Search This Blog

Friday, February 29, 2008

"Jab We Met",and the importance of keeping things simple

I had been looking forward to watching "Jab We Met" for a few months,actually.I just hadn't done it.Now with the small matter of my mid-sem exams out of the way,I had my chance.The film had drawn rave reviews,especially for its lead pair,Shahid Kapur,and Kareena Kapoor.(The two of them having broken up garnered a lot of attention)I can now safely say that the film richly deserves each and every one of the plaudits it received.
The plot is fairly predictable,reminiscent of the popular Korean novel and film"My Sassy Girl"(Elisha Cuthbert will star in a Hollywood version later this year)as well as of a comparitively little-known O.Henry short story"The Miracle of Lava Canyon" (the character reversal stunt is pulled off far more convincingly in the film,though).The film's flaws are all-too apparent 'yet when Geet(Kareena)tells us "Mujhe bachpan se hi shaadi karne ka bada shauk tha,by God!!!",we believe her,revelling in this rollercoaster of a flick.And herein lies the importance of keeping things simple.
A film like "Jab We Met" is very important,and needs to be to appreciated for its innate rawness.It is almost as if it is a curious,wide-eyed child playing with a camera,delighted with his new toy,adding his own playful touches. From the first frame itself,it is very clear that the film is on trodden grounds,yet it makes for a highly engaging cinematic experience.It also helps that the lead pair Shahid and Kareena are on song,with crackling chemistry,and impeccable timing.
The dialogues are exceptional,revealing a lightness of touch,as well as an emotional maturity beyond the years of the young writer-director Imtiaz Ali.The film is sprawling with delightful one-liners,and the lead pair perform with elan,resulting in an absolutely cracking first half.These are just some of the things working for this wonderfully fresh effort.However,I believe the single most important thing working for the film is the way Imtiaz Ali interprets some rather-run-of-the mill situations.On at least two occasions there is a dialogue lampooning the "usual" Bollywood response to a particular situation,yet the director somehow manages to make it look like his very own doff of the hat to the masters.

The film is also refreshingly free of baggage of any sort,is absolutely unpretentious ,in this age of righteous outrage(which so delights the purists and a few toffee-nosed "serious" critics).It is,in my book,the finest romantic movie of recent years,and one hopes that director Imtiaz Ali continues to go from strength to strength.His own story would warm the hearts of many a romantic.The soft -spoken,shy Jamshedpur lad's rise to celluloid success is every movie-maker's dream.After the appreciated "Socha Na Tha",he has taken a huge step in his short career.But far more importantly,he has reminded people that a film need not be heavily stylized or densely plotted to capture attention,and the focus should be on that elusive quality:matinee magic.

No comments: