Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
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.
There are shades of “Kabhi Kabhie”, “Dil To Pagal Hai” and “Veer Zaara”, and as you watch Shah Rukh Khan kissing Katrina Kaif on a lush, green meadow, you cannot help but think that this man knew his romance.
The best parts of “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” are undoubtedly the scenes between Shah Rukh Khan and Katrina Kaif. This is about pretty people falling in love — not a hair out place and every scene straight out of a postcard.
These are people who are poor but own expensive guitars and designer leather jackets, and this is a world where even when someone throws away two coffee cups with reckless abandon, they land in exactly the same way. It might be unbelievable, but it is all very beautiful on screen.
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.
“Son of Sardaar” is a Diwali film, made with the sole intention of making money during the festival of lights, and stuffed with what Bollywood thinks is the complete package — romance, comedy and action all in one movie. But what is it they say about being a jack of all trades?
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.
The streets are bumpy, the women aren’t flawlessly dressed and the men do not break out into bhangra or slap each other on the back at every given opportunity. Sharma’s film is simple and shorn of any plasticity, and even though the recipe does go haywire a couple of times, Sharma manages to salvage the dish in the end.