Friday, January 24, 2014

Jab We Met...

I am a big fan of watching the movies on the big screen. I have the notion that watching a movie on the big screen increases your chances of liking it by 20% for easily comprehensible reasons. However, I also like watching movies on a laptop. The advantage of watching a movie on the laptop is that I can make notes at my own pace while watching, pause and take screenshots, re-watch the scenes which I did not understand, and observe the minute details in the screenplay. Of course, the charm of the big screen is unparalleled. But living in a city where the nearest Hindi movie theater is 250 miles away, I have become more amenable to watching movies on my laptop. Lately, not only I have become more used to watching them on my laptop, but I also do not mind watching movies again. Once I saw a movie, I hardly watched any movie the second time thinking it to be a waste of time. But now, I think that watching a movie again brings out a perspective that I did not think about earlier. I have been on a movie re-watching spree to learn more about my favorite films. For some movies, I feel as if I have not seen them at all. There is so much to write and I really want to share but given the paucity of time, I am unable to write on them. All I have left is a collection of rudimentary points on the film. Someday, when I write my book, I will write them all. 

But I do want to write briefly on one of my favorite films, Jab We Met. I have already written a lot here about Jab We Met, yet I want to keep on talking about this movie. This is one of those movies which anyone can watch again and again without feeling any trace of exhaustion. I literally speak along the lines while watching it. It is a perfect story of finding life through love. A lot of people adore the character of Geet but in my opinion, Aditya was a far superior character in the movie. Shahid Kapoor did not win as much accolade and acclaim as much as he deserved. Here are some more brief thoughts on the movie.

In the initial few scenes of the movie, a lachrymose Aditya stands in front of a mirror in the washroom. He is staring at himself with a look of wretchedness and melancholy. The script of the movie has a slightly different mention of the scene that we do not see in the movie. The script says, "Aditya stands facing the mirror in the wash room. He is looking down. After a moment, he looks up towards his eyes. He lacks the courage to look at himself. He looks down." In the movie we only see him staring at himself. But if we think a little more, the scene meant that Aditya, the way he looked himself in the mirror, blamed himself for his misfortunes. He is crestfallen and unable to purge the cause of his despair. Later, he meets Geet and they both spend the night in Hotel Decent. It is here that he begins to learn from Geet to let go and purge the cause of his desolation. Again, he goes to the washroom and he flushes the burning picture of his ex-girlfriend. There are no mirrors in this dilapidated washroom, instead he looks at the picture as if he now understands that it is not he, but his ex-girlfriend to blame. The washroom, where earlier he was unable to cleanse himself, was in some way referring to his act of absolving himself and getting rid of his ex-girlfriend's memories. Imtiaz uses this concept of repeating the aspects of the story line, if I may erroneously use the term contrasting symmetry, as we know numerous other times in the movie, such as the Punjab field scenes, and the following your heart scenes among many others..

Washroom - Blaming himself

Washroom - Finally cleansed

As I had written earlier, Imtiaz's films make the point that somehow journeys are more important than the destination. Whether it is Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met, Love Aaj Kal, or Rockstar - all his films involve some element of a journey travelling to different places. In the song Aao Milo Chalo, Geet and Adtiya use almost every possible means of transportation. They travel in a bus, a rickshaw, an SUV, a tempo, a cycle, and a sedan. They also walk for some time as their car breaks down. When the song finishes, there is even a boat in a river. All these different vehicles refer to the ups and downs of life, the momentum of life; that as the car that broke down, similarly, our life will suffer a temporary setback but we have to keep on moving. The script beautifully describes and accentuates the meaning of the song. Although the actual picturization is slightly different, it says,

The song is about travel. Aditya is going with the flow. He does not know where he will end up but he wants to keep going. This is the song of a man coming out from the shackles of his life and moving into freedom. Geet is the catalyst for this change. In the song, Aditya is getting infected by her bright spirit. He is even copying her subconsciously. His body language changes in the song. After the bus, Aditya is singing as he walks down a street in Kota with Geet. In the music interlude, we see that Aditya withdraws cash from an ATM. Then they take Geet’s luggage from the station and keep it in the cab he has hired. Aditya is wearing new clothes. The car is on the highway now. Aditya and Geet are sleeping in the back seat. Geet is seen drawing water from a hand-pump on the way. Both splash water on themselves. The car drives through a procession of camels. Somewhere on the road, the car’s tyre is punctured, the driver is repairing it. Aditya and Geet are sitting on a milestone. Then Aditya is driving, Geet is sitting next to him and the driver is sleeping in the back seat. At the end of the song, the car is standing at a dhaba somewhere in Punjab. Aditya and Geet are climbing a guava tree that is slanted on a water stream on the side of the dhaba.

