It is difficult to judge “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” solely as a movie. Like it or not, it is the swansong of one of the defining directors of the Indian film industry and you cannot help but think of Yash Chopra’s legacy as you watch his last film.
In a recent interview, a film-maker described a movie as one “made with a calculator”. He might just have been talking about Ashwni Dhir’s “Son of Sardaar”. For a film that talks of heart and emotion, this is a movie made with cold-hearted calculation.
The Punjabisation of Bollywood has meant that on-screen depictions show a very polished version of Punjab. Fluttering dupattas, lush fields, glitzy weddings and lively dancing are what Punjab is all about, but Sameer Sharma’s “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana” doesn’t stick to any of the stereotypes, which is a relief.
My very first Yash Chopra film was a disappointment.
I remember watching “Lamhe” as a kid, almost without blinking, on a grainy television screen on a newfangled device called the VCR and thinking to myself, what is this story about? To my young mind, it didn’t make much sense. But the memory of “Lamhe” and that lazy summer afternoon I watched it with my cousins is still vividly etched.
Is it possible for a film-maker to regress with each film? Wouldn’t logic dictate that you learn and therefore progress with each film? But Karan Johar, who otherwise comes across as one of the most savvy, intelligent and knowledgeable people in the industry, doesn’t seem to apply that same logic to his films.
Director Sachin Kundalkar’s “Aiyyaa” is based on one of three stories in his earlier Marathi film called “Gandha”. The story, about a girl who falls in love with a man because of the way he smells, is 30 minutes long, simply and honestly told. There are are no frills, no side characters and certainly no sign of any of the absurdity that Kundalkar brings to “Aiyyaa”.