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Jab We Met and No Smoking: The Hit and The Miss!
Sometimes you expect a lot out of a film and you are disappointed; sometimes you expect northing out of a film and you are in for a pleasant surprise. The whole irony is pretty evident in this Friday’s two releases, Jab We Met and No Smoking.

JAB WE Met (JWM) is director Imtiaz Ali’s next outing after Socha Naa Thaa, while Socha Naa Thaa scores over JWM, on the sheer strength of its simplicity, Jab We Met works because of its two lead protagonists’; after a long time, the screen crackles up with the intensity that an on-screen couple ought to have.

The film starts with a rich industrialist-scion, Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) being dumped by his girlfriend. Unable to take it in his stride, he wanders purposeless; boards a train and decides to commit suicide. Only this is not to be, for in the train is Geet (Kareena Kapoor) full of zest and life.

She talks Aaditya out of committing suicide and tells him to smile. She even offers to set him up with her cousin Roop; for she herself is in love with Anshuman.

She is going to Bhatinda to meet her family one last time; before she wants to run away to Manali to meet Anshuman to marry him (reason being, her Sikh family is orthodox). She wants Aaditya to help her out execute her plan.

Once the plan is executed and Aaditya drops Geet in Manali; he returns taking charge of his business empire; which, he handles with an entirely different perspective, thanks to his interaction with Geet and the gyaan she imparts.

One day, however, he is shocked to know that Geet hasn’t reached her family for the last nine months; ever-since he dropped her in Manali.

He goes to Manali to know after her well-being. He is shocked to learn that Anshuman has dumped her. He finds Geet in Shimla. Payback time, as Aaditya nurtures Geet back to her spritely form. Needless to say, they get attracted. However, Anshuman comes back.

Though, there is no novelty in the story, it is the performances of the lead pair that keeps the film afloat. Shahid is wonderfully restrained and enacts his part with rare maturity. However, it is Kareena who with her spritely performance (though she is over the top, here and there, per chalta hai) is the star of the show. Her gym-toned figure shows on-screen and thankfully she looks much more presentable than her flabby Don days.

Editing could have been crisper, about ten minutes (including a song in the first half) and the climax (the whole Anshuman coming back episode could have been yanked) could have much more impact; the same holds true for writing too.

Overall an average popcorn fare.

RATING: 5 ON 10

 

There are films that are highly pretentious with no content to match that hype. No Smoking is a perfect example of such school. If director Anurag Kashyap and Producer Vishal Bhardwaj’s aim was to tell the audiences to quit smoking, I don’t see that happening.  

In fact, with the kind of narrative that the film has (confusing, boring and bland); even the non-smokers might be tempted to take a joint to ease the mood.

K (John Abraham) is a compulsive smoker, much to the chagrin of his wife, Anjali (Ayesha Takia). A chance encounter with his old friend, Abbas (Ranvir Shorey) lets the couple know about some prayogshaala and a baba, Guru ji (Paresh Rawal); he helps people kick-off the habit.

K decides to meet Guru ji and thereafter it’s a smooth ride downhill for the film as well as the audiences.

No one knows what is happening, how is it happening, where is it happening?

Are the happenings real or surreal?

What are the motivations of the protagonist and the antagonist?

Where are the weird characters Alex and company (with a complete reference to Cuba and Fidel Castro) popping up?

Editing by Aarti Bajaj (who incidentally edits Jab We Met too) is stylised, but the narrative is marred, probably the director wanted it so.

In nutshell, this will go up in smoke, including the producer’s money.

A strict NO to No Smoking.

Rating: 1 on 10.

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anurag kashyap
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