JAB WE MET. Director: Imtiaz Ali. Players: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Tarun Arora, Dara Singh. Music: Pritam Chakraborty. DVD (Indian Films).ec61e40ff0a530037be3d872817de66f-2

Brazenly defying the adage that two people sharing the same last name should refrain from dating each other, Shahid Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor were, until recently, real-life paramours and tabloid magnets to boot. Paired together, they had very mixed box-office performances (36 China Town, Fida). The critical and commercial success of Jab We Met, therefore, came as quite a pleasant surprise. On DVD, director Ali’s tightly constructed comic caper about two mismatched runaways retains the film’s original freshness quotient.

Aditya Kashyap (S. Kapoor), recovering from a failed love affair, decides to singularly elope from his corporate office. Geet Dhillon (K. Kapoor), against her family’s wishes, hopes to travel a long way to convince a seldom-heard-from boyfriend (Arora) to get hitched. After meeting in a train compartment—she talks non-stop and he can’t stand her—the two are forced to share a hilariously off-kilter adventure.

Both Kapoors appear relaxed. S. Kapoor has matured considerably in his transition from teen boy-toy to romantic lead, first with Rajshri’s Vivah and nowJab We Met. Kareena Kapoor’s Geet—a blend of playfully hot-headed Punjabi angst and virginal recent graduate—is memorable. Beneath her rough and tough exterior, Geet is an incredibly vulnerable young beauty who must always be on the move precisely to sublimate that vulnerability.

As Aishwarya Rai has pursued international staging and Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta have increasingly imbedded themselves in either Yash Raj or Shah Rukh Khan projects, Kareena Kapoor has stepped up to fill the void at the top. After the immensely successful Omkara, Kareena Kapoor’s price rocketed. Winning Filmfare’s Best Actress award for Jab We Met sealed the deal. Kareena Kapoor is now the highest paid Hindi film actress, reportedly commanding a cool $875,000 for a role opposite John Abraham in an upcoming Rumi Jaffery film. Jab We Met has Kareena making a convincing case for herself.

Globe trekker, aesthete, photographer, ski bum, film buff, and commentator Aniruddh Chawda writes from Milwaukee.

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