Finally I watched one of the biggest hits of the season, Jab We Met, despite my reservations (more than two hours of the ever irritating Ms. Kapoor!). And by the end I wondered what made it a hit? I had loved Imtiaz Ali’s earlier movie, Ahista Ahista, which stayed true to its name, and was paced really slow. Still, it had a lot to take away from. I could empathize with the characters, and their struggles. The lead character of Abhay Deol was not a buttered up, huge hearted hero, but just a normal guy with a selfish streak, and the chemistry was good. It almost reminded me of Rajanigandha. JWM, on the other hand left me dry. The only saving grace was Shahid Kapoor’s effective underplay.
If Mr. Ali had told Kareena to do an underplay, it would have perfectly worked: the left over over-acting then would have been just about enough. Unfortunately Ali seems to have forgotten the “level” at which Kareena acts, and the over-the-top character goes so over the top that the chappar goes off. Thankfully I had read a couple of reviews which told me that the overacting just lasts about 2 hours, so I had something to look forward to.
The storyline seems like a remake of Ahista Ahista, with reshuffle and a little morphing. Common threads? Middle class naive girl running away from home to get married to her flame, a noble knight to save her when she’s in distress, the girl’s boyfriend ditching her (by accident or design), the girl gravitating towards the knight, the boyfriend coming back … even love changing the knight: who shades of complacency/dejection. I guess the bitter pill that Ali had to swallow after Ahista Ahista must have made him tell the story in a different way. It seems to have worked for most, however I am lamenting demise of another sensitive director.
All in all, it’s a thumbs-down. The movie is neither entertaining, nor does it have depth, and it hangs like a trishanku in a no man’s land. The cinematography and the like are definitely better, couple of songs are haunting (actually just one), but in most departments that matter, the movie is disappointing.
Acting: (3/5: Minus Kareena of course)