The film was praised for its direction, cinematography, and the chemistry between its lead actors. Khan and Sharma were lauded for their performances, though the movie's predictable plot drew criticism. At the end of its theatrical run Jab Tak Hai Jaan received a number of awards, including four Filmfare Awards, which included trophies for Best Supporting Actress (Anushka Sharma) and Best Lyrics for Gulzar.
Samar Anand (Shahrukh Khan), a major in the Indian Army, defuses a bomb in Ladakh without any fear or regard for his safety. He saves Akira Rai (Anushka Sharma), a Discovery Channel filmmaker, after she dives into a freezing river on a dare, from drowning. Samar gives her his jacket and leaves without taking it back. Akira finds his diary in the pocket and begins reading it.
The diary recounts Samar's earlier years as a struggling immigrant in London, working as a busker who also performs other odd jobs to support himself and his roommate Zain. One day, he sees Meera Thapar (Katrina Kaif) outside the church and is smitten by her. He is working part-time as a waiter when he meets Meera again with her fiance Roger at their engagement party. He is disheartened by this. Meera grew up motherless in an affluent Indian family. Her mother (Neetu Singh) left her family for another man (Rishi Kapoor) when Meera was twelve, which left her father (Anupam Kher) as the dominant parental figure. She works for his company. Meera approaches Samar to teach her a Punjabi song for her father's 50th birthday and in return, Samar asks Meera to give him language lessons to improve his English for one month to which they both agree.
Samar notices that Meera often prays at church. After a night of wild street dancing, they begin to fall in love. Samar helps Meera face her past, taking her to visit her estranged mother and foster reconciliation. Meera decides to confess to her father about Samar and break her engagement, but when Samar has a motorbike accident, Meera, believing she is the cause of his bad luck, prays to God to save his life, swearing never to see him again. Samar recovers and Meera reveals the vow she made. Angry, he leaves her and London altogether, challenging God to keep him alive as he risks his life every day. He believes his death is the only way to make Meera lose her faith in God. He goes to India and enlists in the army, becoming a bomb-disposal expert.
When Akira finishes the diary in tears, she obtains permission to make a documentary about bomb-disposal squads. She asks Samar for help to make her film and develops a friendship with him and his team. She falls in love with Samar but he does not reciprocate her feelings because of his unresolved passion for Meera. Akira makes a successful film and prepares to leave for London. She wants Samar to come along to help her publicize the documentary. After he reluctantly agrees to come to London, he is struck by a car.
Samar is diagnosed with retrograde amnesia, and remembers only the events before his first accident a decade ago back in 2002. Concerned, Akira tracks Meera down and persuades her to help in Samar's recovery. She agrees, pretending that she and Samar are married. In the meantime, Akira realises that Major Samar is only a fragment of the young Samar; he used to be happy and sociable, but is now a bitter and lonely man. One day, Samar finds a bomb planted in the London Underground, and defuses it almost dazedly. The event jogs his memory, and he realises that Meera is lying to him. He confronts Meera at the church where she often prayed ,with a choice: to either be with him honestly, or to see him keep risking his life until he dies. Meera is unable to answer; heartbroken she o went , Samar leaves for Kashmir. During a conversation with Akira, Meera realises that her beliefs and prayers subjected Samar to a fate worse than death; realising her mistake, she goes to Kashmir. At the same time Akira shares her story about Samar in London as he defuses his last bomb, and then proposes to Meera.Shah Rukh Khan as Major Samar Anand (Soldier for the Bomb Disposal Squad)
Katrina Kaif as Meera Thapar (A businesswoman who falls in love with Samar)
Anushka Sharma as Akira Rai, a documentary filmmaker for Discovery Channel
Sarika as Dr. Zoya Ali Khan. The doctor who helps Samar get well
Prerak Patel as Frank, Samar's boss
Sharib Hashmi as Zain, Samar's best friend and roommate
Jahidul Islam Shuvo as Major's friend
Jasmine Jardot as Maria, Zain's wife
Gireesh Sahedev as Captain Jagdeep Deewan
Amarinder Sodhi as Captain Kamal Singh
Varun Thakur as Lieutenant Hari Krishnan
Jay Conroy as Roger
Anupam Kher as Mr Thapar, Meera's father (Special Appearance)
Rishi Kapoor as Imraan, Meera's step-father (Special Appearance)
Neetu Singh as Pooja, Meera's mother (Special Appearance)
In June 2011, Yash Raj Films released a statement announcing a new directorial venture by Yash Chopra coinciding with the 50th anniversary of his Bollywood career. The producers also announced that the film would be released during the Diwali 2012 weekend. Chopra said the film was untitled at that time, similar to previous project Veer-Zaara (which was named on the day of its submission to the Central Board of Film Certification). The producers considered a number of titles but were not satisfied with any of them. In September 2012, it was announced that the title of the film was Jab Tak Hai Jaan. It was inspired by a similarly titled song from the 1975 film, Sholay.
