Jab We Met is the Bollywood film that came out in 2007 and became an instant favourite for all Bollywood fans. The movie had all the right components to make itself a blockbuster – the right casting, good songs, feel-good element, good plot and strong character development. The script was written and directed by Imtiaz Ali, who seemed to be able to do no wrong. The film helped establish him as somewhat of a king of the indie-film genre for Bollywood movies.
We meet Aditya, a depressed and aloof heir to a multi-million dollar company and fortune, who has just seen his ex girlfriend get married to someone else. His life is going nowhere and he seems to have already given up on it. He happened to be walking into a train station, aboard one of the trains, mindless of where he is going or what he is doing, when he meets Geet, the complete opposite of him. She is talkative and bubbly and full of life. He hates it; she never shuts up. Trying to get rid of her, he hops off the train at one of the stations, and she follows his suit. Thus, the story begins – Aditya is now forced to ensure that Geet reaches her home safely since he is the reason she missed her train. During this whole literal and figurative journey, they begin learning more about each other.
Geet comes from a big but close minded family who wouldn’t let her get married to a boy outside of their community and a love stricken Geet has already decided to elope with the boy and get married to him. Aditya, is a heartbroken ex-boyfriend to a now happily married woman. Even though they meet each other at such opposite points of their lives, situations force them to get to know each other better, including each others’ love life status. Upon learning about the ex-girlfriend, Geet urges Aditya to burn her picture and flush it down the toilet. Though Aditya finds his childish, he choses to indulge and finds it refreshingly relieving. From then on, he starts appreciating the simple thought process that Geet believes so much in and finds her a refreshing change of pace. His favourite thing about her, is the ease with which she lives her life and the confidence that she has in herself. Geet is in love with her own self and she is not afraid to say it out loud. This is in stark contrast to Aditya who seems to be in agony with everything about his life, including and especially his own self.
Geet lives her life unapologetically. She knows her own mind and she is relentless in doing exactly as she pleases. Her rationale behind this is that she does not want to live a life of regrets and this gives her the strength to make her own decisions for herself. This again, Aditya finds remarkably refreshing and inspiring since he has so far continued to live his life with the burden of his obligations – of his legacy with his father’s business – which demands that he not be able to pursue his passion for music. However, when Geet reinstates that “Whatever a person really wants in life, like really actually wants, he gets just that. Don’t talk like you are dead. You still have time to do what you want to”, he hangs on to her words and revels in how she lives her life with a kind of innocence and childish wisdom. He has come to trust it.
They have already formed a mutual trust and respect for one another, and in Aditya’s case, a one-sided love for the other, when they finally reach their destination – Geet’s house. Indebted to Aditya for bringing their daughter safely back home, the welcome him as a guest for a few days, which Aditya accepts out of courtesy. Even when Geet elopes to meet her boyfriend, Aditya accompanies her to help her get to him even though he loves her. For him, his love means simply letting her be happy and respecting the time that he had with her. He never tries to force her into loving him back. Aditya just cherishes it as being a life changing experience and he is comfortable letting it just be what it was without luring it into anything more.
With a much needed change in perspective, and fresh motivation to live and be happy, Aditya returns back to his own home and back to his work. He is now much more focused, happy, hard working, sincere and above all, optimistic and full of life. He has learnt to simplify his problems by borrowing Geet’s perspective and attitude into his own mind. He is in charge of his life and he is a proper leader in his company. He has finally stopped running away from problems but instead now harnesses his own energy and positivity to brace any problems. He even starts dedicating time to his music and finds that with a change in attitude, all his earlier problems, which at the time seemed unsurmountable to him, are just another obstacle that he is able to overcome on his journey of self-improvement.
He has not seen or met or spoken to Geet in months and nor does he expect to. But, when her family pay him a visit, he is forced to go looking for her since she has apparently not been home or spoken to anyone from her family for the past 9 months. Since they last saw the two together, they assume Geet is with Aditya, having no idea about her having a boyfriend, Anshuman at the time of elopement. So when Aditya goes seeking for Geet, he is shocked to learn that Anshuman never accepted her hand at marriage. She was forced to run away to Shimla, where she had been living the past 9 months since getting rejected by her boyfriend. Ashamed of her actions, she did not want to face her family and therefore never reached out to them.
