Jab We Met Imtiaz Ali, Bollywood Experience Became So Cool

Yet another blog on a Bollywood flick. This time I am excited.

Eye on Bollywood: Amidst all the hypes that are surrounding Om Shanti Om and Saawaria, if you haven’t watched this cool movie called Jab We Met, you have missed something very good. When I watched this movie directed by Imtiaz Ali I felt really glad that I watched it. I hadn’t enjoyed a movie like that in months. Initially, I had dismissed this film as a “just another small offering from Bollywood with relatively small stars like Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor.” I didn’t know the director of the film and the name, the cocktail of Hindi and English, was unattractive. But, as they say, seeing is believing! I now believe in the talent of Imtiaz Ali, the man who directed and wrote Jab We Met. I have decided to watch his next film if me makes one. [The performance of Kareena and Shahid is laudable. I have never liked Kareena or her acting but after watching her as Geet in this film, I must say she can do the job.]

But the credit for the film being so good goes to no other than the director himself. The story is not new, it’s just a regular Bollywood masaladar storyline that we have seen in possibly hundreds of Hindi films but what makes the film so outstanding is the way Imtiaz tells the story. Jab We Met is an example of ‘how you tell a story is important that what you tell’. Here is a coincidence. I was heading towards the theater to watch the movie with the latest issue of Brunch (a glossy magazine that comes free with the Sunday editions of the Hindustan Times) in my bag. I had already read the cover story (which was about Bollywood celebrities like Aamir Khan blogging) and a travelogue by Vir Sanghvi (who is one of my favorite writers in the HT that I don’t always read is Rude Food column in Brunch). Since there was nothing to do in a public bus that was going slow, I decided to turn the pages of Brunch and suddenly I found myself facing a page that featured an interview of Imtiaz. I found something engaging and that was cool. I hadn’t heard his name before; I was ‘going’ to see his film and now was reading his interview. I like this man. (I forget the reporter’s name who wrote that piece though I generally give credit to reporters. The HT web site is freaking me out I am not finding the Brunch section over there. I will add the name here if I get hold of a copy of that issue of Brunch.)

I learned that he started the career with Ad films and TV serials. I forget the exact wording but his views on telling stories for different medium was the most impressive quote I found in the interview. He said that telling stories through TV serials and movies was different because of the setting in which audience watch them.
“While watching TV people do a hundred thousand things. So, you need to catch their attention by fair and foul means like loud music, screams, close-ups and melodrama,” he says in the interview taken by Parul Khanna. “Films are watched in the quiet dark of a hall and thus have the full attention of the viewer. So one can tell a story differently.”

Imtiaz Ali has certainly told the story differently in his second directorial adventure Jab We Met. Yes, “films are watched in the quiet dark of a hall” but Jab We Met was watched in a hall where viewers constantly kept on laughing. Two girls in school uniform on my side were laughing like ha, ha, hu, hu, he, he most of the time. I was doing the same. Felt so good!

Imtiaz says in the Brunch interview that he is “going on a holiday now and will decide about the next project once I am back”. I just want to say that I will definitely watch his next creation. Have a great holiday!

Related link(s):

1. Wikipedia entry on the film
2. Official web site of the film