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No Fear No Favour

Celebrating 10 years of Jab We Met, here’s what the director Imtiaz Ali has to say

10 years ago from today, the audience witnessed an out of the box love story.

On this date, audiences left Geet Dhillon and Aditya Kashyap dancing their way to the start of a life together. Shahid Kapoor’s introvert nature and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s high-spirited avatar made the audience fall in love with their characters of Aditya Kashyap and Geet Dhillon. That Geet’s zing now resided in the cocoon of Aditya’s calmness, and he surrendered his worries to her free spirit. Jab We Met enjoys a cult status in Bollywood’s rom-com space, but director Imtiaz Ali has revealed quite a few unknown things about his hit romantic film Jab We Met.

Apparently, Bobby Deol and Ayesha Takia were initially considered for the lead roles.
Imtiaz adds that would have liked to make a few changes to film but won’t anymore as the film continues to be a fan-favourite.
The director tells PTI, “There are a lot of things that I would like to change. Now that 10 years have passed and people are still loving it, I would resist myself from doing that, otherwise, I will get beaten up by fans for doing that.”

Talking about why he thinks the film was able to connect with the masses, Imtiaz says it was not the usual love story where the boy meets girl and they fall in love.
“I feel elated that people love the simplicity of the movie. It is a bit different. It is about positivity, it gives you hope, makes you smile, especially that part when Geet, on the terrace of her building, tells Aditya – ‘Life is a game. Let’s enjoy it.
“Getting stressed about it doesn’t make it easier’. I think that was the icing on the cake in the film.”

Both the characters were poles apart from each other and happened to meet when their paths intersected on a train journey.
In the second half of the film, both Geet and Aditya undergo drastic role reversals.
Talking about the chemistry between Kareena and Shahid, Imtiaz says it is not about the stars sharing an equation.
“… Else it will be the same for every film. The chemistry is between characters of a story… The actors are playing those characters, that’s why they look interesting together or not,” he adds.

He further says, “I was never confident of the film when I was writing or narrating it. I thought Jab We Met was a thin story. People had refused to be a part of it. The only person who felt confident about the film was Shahid. I was not expecting the film to be such a big success for sure. At that time most of us were very insecure about it. Now people love it but we didn’t know that time,” he laughs.

“They (Shahid and Kareena) worked very hard to deserve the success that they got in Jab We Met. It turned out very well, in that way they consider themselves very fortunate,” says Imtiaz.
But what has the couple been up to in all these years? Has their journey remained as breezy as their union or have there been bumps along the way owing to their diametrically opposite natures?
Here’s what Imtiaz Ali thinks is happening with Geet and Aditya, today.
“There would be a situation (post Mauja Hi Mauja, the film’s last sequence) where Geet will be planning her honeymoon, ferociously and very, very particularly. Aditya will be enjoying very much because Geet has always been the one to do the planning. They will go to certain places and she will have a very strong regiment and all of that… She will be very expressive about how she wants to live her life and the way she wants to do regular things. It would be very good. But there would be one time, when they would outgrow that, and change and become different because there would be a conflict where she will become too expressive. Although Aditya will not complain, she will realise on her own that she is overstepping and how it would be for her if Aditya was to behave even for a day the way she behaves with him, how overbearing it would be. That would completely change her and it would bring about a certain maturity in her, which only happiness can give you,… She will remain like that (her old self) but (she will learn) that it is possible for that kind of person to not be overbearing. That’s the learning she has to do.”

It’s the same thought that stops Imtiaz from bringing his imagination alive on screen, as he adds, “I have been asked many times to consider making a sequel to Jab We Met, but I don’t want to because I don’t want Geet to compromise. There will be a conflict between the two and I don’t want Geet to go through that. I want her to retain original nature, her purity.”

So, it is clear ‘Jab We Met’ is a story Imtiaz does not want to revisit. As for his personal relationship with the film, in his words it is, “a friend, I spent time with but who moved away. I crave him but he does not belong to me anymore.”
While speaking to a leading daily about the making of Jab We Met and sharing some interesting anecdotes, Imtiaz mentioned about a particular scene which he thinks he could have done differently. The scene Imtiaz is referring to is the one where Aditya (Shahid Kapoor), is driving like a maniac, just to ensure that Geet (Kareena Kapoor) reaches Ratlam station on time and doesn’t miss her train (again). In this particular scene, there was a shot which showed miniature trains. Yes, actual miniature trains. And of course, thinking about it now, Imtiaz feels plain embarrassed.
Here is the shot:

Talking about this particular scene and the ‘big’ embarrassment, Imtiaz said,

Taking responsibility for the poorly executed shot, Imtiaz added,

Well, it is nice to see Imtiaz accepting his mistake. But we are sure Jab We Met fans would give him a pass and thank him for giving them this gem of a movie.

Whenever Imtiaz revisits the film, he claims to feel as if he could have done many things differently, especially when it comes to locations.
“There are so many things about Jab We Met that could have been better. Locations were all mixed up. We were shooting Ratlam in Manali, which I would avoid today. We never went to Ratlam to shoot and we cheated many places. Manali has been shot in Shimla, and Shimla has been shot in Manali. We were doing all that because we were in a big hurry. We had to complete the shoot in a certain time because both the leads – Kareena and Shahid had to start other films,” reveals Imtiaz.

If he had to make it today, would he do it differently? “I would make it differently for sure, but there is a certain time for everything. That was the time when people travelled in trains more than they do now,” he says.
Jab We Met was Imtiaz’s second film after Socha Na Tha, and it brought him success and fame.
“I was a new filmmaker and my first film had not done very well at the box office. This film gave me recognition, love, and appreciation. Shahid and Kareena were already popular stars but their last few films hadn’t done too well, so this film did good to their career, deservedly so, because both of them had put in a lot of effort,” says Imtiaz.

One factor that is consistently seen in all of Imtiaz’s films is his colloquial dialogue writing. The director has written dialogues for all his films, since the beginning. What started as a happy accident with Socha Na Tha, lingered on to Jab We Met because of budgetary constraints and then, became a consistent practice with his future films. “Dialogues, in fact, got more accolade at the point of time. Perhaps because I didn’t know how to write dialogues (laughs). I wrote how people talked because that’s all I know,” he says.

At the end of the making of Jab We Met, Shahid and Kareena, who were earlier in a relationship, had separated, “but they were great professionals”. Sorry, we had to ask.
“Now when I meet Kareena and Shahid, more than saying anything to each other, there is that look of familiarity — even if I meet Shahid in a very busy party where there are thousands of people around. We all love each other a little bit more because of Jab We Met.”

Listen to the songs of the movie here-

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