Jab We Met (When We Met) is another in a long line of couples on the road pictures, This one, a 2007 release, stars Kareena Kapoor as Geet, a chatterbox of a girl, and Shahid Kapoor as Aditya, a depressed scion to a vast industrial empire.
The way these things usually work is that the two leads meet acidentally. Naturally it is hate at first sight. Unexpected circumstances and hardship will keep them together for a while, but there’s always another player waiting in the wings. Misunderstandings and miscommunications cause them to separate, only to be re-united in the last reel. And they’ll live happily ever after. That’s the overview of many of the aforementioned long line of road pictures that teamed up a man and woman. Not unexpectedly, it is also the overview of this film.
Here, Aditya is despondent (best case scenario), and/or suicidal (worst case scenario). His father has passed away, his mother has run off with another man, and the corporate empire is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. And if that wasn’t enough, the woman he loved, has dumped him and married another man. One day he just walks away from a board meeting. He’s in a haze, or is it a fog, or maybe it’s simply a major depression. He finds his way to a train station in Mumbai, and he boards the train. He doesn’t know where the train is going. He doesn’t care either.
Enter Kareena Kapoor as the non-stop talking Geet. She tries to draw out Aditya (he had mistakenly occupied her seat on the train). He’s not interested in talking. So she continues to talk – about herself. ‘I’m heading home to Bhatinda, and from there, I’ll meet my boyfriend in Manali so we can elope.’ Yadda, yadda. Calling her exuberant would be a massive understatement.
She couldn’t be happier. He couldn’t feel any worse. He implores her to shut up and leave him alone. She blathers away. Finally Aditya gets up and makes his way to the end of the train car. He opens the door, apparently ready to take his own life by leaping into the path of an oncoming train. Geet and the conductor save him. Later, at another train stop, he gets off the train. She gets off to look for him. The train leaves without them. Now, their adventure together begins for real.
Kareena was actually terrific in her role. Self centered, hyper, and completely unaware of how she was being perceived by others. Shahid has his moments, but in reality, his Aditya is playing second fiddle to her Geeta.
There’s a few songs that will make you tap your feet. The story itself has no suprises, so don’t expect anything new. But, that in itself won’t prevent you from enjoying the film.
The history of this specific story is indeed interesting. In 1934, Frank Capra directed Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night. Robert Riskin wrote the screenplay. This was the first Hollywood movie to sweep the Big Five of Oscars - Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenwriting. In that one, Claudette Colbert is the rich heiress who is running off for an elopement, and Clark Gable plays the chatterbox – who is an unemployed newspaper reporter.
Twenty Two years later, in 1956, an Indian film called Chori Chori was released. This film was almost a frame for frame remake of It Happened One Night. The stars were the legendary Indian actor Raj Kapoor in the Gable role, and the equally legendary Indian actress Nargis Dutt in the Colbert role. Thirty Five years later in 1991, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin was released. This film was called an unofficial remake of It Happened One Night.Then in 2007 Jab We Met appeared. Despite the role reversals (the guy is the rich one and the girl is the chatterbox – the stories of Jab We Met, Chori Chori, and It Happened One Night are remarkably alike if not exactly alike.
While there’s no direct family or other connection between the original It Happened One Night and the first Indian copy, Chori Chori, you might be interested to know that Kareena Kapoor is the grand-daughter of Raj Kapoor.
I guess that the phrase ‘what goes around comes around’ is especially true in the world of Hollywood and Bollywood.