The Movie That Could Have Been…

Jab We MetThe film begins with the camera focusing on a pained expression on Aditya’s (Shahid Kapur’s) face. He has (as it is later explained) presumably been dumped by his girlfriend who is now engaged to someone else; his company (which was successfully started by his parent) is going to pieces; and in the midst of all this, a dazed Kapur takes the first train he spots in a Mumbai station ‘to run away from it all’.

In the train, without a ticket and no clue as to where the train goes, he encounters a feisty Geet (Kareena Kapoor). This is the beginning of a long and eventful night where Geet misses her train and attaches herself to Aditya, declaring it to be his responsibility to get her safely to Bhatinda, where her home is.

Aditya is warmly treated in Geet’s house where he sings and dances and feels renewed. He helps Geet run away to Manali to marry her boyfriend only to leave before the two unite.

On returning back to Mumbai, an inspired Aditya spearheads the revival of his company. He is equipped with Geet’s vivacious love for life and repairs relations with his estranged mother, renews his passion for music and propels his company towards scaling new heights.

Meanwhile, angry and worried, family members of Geet locate Aditya and demand to know Geet’s whereabouts. Aditya consoles them by reassuring them that he would bring Geet back to them. Thus he embarks on a search for Geet to Manali and brings the two to Punjab. There Geet is embraced by her family and confusion begins when everyone assumes Aditya to be her husband.

The film has not been shot very well; there are various sequences where the use of special effects becomes undesirably obvious. The unrealness of the screenplay snatches away the desired potential of the scenes. Dialogues are worked out well and sentences and gestures are extremely pregnant, adding to the depth of the story.

Manish Malhotra has designed interesting costumes for Kareena Kapoor, giving her character the apt style that the movie demands. A particular song sequence attempts to touch a 90’s look. This does not quite work with the rest of the movie and seems quite unnecessary. The bespectacled, understated yet refined look suits the character Shahid Kapur plays and gives him a serious air that is necessary for the role he plays.

Shahid Kapur has impressed the audience with his acting in this film, which sees a tremendous improvement from his earlier ventures. His acting is much more seasoned and credible. Kareena Kapoor has managed to play her role well and her performance is especially commendable in the latter half, which gives her scope for futher serious acting.

The metaphor of a train runs throughout the movie and is important at various levels. Geet calls life her favourite game and takes it extremely lightly, even though it is arguably a serious matter. Similarly, she boasts of never missing a train but is extremely casual about boarding one on time and seems to enjoy the thrill of narrowly missing it. At one point, she has a recurring nightmare of missing a train and she finally catches it (literally) while she is with Aditya. Their chance encounter on the train is parallel to the chance presence of Geet which prevents Aditya from almost committing suicide. She figuratively and literally gives him a second life. Also it is interesting how her character is named ‘Geet’; his lost passion for music is renewed after she reprimands him for giving it up.

The movie, in certain sections, shows amazing profundity. There is a very poignant scene in the film where Geet and Aditya argue over their different takes on life. Aditya reasons that some things, one has to take seriously, and Geet counters his claim by remarking how his life hasn’t gotten anywhere, even though he has taken things seriously forever. Throughout the film, there are various instances where the extremities of their natures come into sharp conflict, and viewers may well appreciate what the film maker might be trying to explain through these conflicts and their subsequent solutions. All in all, worth a watch, though it did leave me disappointed. It was as if the film tried to attempt something it did not quite accomplish.

Indrani Basu