If you've never seen a Bollywood movie, do I have a recommendation for you: Jab Tak Hai Jaan.
Created by India's most celebrated filmmaker, Yash Chopra, this "lush saga about the invincibility of love"—in the words of Straight reviewer Itrath Syed—stars a youthful-looking 47-year-old Shah Rukh Khan, who's loved by two beauties slightly more than half his age, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma.
In Vancouver, it's playing at the Collingwood Cinema at 3215 Kingsway, which was recently taken over by former Denman Cinemas owners Naz and Mike Jamshedian.
This is Bollywood at its finest, offering up outstanding cinematography, the usual family turmoil, a melodramatic plot that, at times, challenges the boundaries of plausibility, and India's most bankable star, Shah Rukh Khan. His joyful opening performance with a guitar, supplemented by the A.R. Rahman soundtrack, is worth the price of admission.
It's remarkable how little that the director, Chopra, relies on dialogue to establish his characters at the start of the film.
Chopra died of dengue fever at the age of 80 shortly after the move was completed. The legendary filmmaker is celebrated in an emotion-packed set of images that run at the end.
Once you see this movie, you'll understand why the Indian domestic film industry has beaten back any serious challenge from Hollywood, setting it apart from what's happened in many countries, including Canada.
Checking out Jab Tak Hai Jaan is also a way to show your support for the Jamshedians in their new venture. They invested a great deal of money into the Denman, which was a home for some festivals, only to have the rug pulled out from under them by their landlord last year. Despite this, they still haven't given up on Vancouverites' desire to go to the movies.
They and other Vancouver indie-theatre owners like Leonard Schein and Corinne Lea have shown remarkable stamina, despite the difficulty of running movie houses in the age of video-on-demand and rampant real-estate redevelopment.
If we keep showing up at their theatres on rainy weekends like this, we not only keep this option available to us well into the future—we're also lending quiet support for all the festivals that these entrepreneurs have helped nourish over the years by making their venues available.
This is increasingly important with the disappearance of traditional cinemas like the Granville 7, which was a major location for the Vancouver International Film Festival.