Release Date : 13th November, 2012
Time : 179 minutes
Director : Yash Chopra; Writers : Aditya Chopra, Devika Bhagat; Music : A R Rahman
Starring : Shahrukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma
If you’re in the right mood, a kind of mellow, romantic one, caused usually by the love of a good woman or a bottle of wonderful wine, you admire the crazy kind of love that our hero, a very extreme form of one woman man, feels for his beloved. You enjoy the courtship, the funny moments (the right way to pronounce ‘Salmon’, ‘Jesus Sir’), a nice dance sequence, the romanticized view of London, the surprise cameo and the overall performances.
If you’re not in the right frame, you will poke holes (crater sized ones, easy to find) in the plot, you’ll regret the fact that it drags for three hours, you will feel that the second romance was probably unnecessary (perhaps could’ve remained friendship or at best, admiration), will find the characters a bit stereotypical and unidimensional and will have serious issues with the twist before the end (there were definitely easier, more plausible ways to resolve the situation).
Shahrukh is a Major in the Army, working in the bomb disposal squad, based in Jammu / Kashmir/ Ladakh. He likes to dice with death, refuses to wear bomb suits preferring a perpetual frown, keeps to himself and maintains a diary detailing the bombs he has defused (#98 when the film begins). A lissome, cocky young lass, wannabe journalist, Anushka, gets her hands on the diary and finds out what made him like this, his back story. Of his youth in London. And his unrequited, all consuming love for Katrina. Katrina, the rich heiress, who’s led a sheltered life, does a lot of social work, rides around in Rolls Royces, does something in her Dad’s business (unclear what exactly) and, in accordance with her doting father’s wishes, is about to get married to a friend and business associate. And then Shahrukh, a street singer cum waiter cum snow cleaner cum fishmonger, enters her life.
I really enjoyed the courtship (yes, am a sucker for romance), and was cool with the film even after the slightly bizarre way Katrina / SRK parted ways but somehow wasn’t able to deal with the Anushka thread so easily. Little irritants, her addressing SRK as ‘Soldier’ (he was a Major in the army), not respecting rules, romping around in really short shorts with the entire unit, threw me off completely. Possibly am a bit touchy about our men in uniform. Finally, the situation created in the middle of the second half (am struggling to describe it without giving it away), as Anushka pursues her dream of working for Discovery channel, was completely over the top, unnecessary, implausible and unintentionally laughable. The music is good (especially the theme music), some redundant songs (it’s an indulgent kind of a film), they redeem themselves a bit right at the end but there was some damage done.
This is classic Yash Chopra, where you can fall in love with just the rich, beautiful visuals in almost every frame. And vintage SRK. Right from his patented eyebrow raised intense look, to the arms outstretched to his bewildered expression, we’re treated to all the familiar tricks and treats. In his army avatar, he’s more like his ‘Chak De’ avatar, reserving his free spirited, romancing self for his youth in London. Katrina looks beautiful, leggy, pouty and everything you would expect her to be. Am one of those who believe she is a good actress and this movie reinforced that belief. I’m also one of those who believes Anushka is getting typecast as the feisty, brash, sexually aggressive type babe and again, this film did nothing to disprove that. As Shahrukh once asks her in the middle ‘Were you raised on the Kamasutra ?’.
Love. Romance. Longing. There is a certain predictability, which comes with the turf and to Yash Chopra’s credit, he has always tried to push the boundaries, to come up with new situations. So is the case here. Despite its glaring flaws, you can enjoy the film. Just depends on how you choose to view it
The most touching moment occurs after the film ends. Snippets of Yash Chopra directing the movie, his familiar bushy eyebrows and calm, smiling face going about interacting with the cast and crew, walking around London and Ladakh. A huge loss for the industry. Hoping he’s someplace better…