Friday Film Review: Jab We Met (When We Met)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
“Changing fortunes await wealthy but dejected industrialist Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) when he meets a spirited chatterbox named Geet (Kareena Kapoor) on a train in this breezy romantic comedy from Bollywood director Imtiaz Ali. Nursing a broken heart, Aditya ends up traveling with the impulsive Geet, who’s on her way to elope with her secret beau. But fate has other plans, and soon Geet and Aditya are thrust together again … perhaps for keeps.”
Since I started watching Bollywood/Kollywood films, I’ve discovered that I don’t like nearly all of them. Sometimes it’s the actors (I can’t stand Rani Muhkerjee) or the plots that veer from frantic fun to drama in the second half (Om Shanti Om) and I’ve sadly returned quite a few to Netflix after hoping they’d work for me as reviews. This time, I determined I’d just watch this one and not get my hopes up at all. And happily, that seemed to be just the ticket as I ended up enjoying it a lot.
Kareena Kapoor is perfect as breezy Geet who can talk a mile a minute and usually has a cheery smile on her face. Her motto in life is live it to the fullest and only regret what you haven’t tried. She works on the Law of Attraction and thinks that what you want to happen to you will happen to you if you want it badly enough. She’s also spontaneous and fun and gets Aditya to join in even when he initially might balk such as when she decides this is the perfect time to jump off a dock into a shallow river. After all, you never know if such a chance will come again. Geet is a character you the viewer just have to relax and go with.
Shahid Kapoor makes Aditya a likable and sympathetic guy. I never once sat back and thought “Oh, cry me a river, poor little rich boy.” He does get irritated at Geet at times but quickly realizes she’s opened up a whole new side of his personality and made him a better person. During the first half of the film, it’s like watching a parched plant soak up water and come to life again. It’s also obvious that he’s starting to care for her and only leaves her (at about the halfway mark) because he wants her to be happy with the man she’s said she wants to marry.
The film depends on some misunderstandings to keep the plot going as Geet hasn’t told her family about the first man she wants to marry for fear they won’t approve and the family must believe there is a relationship between the Geet and Aditya during the final third of the film in order to keep throwing those two together until they finally acknowledge the fact that they’re perfect for each other. However, since similar things are so common in romance novels, this didn’t bother me too much.
The film is fairly fast paced and intensely colorful in that wonderful way of Indian films. There aren’t that many musical numbers but I found myself liking the ones that are there. They’re fun to watch, the lyrics are good and the beats had me bouncing along and trying a few dance steps much to the amusement of my kitties. Some Bollywood film dances are starting to look more like pole tryouts at the local strip club but with the (slight) exception of the final number, that’s avoided here.
“Jab We Met” has the flavor of Hollywood screwball comedies – watch for the wild taxi ride Aditya takes Geet on in order to try and get her back to her train – rounded out with a touch of “she makes him a better man” depth. The 155 minute length seems to zip by and for much of it, I had an almost permanent smile on my face. Looks like I still need some help refining what I like in Bollywood/Kollywood films but this one is a winner for me.