Jab tak hai jaan .. (Whilst there is life)
This Bollywood love story presents a modern-day dilemma.
Reaching No 8 in the US Box Office Top Ten on release is a huge success considering the number of screenings it had in comparison to major Hollywood movies. Has the American psyche suddenly embraced Yash Chopra’s recipe for love? Or is the king of romance now acknowledged because this was his last movie? After all many become more famous after they have died.
The answer, it seems is in the magical tale of an eighty year old genius, a man who not only understood love, but always managed to translate love into any language, context, era, and remind us that no matter how complicated life becomes, that fundamentally, life is about love.
The classic modern American, for three hours escaped their reality; ever busy schedules, chasing time, goals, promotions, social engagements, dentist / optician appointments.. Indeed they went the extra mile and exchanged their gym workout session for an armchair indulgence.
A Yash Chopra movie isn’t about sitting back with a bag of popcorn. It’s an experience which transports you to a world where all those mandatory poojas and traditional activities, dictated by parents, fall into place. Who hasn’t, when faced with a pursuit, privately, called on a belief and bartered with powers beyond our realm of rationale.. “Oh God.. If I get that promotion I will truly thank you and give up.. swearing? If I get that pay rise, Oh God.. I promise I will be nicer to homeless people? Oh God, when I open my mailbox, let it be the news I want…”
We think we’re modern. This translates to having more choices, doing what we want, and certainly not making those illogical sacrifices we witnessed in our childhood. In truth, all that’s changed is the context. Many are still inspired by Descartes “I think therefore I am,” maybe the legendary Yash Chopra’s message is “I love, therefore I live.”