Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Jab_Tak_Hai_JaanOver two nights my wife and I viewed another Shahrukh Khan vehicle, the popular film Jab Tak Hai Jaan. The more I see Mr Khan in film, the more impressed I am with him as an actor.

I’ve been wondering: is every Bollywood hit such a lengthy affair? At nearly three hours, it’s not the kind of film I can sit down and watch on an ordinary weeknight. When I think of hugely long films like this there’s Reds or Doctor Zhivago. JTHJ isn’t quite as long as these, and perhaps not quite as good. There are some soap opera twists and turns. The music and choreography I found not quite as appealing as other Hindi films I’ve seen. But it’s worth watching.

The faith element plans a major role. My wife and I talked about that a bit. The female lead, Meera, frequently visits a Christian church and makes deals with “sir Jesus” as her friend Samar refers to him. She will do small things and large in return for favors from God.

It’s a simple and direct approach I don’t agree with at all.  But I understand it, the character coming as she does, from a wealthy background. She is engaged to another man but Samar woos her, and finally, at about the eighty-minute mark, has convinced her. But he is injured in a traffic accident, and she “deals” with God: save him and I will marry the man my father wants me to marry.

A bitter and crushed Samar recovers, gets the bad news, then leaves London for his homeland. He has declared war on God over this loss. He works in the Indian army as a bomb disposal expert. He declines to wear protective armor, defusing explosives wearing a black t-shirt and camo pants. Since his beloved’s “deal” spared his life (so she thinks) he lives a sullen life basically daring God to kill him.

Going to war with God: this is far more intriguing than deals. Even if it’s not quite biblical. A young filmmaker is intrigued by “the man who cannot die,” and through her, we get a third perspective from a non-believer–someone who makes neither deals nor war. She becomes the catalyst for the film’s resolution. That, and a second traffic accident, and a surprise reveal or two at the end.

Good movie; better than average I would say. But not the best. Interesting treatment of faith from two or three very different perspectives. The dvd package had three discs. One for the film. Two padded with extras and no subtitles.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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