I love how beautifully the song is used as a metaphor for freedom. Aditya inadvertently copying Geet, as well as he wearing new clothes symbolize a new lease of life he has got from Geet. Also, this contrasts beautifully with the first few scenes of the movie as well. A morose Aditya leaves everything, he leaves his office and goes to his ex-girlfriend's wedding, he drives his car, then walks, then takes a bus, takes off his tie, his cuff links, and gets into a train. He tried to break free from the world by considering suicide but Geet saves him. In this song, he learns to walk to freedom but not by suicide but by learning to let go, by filling his emotional void, and by taking the path of music. Again, this was another use of the brilliant symmetrical contrast used beautifully by Imtiaz.

Trying to break free

Aao Milo Chalo

Learning to start again

Life is a journey

Manzil se behtar lagne lage hai yeh raaste


The script also poignantly describes the feelings of Geet when she is finally going to meet Anshuman in the song Yeh Ishq Hai. I find the choreography of the song absolutely gorgeous. Saroj Khan has choreographed it splendidly and she totally deserved the National Award, which she got. The ethereal grace of the Tibetan dancers, the pristine surroundings of Rohtang Pass, the foot-tapping beats of Pritam's music - the song conveys the emotions of Geet being in heaven with aplomb. The script says, 

The road climbs up and snow peaked mountains come into view. We are in the Himalayas. And Geet is on top of the world. Her dream is coming true. She is going home to Anshuman. She wants to smell all the flowers and soak in the clouds. She wants to dance in the hill market-place, she wants to hug everybody on the street. Aditya is looking at her go berserk. He is looking at her with the feeling that he will not be looking at her for long. He is missing her already. Geet sings the song. Geet does the dance. Geet changes clothes and shows the options to Aditya. Aditya watches.

Just before the song starts, we also see that there is a peacock in Geet's bag. Does that symbolize her happiness similar to what a peacock feels when it is about to rain? She is in a trance as she is about to get her love, the same way a peacock dances and spreads its wings, moments before it rains.

Dancing like a peacock

What I also love is that the train played a very important role in the movie. In fact, the title of the film was decided by a popular vote with one option related to trains. Audience had a choice between Punjab Mail, Ishq Via Bhatinda, and Jab We Met. Not only do some of the most important things happen related to trains but there are also many philosophical references to missing the train as well, especially from Geet. At one point, she says, "Pata hai? Mujhe daravne sapne aate hain, kayi maheenon se, ki main na train ke peeche bhaag rahi hoon, aur train chhoot gayee." In the climax of the movie, she says, "Ek ajeeb sa darr lag raha tha, jaise kuch galat ho raha hai, jaise koi train choot rahi hai." Or the dialogue of the station master, "Zindagi rail ki patri hai. Ek inch ka bend aur aage chal ke meelon ki doori. Ek chhoti si bhool tumhaari saari zindagi badal sakti hai." The train also formed a part of another contrasting symmetry in the movie. In the initial scenes of the movie, Aditya is about to jump off the train. But Geet sees him opening the door and starts her monologue on how he should not open the door and then a train passes by in the background and everything goes mute except the sound of the train in the background. Similarly, in the final scene of the movie, Geet and Anshuman are meeting. Anshuman is talking to Geet and then a train passes in the background and everything goes mute except the sound of the train. It is then she realizes what a colossal mistake (almost akin to suicide like Aditya tried earlier) she is making by getting married to Anshuman. The train, thus, became a metaphor for missed chances in life and again, Imtiaz uses the element of symmetry to make his point.

About to jump

Train in the background

Now, I come to my most favorite part of the movie - Aditya. As I mentioned earlier, to me Aditya was the best character in the movie. After Sid in Dil Chahta Hai, if there is any character that I love so much it is Aditya. He is shy, funny, smart, and well-mannered. The way he is mesmerized by Geet's philosophy of life, the way he smiles to himself on seeing the antics of Geet, the way he pines for her, the way he leans on the wall when he sees her, the way he will force her to come with him, the way he cries on seeing the state of Geet's sadness, the way he cries to himself on realizing he cannot get her - Aditya is a gem of a person. Shahid is so good in this film, I don't know what happened to him after this film. My most favorite part in which he won my heart was the scene when he convinces Geet to go with Anshuman. Again, there was this element of contrasting symmetry where he tells Geet to listen to her heart, like earlier Geet had said, "Toh aise mein main vohi karti hoon jo mera dil kehta hai." He says to her, that his parents did not love each other. They loved other people. And his entire life he suffered because of that. They were great together in the office, but home was hell. They should have just followed their hearts and sooner or later everything would have sorted out. Then, Geet says, that she can’t believe he is arguing his case. Aditya smiles and says, "Main tumhari side bhi to le raha hun na, Geet. Tum aur Anshuman ek hi side pe to ho. It's simple, Geet. Jo log ek dusre se pyaar karte hain, unhi ko saath me rehna chahiye, tabhi sab khush rahenge." I loved it that he is the one who convinces Geet, that to me showed his immense poise and maturity. 