Aditya Chopra wanted his father, Yash Chopra, to make another film and approached him with the concept for Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Shah Rukh Khan was their first choice for the role of Samar Anand, due to his long-standing relationship with the production house and the Chopra family. Khan, who was working on other projects at that time, was unavailable for the shooting schedule so it was changed. As in his previous productions, Yash Chopra wanted to introduce a fresh pairing in Jab Tak Hai Jaan and chose Katrina Kaif to star with Khan. Anushka Sharma was cast in a supporting role to complete her three-film contract with Yash Raj Films, with whom she had worked on many previous projects. Though casting was quickly completed, shooting was delayed because the lead actors were busy with other projects.
Khan's role spans two ages: one (age 28) as a London-based street musician and the other (ten years later) as an introverted, composed and dutiful army officer in Kashmir. In an interview, Khan revealed details about his character: Samar is "angry, unforgiving, with loads of emotional baggage. I play him sweet when he needs to be. Actually, he is a lot like I am. Samar is a combination of angst, tenderness, anger, and yeah, he’s pretty unforgiving."
Kaif's role was described as "the archetypal Yash Chopra seductress, an unattainable beauty". She worked hard to make her character believable (with help from Khan, who had previous experience with the director). Sharma's character, Akira, was described as a "21-year-old who works for the Discovery Channel and makes documentaries. She is on a quest to discover the truth behind the story of The Man Who Cannot Die (Samar Anand) in the film. She is extremely ambitious and will do anything to make it big and realize her dreams."
The film's principal photography was expected to begin in November 2011 but was delayed because Khan wanted to take a break after his two previous films, Ra.One and Don 2. Principal photography began on 9 January 2012 at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai, where a significant part of was shot.
After filming in India, the crew began a 35-day shooting schedule in London on 22 February 2012. It was shot under the working title Production 45. Khan arrived in London on 21 February 2012, and finished filming on 26 March 2012. During the filming, photos of the actors on-set were leaked on the Internet, triggering a camera ban by the producers and increased security. A number of locations throughout the city featured in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, including the Borough Market, Jubilee Walkway, the Great Conservatory, the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Bridge, Trafalgar Square, the Hungerford Bridge and Golden Jubilee Bridges, the O2 Arena, the Tower Bridge, and Canary Wharf. A dance sequence was filmed next to King's College London law school in Somerset House. A car-crash scene was filmed at Shepherd's Bush by closing four streets in the area. Filming was completed on 27 March 2012 at an indoor location in East London.
The romantic scenes were directed by Chopra's son, Aditya, to give them a more contemporary feel. The "Ishq Shava" dance scene was shot with the leading duo and freestyle dancers in an underground club and aboard a boat on the River Thames. The film's climax, initially planned by Chopra to be shot in the mountains of Kashmir, was moved to Ladakh. This was reportedly suggested by Khan, whose Dil Se.. was shot in the area many years earlier. Portions of Jab Tak Hai Jaan were filmed in three Kashmiri cities: Srinagar, Pahalgam, and Gulmarg.
Yash Chopra wanted to add scenes from the Swiss Alps to the title song; however, the scheduled shoot was cancelled after his death. Aditya Chopra wanted to keep the film as it was because he felt that doing otherwise would "tamper" with his father's vision.
The music for the film was composed by A. R. Rahman, who teamed up with Yash Chopra for the first time. He signed to compose the soundtrack in May 2011. The first song of the soundtrack was completed in December 2011. By February 2012, Rahman said in an interview with The Times of India that he had completed three songs for the film. He summarized the soundtrack album: "It's a combination. They wanted to do my kind of songs at the same time they wanted the old charm and soul of music that Indian audience would love and which I wanted to do for a long time." The soundtrack features nine songs, with eight lyrics by Gulzar and the title track written by Aditya Chopra. It was released by YRF Music on 9 October 2012.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan was released on 600 screens in overseas markets; the estimated number of release screens in India was about 2,500. Yash Raj Films distributed the film to 1,000 multiplexes and 1,500 single-screen cinemas. Jab Tak Hai Jaan was selected for the Doha Tribeca Film Festival and the Marrakech International Film Festival. It was chosen to "honour the legacy" of Yash Chopra, since it was his last project.
