences, the main theme of this film is love. But like Veer-Zaara, which proposed a double meaning, in binding up the wounds of partition, here other subtexts emerge. Certainly, Yash Chopra takes a look at the morals of youth and vision of love as consumable, but free will remains at the heart of the film.
Playing on the contradictions throughout the narrative, in order to highlight the problems, he questions religion, his beliefs and his blind control over beings. He denounces the dangers of a faith that is excessive and misinterpreted. Christianity serves as a Swiss terrain, finally neutral, to approach an evil that is angry and subsists as the genesis of human conflicts.
Yash Chopra gives with conviction one last ode to Hindi cinema through a bombastic passion. A perfect conclusion to his work, where he exposes to the present and future generations of filmmakers the possibility of keeping the traditions and values of an ancestral art and to perpetuate it by modifying it.
he demonstrates that we must not leave a fixed art in naphthalene, but make it evolve with its time, while retaining its substance. Jab Tak Hai Jaan is a classic invigorating the hearts and a fascinating ode that under simplistic attires and a manipulation of feelings reveals itself quite differently.