In the scene after that when they catch a toy train, Geet says, "Main tujhein bahut achchi lagti hoon na?" Aditya without making any effort to hide his feelings says, "Bahut. Bahut zyada achchi lagti ho. Magar vo mera problem hai. O yaar asi jo chahe feel kar sakde hai. Tujhe ko tension lene ki zarrorat nahi hai." He is not afraid to admit his feelings for Geet and will do anything to see she gets her love, even though he cries for her silently. As one critic described, Geet truly brings geet and music to his life. This scene was just amazing. Who will not get floored by Aditya? I can just go on looking their pictures together.

Geet wears a shirt with a poster of Mughal-E-Azam. The funniest part was when the guy on the bike calls her, "O Anarkali, sun idhar aa." Anarkali is a character from Mughal-E-Azam :-)


Apharan poster

Deewar poster

Zinda poster

Need a Railway Lexicography :)

Hotel Decent

Darshan durlabh ho gaye, jab se diya udhaar. Udhaar pyaar ki kaichi hai :)

Chinta di koi lor nahi :)

Geet - Dil Ki Baat

The script has many small differences from the movie. There are some scenes that are cut short. Like this one: 
Aditya goes to the window. He sees Geet going into her room. He stands there, looking at her room. She appears at her window and looks at him. He smiles. She smiles. They stand for a second. He indicates to her that she should go to sleep. She indicates to him that he should go to sleep. He nods. Waves to her. She waves back. He moves from the window. He takes support of the wall and stands. For a while. Then he switches the light off.

The script says, "Ten years later. Geet and Aditya are sitting on a couch. Their two sons are with them." But in the movie, we see that they have two daughters. 

The song Tum Se Hi has a completely different description as opposed to what we see in the movie. The script says, "He walks into a room in his house, takes down a guitar case from a cupboard, opens the case, strums, starts playing a tune with the beats. He goes into a reverie. A cottage in the mountains – picturesque, serene. Aditya sings in his room, thinking about the mountains. Geet comes out of the cottage. Aditya is singing in his room. Geet walks down the path from the cottage. She crosses Aditya, who is in her path in the hills, wearing his executive clothes and looking at her. Geet is buying vegetables at a market, drying clothes on a line, doing the traditional hill life chores wearing hill clothes. Aditya is following her in the hills, singing. Aditya walks towards a conference hall for an important meeting. He makes to push the door open, then turns to see something. Geet is standing there in her traditional hill clothes, smiling at him. Aditya pauses, looks at her with a smile. Aditya is in the important meeting, talking to the people across the table, Geet passes from behind those people, looking at him and singing. Aditya does not look at her but a smiles comes to his face. So Aditya carries on with his life in the city and Geet follows him and Geet carries on her life in the hills and Aditya follows her. Aditya’s team is taking a lassi break as they are working late hours for the launch of a new product. Aditya is sitting on a table top and singing the song to his colleagues who are sitting at cubicles and chairs and table-tops and looking at him. The song ends."

Geet brings geet to him :)

Also, I find it very interesting that they treated Anshuman very well in the movie. In fact, in the scene when Geet talks about Aditya taking his side, there is a different treatment of him in the script, which is edited out in the movie. Aditya still says that Geet should be with Anshuman, but he also says that she should punish him as she deems fit. He says, "Don’t forgive him. Trouble him. Take your revenge. You have your lifetime to do that. This man has caused you pain. He took too much time, you suffered, so punish him as you see fit. But don’t turn him away. That will be a mistake."

The link of the script is here.

Jab Me Met is such an exhilarating experience that deserves to be seen again and again. The premise of finding life through love and coming of age is a hackneyed theme and it is fascinating to find a film with such refreshing characters that makes it feel like a new experience. Thank you, Imtiaz for this gem of a film :)

Of course, my favorite song from the movie:

More later.

Dialogue of the day:
"Sab kehte hain Mumbai bada crowded hai. Arey? Crowded matlab kya? Crowd hum jaise logon se hi to banta hai? Khud bheed ka hissa hain aur takleef bhi khud hi ko hai. So funny."
 - Geet, Jab We Met


  1. This makes me want to watch the movie again! So beautifully written! :)

  2. Beautiful movie. Tumse Hi encapsulates Aditya's feelings so gracefully.

  3. Beautiful movie. Tumse Hi encapsulates Aditya's feelings so gracefully.


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