Two weeks before Jab Tak Hai Jaan's release, Ajay Devgn FFilms sent a notice to the Competition Commission of India accusing Yash Raj Films of monopolistic business practices; the notice contended that they used "their dominant position in the Bollywood film market" to secure many desirable single-screen theatres for their release. Yash Raj Films responded by saying that they were "shocked" and questioned Devgn's "motives". The studio denied Devgn's claim that high-quality single-screens were unavailable, pointing out that they had only booked 1,500 single-screens for Jab Tak Hai Jaan out of the 10,500 available in India. After the rebuttal by Yash Raj Films, Devgn said he only managed to book 600 single-screens for Son of Sardaar and would take legal action if not allotted more. He accused Yash Raj Films of signing tie-in agreements for Ek Tha Tiger with exhibitors, requiring them to show Jab Tak Hai Jaan on Diwali and keep it in cinemas for at least two weeks thereafter. A week before the release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar, the commission dismissed Devgn's claim. In an interview a commission spokesperson said: "We considered the plea application. We have not found any merit in the case as there is no case of abuse of dominant position. There is no violation." After his notice was rejected, Devgn appealed the decision; the Appellate Tribunal refused Devgn's request to nullify agreements made with single-screen exhibitors for the release of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, but agreed to reexamine the case to determine if Yash Raj Films had engaged in monopolistic practices. Both films were released on 13 November 2012 in the number of single-screens originally contracted.
Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 4 (out of 5) stars, saying that it was "attention-grabbing from inception till conclusion. The drama only soars higher and the complex love story gets more and more gripping as the conflict between the characters come to the fore." Rachit Gupta of Filmfare gave it 4 (out of 5) stars: "At a gracious 3 hours runtime, JTHJ feels like an epic love story. And it is just that. JTHJ is the perfect adieu to a hallmark career. It is the best romantic film made in this generation." Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave it 3.5 (out of 5) stars: "Despite the lovey-dovey nothingness that drives the plot, Jab Tak Hai Jaan has more substance than most romantic films that come out of Bollywood." Meena Iyer of The Times of India rated it 3.5 (out of 5) stars, saying: "Every frame is picture-perfect, the emotions are well nuanced. But there is one inherent flaw – the story by Aditya Chopra is hackneyed." Subhash Jha (also from The Times of India) said, "Jab Tak Hai Jaan makes you fall in love with love all over again." Anupama Chopra of the Hindustan Times gave the film 3 (out of 5) stars: "Jab Tak Hai Jaan is too tangled to transport you. But I recommend that you see it. Because only Yash Chopra could make heartache so attractive and ennobling that his characters wear it like a badge of honor." Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave it 3 (out of 5) stars: "I'm going with three out of five for the late Yash Chopra's Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Despite its many script problems, it's a consistently watchable film that oozes with feeling and real emotion. A fitting swan song." OPEN magazine gave the film 3 (out of 5) stars, praising Yash Chopra's direction. Ajit Duara called it "a deeply-felt cinematic perspective from 80 years of living." Raja Sen of Rediff.com gave it 3 (out of 5) stars, saying: "As a swan-song for the master director, Jab Tak Hai Jaan might only be a middling effort. But then, sometimes, all we need is a Khan-song." Shabana Ansari of Daily News and Analysis gave the film 3 (out of 5) stars: "If you must, watch Jab Tak Hai Jaan for Shah Rukh, who can still convey love and passion in a fleeting look or a dimpled smile; and for Yash Chopra who gave us some of the most enduring romances of all times."
Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave the film 2.5 (out of 5) stars, saying "watch this one for Shah Rukh, who can still do the dimpled boy wonder and the older, mature lover with a wry smile and wounded wink and sexy nudge." Sukanya Verma (also from Rediff.com) described it as an "elegant, harmless entertainer for [the] most part", praising the visuals, acting and music. She criticised the screenplay, contending that the film could have been "snappier", and gave it 2.5 (out of 5) stars. Piyasree Dasgupta of First Post wrote: "You have seen everything Jab Tak Hai Jaan has many times before, just in other films. And probably with far better music than A.R. Rahman threw into this one."
