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Review: Jab We Met

Shahid Kapur is boyish charm personified and tackles difficult scenes with maturity. Kareena Kapoor is outstanding, says Khalid Mohamed.
Hindustan Times | By Khalid Mohamed, Mumbai
UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2007 11:19 AM IST

Jab We Met
Cast: Shahid Kapur, Kareena Kapoor
Direction: Imtiaz Ali

Get this. Since his life’s in a slump, he’s about to jump from a train going bump-bump. Just then, this jabber-blabber girl yells, “Hang on dude.” Suicide prevented. Notch one triumph already for the girl. She’s a pack of instant sunshine.

Actually, Jab We Met written-directed by Imtiaz Ali, is quite a delight, particularly for its the chirpy-chirpy-cheep-cheep girl and the retentive, moan-groan boy. Directed with a flair for garnishing even the most abject of circumstances with humour and irony, here’s a feel-cool movie. Wonderful.

The spirit is young and restless. The two strangers on a train bicker as the plot becomes thicker. From Mumbai, she (Kareena Kapoor) must reach her sprawling family home in Bhatinda.

As for the guy (Shahid Kapur), just jilted in ishq vishq, he doesn’t care whether he reaches Timbuctoo or Timbucthree. So, bring on the screwball shenanigans please.

Indeed, right till the intermission point, you’re a fellow traveller with Miss Chirpy and Mr Jilted. They’re stranded at Ratlam, land up in a sleazoid hotel, and eventually at her Bhatinda Bangla for a Walk in the Cloudish keep-the-elders guessing interlude.

Next: the couple race off to Manali.. but it’s not what you think.. the screenplay has organised a lemony twist. Cheers.

She has an agenda: another guy, a regular dumb Big Moose (Tarun Arora, horrendous). Duh. He tells her to take a hike. Now, she’s messed up while Mr Jilted becomes a livewire and even sorts out his plummeting business empire. The reversal of roles is achieved splendidly. So far, so yahoo.

Alas, the last half-and-hour or so of the road romance is not only contrived and corny but stretched to the point of disbelief. This is largely due to the absurd characterization of Big Moose.) Plus, there’s the return to the Bhatinda uncles, aunties and grandpas who either behave insanely or look like poor cousins of the DilwaleDulhaniyas.

Moreover, why can’t just everyone speak what’s on their mind instead of rolling their eyes like ferris wheels? Advice: flee the movie during it concluding reels. And please that mandatory end-credit disco-flash item is as boring as Rakhi Sawant’s media quotes.

Clearly, Imtiaz Ali had a terrific script but didn’t quite know how to wrap it up. There are far too many loose strands – Big Moose says something about being scared about religious differences and keeps changing his mind as if he didn’t possess one. Dumb dumb diga diga really.

On the positive side, N Nataraja Subramaniam’s cinematography, the choice of locations and Pritam’s music score are extraordinary. Certain scenes are written and performed marvellously – like the girl’s encounter with a railway station master, her emotional outbursts and the boy’s restrained reunion with his estranged mother.

Of the cast, none of the supporting performances is worth a wow. Shahid Kapur is boyish charm personified and tackles difficult scenes with maturity. Kareena Kapoor is outstanding. She handles mood swings – from the narcissistic to the self-effacing – with spontaneity. Yup, there is a chemistry. Jab We Saw, We Liked. Worth a trip.

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