In what world would a beautiful, fablously rich girl who cruises around London in a chauffer-driven Bentley fall in love with a waiter? In Yash Chopra's world, of course! It helps enormously that the waiter is played by Shah Rukh Khan with charm turned on high-beam. In any case, you don't go to a Yash Chopra movie to delve into realism or the messiness of relationships. You go to partake in a fantasy of swooning, idealised love - and Jab Tak Hai Jaan delivers plenty of that. This film has all the elements you would want in a Yash Chopra film - gorgeously shot locations in the UK and Kashmir, lavish songs and three inherently noble lead characters who struggle gallantly against their individual obligations. But what Jab Tak Hai Jaan does not have is a coherent plot. Through a series of unconvincing story twists, the waiter becomes a major in the army - a bomb-disposal expert, no less. We first meet Samar Anand as he is about to defuse his 98th bomb. He does this without any protection and has therefore been dubbed the man who cannot die. Another girl, a feisty filmmaker named Akira (played by Anushka Sharma), comes into his life, but another series of clumsy plot twists then takes him back to London, where his first love (played by Katrina Kaif), waits. The story by Aditya Chopra is grossly over-written and borderline ridiculous. At one point, when Akira is looking for the major, she is told, 'Sir goes for quiet time after defusing a bomb.' The major is sitting by the river, singing loudly. The Hurt Locker this certainly isn't. And yet, despite the wobbly narrative, Jab Tak Hai Jaan works as an ode to epic romance. I didn't buy into the story, but I bought into the heartfelt performances. All three - Shah Rukh, Katrina and Anushka - are top-notch. And ladies, take note: Shah Rukh is easily Hindi cinema's most dashing army officer since Balraj Sahni in Haqeeqat, and with this film, he finally breaks his no-kissing rule. You also have to admire his ability to play the romantic hero. We've seen him do it for two decades but he still makes it compelling. Jab Tak Hai Jaan is too tangled to transport you. At almost 180 minutes, it also requires enormous patience. But I recommend that you see it. Because only Yash Chopra could make heartache so attractive and ennobling that his characters wear it like a badge of honor.
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