13 Years Of Jab We Met: Were We Too Quick To Pick Geet’s Side And Judge Anshuman?
The past few years have been nothing short of a revelation for me. There has been a lot of unlearning, relearning, introspection and retrospection that shook the very foundations of my beliefs. It taught me that some amount of skepticism about your own beliefs is quite healthy. And this has taken me on an absolute ride of rediscovery when it comes to the movies and tv series that I’ve enjoyed, or the books that I’ve read so far. When I rewatch or reread them now, my mind throws up questions and perspectives that I never thought about before. I had one such epiphany when I met Imtiaz Ali’s Jab We Met again some years ago, and realised three things. Geet (Kareena Kapoor Khan) was selfish and inconsiderate. Aditya (Shahid Kapoor) was gullible and needed professional help. And Anshuman (Tarun Raj Arora) was misjudged.
If I could, I’d probably write an apology letter to Anshuman for being too quick to dismiss him based on just Geet’s emotions towards him. I know now that he probably had his own side of the story that we, or Aditya, never gave him a chance to explain. I mean, sure, he wasn’t exactly the brightest of bulbs and couldn’t advocate his own point of view. But that doesn’t mean he gets treated the way he did, no?
I even found a few opinions on social media that agreed with me on this!Image: Reddit
Geet lived in a dream world and was rarely considerate of what others wanted, whether it was Aditya, Anshuman or her own family.
From the very first conversation itself, we get an inkling that Geet is a lot of the “I’mma force you to see things my way” type of a person. She works it like a charm with the TC on the train. She does it with Aditya, ignoring his basic wish to be left alone. (That bit we’re glad for, though, because it sure looked that he might do something wrong in that fugue state of his.) Probably meant it as a joke, but she even decides who her cousin sister Roop should marry, without considering that Roop might have an Anshuman of her own. You’d say, “But they’re sisters! Surely, they know each other inside out!” But look at how Roop had no idea about her sister’s love life. I highly doubt that Geet, having lived away from home for so long, ever confided in anyone.
Believe me, I rewatched all the scenes where either Geet or Anshuman are talking about their relationship. And neither of them ever bring up the topic of marriage as a mutual decision. It is always “Meri shaadi,” “Main toh bhaag rahi hoon” and never “Anshuman aur main….” Even when Aditya berates him for letting Geet go, Anshuman says that he never wanted marriage in the first place. He says it in the douchiest way possible, like we’re supposed to swoon that he didn’t take advantage of Geet with a promise to get married. (Which, dear men, just don’t, okay? Doesn’t help.) The point is, Geet didn’t even give him an idea that she was taking such a huge step.
And finally, she gave zero shits about her family by not informing them for nine whole months about her whereabouts. I know that she was completely shattered after the rejection. She most likely thought that with a traditional family like hers, things would get tense. But wasn’t she confident before that she would pataao them to accept Anshuman once they get married? One would deduce that her family would ultimately care enough to let her back in the fold because they loved her. See how they readily accepted Aditya when he brought Geet home? If you ask me, Geet’s family seemed more worried than angry that Geet was missing. How can someone who claims to be this intuitive, agony-aunt person misread her own family so much?
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Was Aditya projecting the frustration of his own failed relationship on Anshuman?
I was studying psychology when Jab We Met released. We discussed how Aditya was in a state of dissociative fugue when he boarded that train at the start of the film. To reach that level of mental trauma that he triggered such a strong coping mechanism, he would needed professional help to find his way out. Instead, he got Geet.
Geet’s self-assuredness impressed him because he wasn’t sure about himself. The fact that her love life was sorted, and she was going for what she wanted, unlike him, made him want to emulate her. But rather than helping him heal, the whole tryst with Geet was merely a cute pink Barbie band-aid on a wound that should need intensive stitches.
I may be reaching out here, but could it be that in Anshuman, Aditya sees the sum total of his rejections, first from his girlfriend and after, Geet? There was no way, even if Anshuman presented him with a sensible explanation for why he let Geet go, that Aditya would accept it. In his eyes, Geet was infallible, and he probably sees something of his own lost self in her. And that’s too strong a connection to make him see any other perspective.
Which brings us to….
Anshuman’s side of the story remains unheard. On top of that, he’s being forced to see ganne ke khet!
Here’s what we know. Geet surprises Anshuman by showing up at his place of work. She drops a bombshell on him that she’s run away from home to elope with him.
I’m trying to think here. I hate when friends spring hangout plans on me at a short notice because I haven’t had time to align my work or parental permissions properly. We hate when expenses and guests pop up unannounced. Anshuman’s travel company has only just kicked off. Geet doesn’t even have a job yet. He clearly hasn’t proposed marriage to her. She doesn’t eve discuss it with him, but instead just makes the decision for the both of them. In that case, why would Anshuman be wrong in turning Geet away? Would Geet have been okay if Aditya had proposed to her en route Manali or the moment they were saying goodbye to each other? Or if, while she was home, Anshuman just landed up there and asked for her hand in marriage before she had the time to convince her family?
From the looks of it, Anshuman not only answered Geet’s calls from Manali but he also advised Geet to return home. What more could he have done? Should he have kept on meeting her and dating her, knowing fully well that she wanted to get married? Should he have gotten married to her despite not being fully happy with it or not being in a financial position to do so, because of Geet’s immature decisions?
At one point, Aditya tells Anshuman that he broke Geet’s dream world and he let her go despite knowing all that she had left behind for him. Is that even a valid argument? Do we really want to protect Geet’s delusions when she at every step refused to accept reality?
Forget all the above arguments. After all the shaming that he had to undergo, Anshuman eventually wants Geet back. But if she was unsure, why did she draw it out and take him home with her? You’d say she was confused and didn’t know how to react when something like this was sprung up on her suddenly. So, exactly like Anshuman felt when Geet landed up at his doorstep all those months ago? He’s the bad guy for breaking Geet’s heart. But Geet isn’t for insulting him the way she did by choosing Aditya over him?
Once home, Geet barely even talks to the poor guy! She and Aditya just thrust him in the middle of her family members who didn’t understand the concept of personal space! They kept forcing him to see ganne ke khet and take a bath! Sorry, but is nobody in this movie going to ask what Anshuman wants? What about consent, bros? Haan bhai, kyun dekhe woh ganne ke khet?
In fact, if you notice, Anshuman is the only sane human here. He is always frank with Geet. Dude’s practical and gives Geet the right advice. He realises he has made a mistake and puts it right instantly by going up to Geet and apologising to her. And when both Geet and Aditya are lying once again to her family, he repeatedly keeps insisting that they tell Geet’s family the truth.
Luckily, Tarun Raj Arora, the actor who played Anshuman in Jab We Met and has since then turned villain down South, with antagonist roles in movies like Kanchana 3, has pitched an interesting idea to Imtiaz Ali. He’d love for a version called Jab He Left to be made next, which tells the story from Anshuman’s perspective. And honestly, I’d watch that! The actor will soon be seen in Laxmmi Bomb, which is a remake of Kanchana.
One thing is for sure though. I love that the characters of Imtiaz Ali movies allow for so much discussion and discourse. There’s no denying that Jab We Met unpacked a lot about being positive, loving yourself and following your heart, virtues that more women need to imbibe. It even gave us a cool post-breakup healing ritual that works effectively 11 out of 10 times! Not to mention, a music album with gems like ‘Tum Se Hi’, ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’ and ‘Aaoge Jab Tum’. Okay, I might just end up typing the whole track list, but you get the gist right?
Here’s to 13 years of Jab We Met and extracting as many lessons from it as we can!