Jab Tak Hai Jaan received positive reviews from critics overseas. Priya Joshi of the website Digital Spy gave it 3 (out of 5) stars: "The film is invested with a healthy dose of Shah Rukh, the very heart and saans of Yash Chopra and the message which he lived and breathed through his films: that love is eternal." Simon Foster of Australia's Special Broadcasting Service also gave it 3 (out of 5) stars, calling it "a grand cinematic work boasting all the pros and cons of the genre." He observed: "Chopra fans will not hear complaints that the great producer-director had become mired in a rut, or that his films are rote melodramas reliant on boisterous music (here, a typically string-heavy work from the omnipresent A.R. Rahman) and over-active camerawork. One could argue that it's their very vivid cinematic nature that makes them particularly noteworthy, even when the dialogue (at times, awful) and plotting (rarely based in logical realism) can test one's patience." Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times wrote: "The film has a freshness that would never lead one to think it was directed by an 80-year-old while at the same time it has a sureness of tone, a certainty about itself even at its most audacious, that only comes from the hand of a seasoned master...Jab Tak Hai Jaan serves as a fitting tribute to the career of Chopra." Lisa Tsering of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: "Director-producer Yash Chopra's film, his final project before he died, delivers not only the romance and human touch, but also reflects a modern sensibility." Nicolas Rapold of The New York Times wrote, "Even though the film drags, the magic of Bollywood is that this story's muddle of twists only clarifies the urgency behind the undying desires of all concerned parties." Mazhar Farooqui of Dubai's the Gulf News wrote: "Despite its inherent flaws, JTHJ comes across as a beguiling romantic film that takes you on a roller coaster ride of high emotions set amidst picture postcard locales but more than anyone the movie belongs to Chopra. In his swan song, the celebrated director once again proved why his legacy will be hard to match."
Jab Tak Hai Jaan received a number of nominations and awards at Bollywood award shows. The film has been praised for its direction, cinematography and chemistry between the lead actors, with Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma receiving accolades for their performances; however, its script and predictable plot have been criticised. The film won four Filmfare Awards, five Zee Cine Awards and two Colors Screen Awards. Jab Tak Hai Jaan received several marketing and business awards for its overseas performance, promotions, distribution, and music. However, Sharma and Kaif were nominated for Golden Kela and Ghanta awards; some critics felt that their acting was less than stellar. Anushka Sharma and Shreya Ghoshal were the main recipients who were given awards.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan grossed ₹2.11 billion (US$33 million) worldwide.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan had 95 to 100-percent occupancy at multiplexes and single screens across India on its opening day. It earned about ₹125.0 million (US$1.9 million) on its first day. Jab Tak Hai Jaan showed 50-percent growth and earned ₹195.4 million (US$3.0 million) on its second day, netting ₹448.4 million (US$7.0 million) during its first three days. The film earned ₹736.8 million (US$11 million) over its long six-day weekend.
Earnings dropped the following Monday to ₹48.1 million (US$750,000), bringing the total to ₹780 million (US$12 million) for its first week of release. The film continued to do well at the box office after its first week, netting ₹822.4 million (US$13 million) in ten days. It faltered during its second week (netting only ₹157.9 million (US$2.5 million)), and crossed the ₹1 billion (US$16 million) mark 20 days after release. After three weeks, Jab Tak Hai Jaan earned ₹1.02 billion (US$16 million). The distributor share was ₹570 million (US$8.9 million), and Box Office India declared it a hit in India.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan earned US$1.3 million on its first day and $3.50 million at the end of three days in overseas markets. After the first weekend, the film earned $7.58 million in six days. Jab Tak Hai Jaan grossed about $11 million overseas in thirteen days before the number of screens decreased. At the end of its theatrical run, it is estimated to have earned ₹745.0 million (US$12 million).
At the time of release, Jab Tak Hai Jaan set records for the highest opening-day earnings in Singapore and Pakistan by grossing $100,000. Jab Tak Hai Jaan became the highest-grossing Bollywood film in Bahrain and the Middle East, earning more than $4 million. It was the highest-grossing Bollywood film overseas for 2012, and the third-highest-grossing Bollywood film that year, after Ek Tha Tiger and Dabangg 2.
Yash Raj Films launched Jab Tak Hai Jaan in VCD, DVD and region-free high-definition Blu-ray Disc formats on 3 January 2013. The Blu-ray Disc edition featured Dolby TrueHD 96k upsampling, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby Surround 5.1 sound and two additional DVDs. Four hours of extra footage were included on the discs, including the making of the film and songs, an interview with Yash Chopra and Shahrukh Khan, deleted scenes, videos of Khan learning to play the guitar and ride a bicycle, and a preview from the film's premiere held in a specially constructed vintage theatre at Yash Raj Studios.