Jab We Met is a widely loved Bollywood movie that was released on October 25, 2007, starring Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor in lead roles. The film, which was directed and written by Imtiaz Ali was declared a “hit” upon its release grossing 509 million INR with a 150 million INR budget.
Jab We Met is celebrating its 15th release anniversary this year, with many considering it a classic quintessential Bollywood Rom-Com to this day.
I once again must address my bias. I love Jab We Met. I love Imtiaz Ali (yes, even with the problematic tropes he directs, I’m sorry). My obsession with Shahid Kapoor in the black kurta pajama during Nagada lasted at least two years.
Needless to say, I highly recommend watching this movie.
The film amassed a lot of hype due to the lead actors, Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor, being in a romantic relationship in both reel life and in real life. The actors dated for four years and coincidentally broke up during the filming of Jab We Met.
Their very public relationship was engrossed in controversies which had their fans heavily invested—in part encouraged by the highly contentious Bollywood talk show, Koffee with Karan. However, fans and critics alike commended the duo for not letting their personal issues affect their on-screen chemistry.
The biggest reason I still love this movie today is because it plays on tried and true Bollywood romantic tropes, but it shifts them just enough to provide a freshness and newness to the characters and storyline. It hits you in the feels just as it should while also presenting the whole genre of romance in a different way.
A perfect example of this is Kareena Kapoor’s character, Geet—perhaps my favourite Bollywood character of all time. While lead female characters in Bollywood romantic movies have been heavily dominated by the quiet, coy and family oriented damsels in distress.
Geet was definitely written as a damsel in distress, left alone trying to reunite with the love of her life. But, she also had a naive, full of life, quirky energy that Kareena Kapoor pulled off beautifully. Geet was courageous, hilarious and she truly loved herself and I resonated so much with her character as a young brown girl.
To this day, I still use one of her signature dialogues in conversation whenever I can – “mein apni favourite hun” (I am my own favourite)
Tiktok has proven that Geet is not just my favourite, many brides today are recreating a scene during their weddings where Geet runs away from home the day before her arranged marriage is set to take place.
Shahid Kapoor’s character, Aditya, also played on the tropes of a typical rich, bratty lead who saves the damsel in distress. However, Aditya was also sweet, sensitive, and truly attentive to Geet’s desires. Unlike so many lead Bollywood characters, Aditya actually put Geet’s love above his own. In the end, it seems Geet saves him just as much as he saves her.
Their relationship was portrayed as a give and take equal partnership, which isn’t typical of Bollywood romantic films. He doesn’t push his love onto Geet or try to “win her over” or sacrifice everything to be with her when she’s in love with someone else. It moves away from the sacrificial and possessive nature of romantic love often portrayed in Bollywood, which makes his character ever more endearing.
The story is also well written and has a modern feel to it. Geet brings Aditya home to her conservative Punjabi family and nobody questions her character or talks about “izzat”. She even goes on to use him as a ploy to break off her arranged marriage.
In fact, Imtiaz Ali makes it all a joke, where the grandfather thinks Geet and Aditya are dating and he’s the only clever one to pick up on it. This also serves as foreshadowing, coming full circle at the end when Geet and Aditya do get together (duh) and he feels vindicated.
Jab We Met is one of the only Bollywood movies to have a Hollywood remake – often it’s the other way around. Imtiaz Ali’s original screenplay was adapted into the film Leap Year starring Amy Adams, Matthew Goode and Adam Scott, directed by Anand Tucker. It was also remade in Tamil by director R Kannan, called Kandein Kadhalai starring Bharath Srinivasan and Tamannah Bhatia. Needless to say, the film transcends audiences and is loved by many.
The movie’s soundtrack has held on strong over the last 12 years as well. The soundtrack was composed by Pritam and was a great mix of bangers such as Nagada and Mauja Hi Mauja mixed with pop-y bops such as Yeh Ishq Hai, as well as slow melodies such as Aaoge Jab Tum and Tumse Hi. Years after its release, I find myself revisiting this soundtrack anytime I come across it and it still holds up.
Jab We Met was nominated in almost every category in every major Bollywood award show that year. It won many accolades including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Kareena Kapoor), Best Actor (Shahid Kapoor), Best Music Director (Pritam), and Best Dialogue (Imtiaz Ali).
I rewatch Jab We Met almost every year, especially when someone tells me they have never seen it – a watch party is organized immediately. Take out the 2 hours and 35 minutes out of your week and give this movie a watch on Netflix if you haven’t already If you have, do it again. You won’t regret it!
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Gurshabad KangMore by Gurshabad Kang
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