Jab We Met turns 10: How Shahid, Kareena starrer became a template for romantic comedies
Jab We Met became a template for a multitude of Bollywood romantic comedies to follow as the trope of 'girl liberates the boy' became a formula to swear by.
A decade has passed since Imtiaz Ali's groundbreaking romantic comedy Jab We Met released on 26 October, 2007. The Kareena Kapoor Khan-Shahid Kapoor starer went on to become a template for Hindi cinema as a multitude of its successive romantic comedies, intentionally or subconsciously, borrowed from the film.
As it completes 10 years, Firstpost looks back at films from this past decade that incorporated the trope that Jab We Met made famous — the girl liberates the boy, the woman demonstrates the man how to live life to the optimum. This yin-plays-life-coach-to-yan became the focal point of a number of romantic comedies to follow.
2008 — Kismat Konnection, Bachna Ae Haseeno
Ken Ghosh took the concept to several notches higher when he added a supernatural dimension to Kismat Konnection. Shahid Kapoor played a jobless architect who was waiting for life to happen to him till his 'lucky charm,' played by Vidya Balan intervenes and makes him regain control of his career.
Similarly, Ranbir Kapoor played a casanova in Siddharth Anand's Bachna Ae Haseeno and is on a girlfriend-dumping streak till he is rejected by Deepika Padukone. Subsequently, he goes about mending his ways, atoning his sins and apologising to his exes.
2009 — Wake Up Sid and Dil Bole Hadippa
Ranbir Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor strike back again. In Ayan Mukerji's coming-of-age film Wake Up Sid, Ranbir plays an aimless spoilt brat who discovers his passion only after he starts sharing the roof with the ambitious and driven Konkona Sen Sharma.
In Anurag Singh's Dil Bole Hadippa, though it is Rani Mukerji who drives the narrative, she does teach a thing or two about saadde des ki mitti (one's motherland) to the foreign-returned Shahid, making him fall in love with Punjab ke khet all over again.
2010 — I Hate Love Storys and Band Baaja Baaraat
Imran Khan is allergic to love in Punit Malhotra's I Hate Love Storys. But it is Sonam Kapoor's ingrained belief in everything bubblegum and popcorn that compels Imran to visualise himself stretching his arms in a Switzerland pasture. His faith in love is restored and no brownie points for guessing whom to thank for that.
Ranveer Singh's interests are limited to hogging on bread pakoda and absconding from the prospect of toiling on his father's farmland. But enter Anushka Sharma who gives him a newfound direction in the form of a fresh binness — Shaadi Mubaraq — in Maneesh Sharma's Band Baaja Baaraat.
2011 — Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
In Zoya Akhtar's buddy-road film, Katrina Kaif serves as the knight in shining armour (in a scuba diving suit of course) for the corporate slave Hrithik Roshan. "Seize the day my friend," she tells him zestfully, and he gladly complies.
2012 — Rockstar
Poor Ranbir Kapoor has little angst within him to channelise into his music. But he knows the way out and relentlessly pursues Nargis Fakhri for some much-needed 'heartbreak.' But it takes an Imtiaz Ali to infuse the film with AR Rahman's soulful music and pull out a familiar trope, leading to Ranbir's liberation through Nargis.
2013 — Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Gori Tere Pyaar Mein
Ranbir from Ayan's Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is Shahid from Dil Bole Hadippa. He seeks raftaar (speed) in his life and is a globetrotter at heart. But a certain Deepika is roped in yet again to ground the restless Ranbir and liberate him from FOMO.
Punit Malhotra once again chooses to make the protagonist of his film, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, a confused soul. This time, it is Ms Trendsetter Kareena Kapoor who guides him through the rough patch and prompts him to turn his attention towards a green cause.
2014 — Ek Villain
Mohit Suri was spot on casting Shraddha Kapoor and Sidharth Malhotra in this revenge drama. She emoted and chirped on behalf of both of them as a rather mellow Sidharth looked on. But wait, it is only after she dies that he realises that he is a changed man.
2015 — Dil Dhadakne Do and Tamasha
For those of us who have seen Zoya's family drama Dil Dhadakne Do, it is impossible to erase the song 'Pehli Baar' in which Ranveer, with a huge helping hand from Anushka, breaks out of his family's shackles and asserts his individuality.
Similarly, Imtiaz goes back to what he does the best in Tamasha. He brings in Deepika (who else) to enable Ranbir undo all the social conditioning he has been subjected to for years and boil down to his truest self.
2016 — Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
The brand ambassador of Girls-shall-let-me-free, Ranbir Kapoor, finds a match for himself in Anushka who just does not reciprocate his love for her. But she gives him ample sukoon (solace) sermons and life lessons on friendship that he manages to hold his own through the troubled waters of unrequited love.
2017 — Jab Harry Met Sejal and Badrinath Ki Dulhania
Varun Dhawan is a certified stalker in Shashank Khaitan's Badrinath Ki Dulhania but Alia Bhatt's drive towards becoming an ace air hostess is what hammers in his head that girls have a higher purpose to serve than just act as objects of desire and subjects of male chasing.
Imtiaz moves on from the Ranbirs and Shahids to Shah Rukh Khan and sends him on a soul-searching 'Safar' till he encounters who is seeking him - Anushka Sharma. After they spend a considerable amount of time with her, he realises that she is the 'Radha' that he was seeking after meandering through a number of gopis.
Given the fact that Imtiaz has fallen back to his trope thrice, besides the umpteen number of times other filmmakers have followed suit, this only reestablishes the fact that Jab We Met was the first of its kind and its template, just like that of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, is bound to be the canvas of many more filmmakers.
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