12 years later, a shy, docile Preeti (Kiara Advani) tries to convince her doctor boyfriend Kabir to be a little patient after her father is furious at their alliance. In retaliation, Kabir in a fit of anger, slaps her across the face before storming out, even as Preeti continues to mollycoddle him, strapping across his chest, begging him not to leave. Interestingly, both the characters were played by the insanely talented Shahid Kapoor, but we are going to park talking about his talent for some other day.
Kabir Singh director Sandeep Reddy Vanga, who also directed the Telugu version Arjun Reddy, said in an interview, that if in love you don’t have the freedom to hit each other, then how is it love? Even if this is not a feminist issue (even Preeti slaps Kabir once), in what world can this be classified as love? How can you ‘physically’ harm a person you claim to be in ‘love’ with? In what parallel universe does inflicting pain on a person (apart from a sexual fetish) be classified as a symbol of unflinching devotion, even when that person has clearly not given consent to that behaviour? Kabir Singh raised many such questions, but successfully hid under the garb of well fleshed out characters, brilliant performances and a hauntingly beautiful musical score. (with box office numbers backing up its very problematic lead character – a rebel without any real cause)
On the other hand, the shy, gawky businessman Aditya comes across as a soothing wave of fresh air. He is emotional, vulnerable, extremely respectful, yet not in control of his life (which is okay). At the onset of the movie, his business is down in the dumps after the death of his father, his girlfriend has dumped him, and he has a strained relationship with his mother because she ‘eloped’ with another man. Dejected, he gets on a train and meets the gregarious, loud, over the top, slightly annoying Geet and after a bit of trepidation, befriends her. The two form a close bond, even though they are as different as chalk and cheese, inadvertently ending up with adventures in shady hotel rooms and missing trains.
From Geet, Aditya learns to let go, follow his heart and do what makes him happy, which he precisely does after going back from dropping Geet to her boyfriend Anshuman’s office. At this point, Aditya has deeply fallen in love with the spunky Geet as she literally resurrected him back to life, yet, unknown to her, he bids her a tearful adieu.
Unlike Kabir Singh, the heartbroken Aditya does not let his feelings get the better of him and does not spiral out of control. Rather, he uses his love for Geet as a tool to gain more confidence to face his problems head on, getting his business back on track and making amends with his mother. He also finds time for his true passion for music, as Geet always used to say, “insaan jo sach mein chahta hai na, vo usko mil jaata hai.” (you will get what you really desire)
In a world ripe with jealousy, heartbreak and a swindling moral compass, an Aditya is hard to come by. When he learns that Anshuman has dumped Geet, he immediately takes it upon himself to be there for her, even as the initially dismissive Geet shrugs him off by saying , “tumhara koi chance hai hai.” (you have no chance) While he makes his feelings known, not by words, but by actions, he never forces them upon Geet, quietly helping her reunite with Anshuman when he returns, high on repentance. Yet, love works in mysterious ways and men like Aditya are spread far and wide….
What makes the character of Aditya such a find is that he is not perfect in any way – he has his flaws and over a period of time, he works on them and makes himself a better man. He also does not try to be Geet’s ‘fixer’, treating her as a damsel in distress, but lets her be, fervently hoping that she realises his love for her….
Apart from its meet cute romantic plot, the movie also drives home a message that often in life when you hit rock bottom, there is only one way to go and that is UP. And just like Geet and Aditya, some trains are supposed to be missed, so that you hop into one that takes you to a better, happier and healthier destination.
Maybe Aditya is a reminder that love comes in all forms – care, comfort, the ability to put others first, and friendship. However, at the end of the day, he drives home a message that many of us have trouble believing in this conflicted world – Good guys do not always finish last…
You can watch Jab We Met on a leading OTT channel…
ETimes Decoded is our weekly column where we deconstruct movies, characters or plots to uncover a fresh, often undiscovered perspective.