Paper: “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”

Poster for the 2012 Indiana film “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” or “As Long as I Live”

Over the past few years, whenever I would hear someone making fun of Bollywood movies, the usual Indian stereotypes about them being campy, cheesy musicals using technology that was backdated to the 1960’s, this is the film I would “Rick Roll” them with, showing them one of these two songs.

Normally, an uncomfortable silence would follow and they would awkwardly move onto another topic, without a word about what I showed them.

For some that might not seem like an accomplishment or as if anything significant had transpired, but the silence these two videos were met with from people who would normally say something to shut me down or rudely blow it off.

That they had nothing to say, says a lot.

While they may have not said that their previous comments were wrong (these are not the sort of people to apologize), but the fact that they didn’t try to fight or defend their comments either shows the effect of what a four minute video can have.

And while “Jab Tak Hai Jaan”, may not be considered director Yash Chopra’s best film, (though it was his final film before passing), the impact it had on people I showed it to demonstrates the power of film and the media influencing opinion. And I think most importantly, that this is a Bollywood made film, not a Hollywood one making this impact.

And its impact can be seen elsewhere too, such as through the internet.

I found out about “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” through a cover collaboration of “Jai Ho” done by Peter Hollands and Alaa Wardi, whose YouTube channel I visited and listened to his cover of “Jiya Re” and then sought out “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” from there.

Rock: A “Spirited Away” Homecoming

For this post I decided to finally watch my “unofficial, official” introduction to anime, “Spirited Away”, which to myself feels like a homecoming of sorts and has added a new depth in how I view otaku culture and some things I had not known, and still wouldn’t know without Hayao Miyazaki’s work.

Chihiro and the river spirit Haku.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I watched it when it first came out in the US when I was ten years old, and had a very had time watching it and Japanese animation in general afterwards because of this particular scene:

Scene in “Spirited Away” where Chihiro finds that her parents had turned to pigs, a result of their greed.

At the time I didn’t understand Miyazaki’s message with “Spirited Away”, about greed and his reoccurring themes/viewpoints about what industrialization and Japan losing its connection to its culture and past (plus his own struggles with his father being a part of that industrialization, embodied in aircraft, which Miyazaki also loved).

There are many levels and meanings to his works, some he is explicit about, others, like with all artists, can be inferred from what is seen, but it is never confirmed or denied. To me this means it’s something the viewer needs to seek out and understand themselves instead of having it hand fed to them. In other words, being told what it means would not have the same effect as understanding what it means. Continue reading →