When Aditya finds Geet, she is just a skeleton of who she used to be. Her personality, her liveliness, her optimism, her love of life, and most of all, her love for self, are are long gone. She is so numb that she does not even realise when she passes Aditya by, for she no longer looks up at life. She is in her own thoughts and the world is no longer a magical place for her. Much like the person Aditya was before he met her. The rejection has shattered her confidence and her belief in the good of the world. It takes for Aditya to explicitly tell her how she basically saved his life when she met him in the train that day for her to realise how positively she impacted someone’s life. How she was the straw for him, but somehow, when it came to it, she could not help herself.
With roles now being reversed, it is Aditya’s turn to help Geet through her heart-break, deal with her emotions, process the rejection and find closure. He appeals to her to call Anshuman and abuse him. To vent out her frustration. This scene is very powerful to me because it teaches me how at times we have the solutions ourselves, but maybe we indulge too much in self-pity, or maybe we are too close and too involved in the hurt to look for solutions to the problems. We get overwhelmed by our pain, which inhibits our perspective. Pain demands to be felt. Yes, that is true. But life demands happiness. And all that requires, most times, is a change in perspective. Even if it comes from loved ones. It is okay to let people carry you to safety. But, it is not okay to masochistically indulge in self-pity and hurt ourselves more. We do a disservice to ourselves by starting to accept the pain as a way of life. Aditya becomes the light at the end of the tunnel for Geet much like she was for him earlier.
When Anshuman comes back, hat in hand, hoping for Geet to forgive him, Aditya again pushes her towards pursuing her love. To give Anshuman another shot. This time around, they decide to do things better. She wants her family around. She wants them to meet Anshuman. When Geet finally arrives home after all this time, her whole family welcomes Geet and Aditya as a married couple since they were never familiar about an Anshuman even existing. The whole family is thrilled at the idea of them being together. They know Aditya. They love Aditya. One of my absolute favourite moments in the movie happens when Geet takes her mother aside for a private conversation to tell her about her situation with Anshuman, and how she wants to marry him, not Aditya, her mother interrupts her before she can begin by asking her if Aditya treats her right. At that, Geet replies “He takes such good care of me, mumma, that even you probably never did as much.” I love that she acknowledges that about Aditya. That she appreciates his kindness and compassion towards her rather than just shrugging it off by some misplaced notion of self-importance for her own self. In that moment, she sticks to her intuition and despite getting the chance to, does not tell her mother about Anshuman.
Aditya makes her feel comfortable when she is anxious and she makes him more positive. They both complement each other. The idea after all, is to be with someone who brings out the best in you. He has come from a loveless family, and he doesn’t wish that on anybody. Despite knowing his true love for Geet, he wants her to be with the person she loves, even if it is Anshuman. Thankfully, being a feel-good movie (and an old Bollywood feel-good at that), the heroine has to end up with the hero. She realises how he is the right man for her. She realises how she wants to be with him. They get together and get their happily ever after…
This film will never cease to make me feel positive. This film for me, is about self-love, about an innocent wisdom, about compassion, about a love for the present, about courage to make your own decisions. It is about being the best version of you that you can and about finding the people who bring that out in you. It doesn’t always have to be a boyfriend or lover or partner. Even if it is a friend who gives you a safe space to express yourself. Even if it your family. Everyone needs someone to keep them grounded. Everyone needs someone to help them from time to time. To point out the right direction in times of need. Everyone needs someone who provides them strength. If you just stop layering your expectation on people, and find people who you love, truly love, it can make a world of difference. Everyone needs a space to be who they are, and feel loved and accepted for it. This film is above all, about loving yourself. About being your own positivity, your own hope, your own happiness. It is about you being that person for yourself.