Director: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma
It’s sad that an astute director like Imtiaz Ali decided to write and direct a film like Jab Harry Met Sejal which has nothing valuable going on right from its concept till execution. One can wonder, was it really a romantic film, or a wisdom imparting intention from the perspective of a tour guide or both? In truth, the film absolutely fails to attain any of those.
I respect Imtiaz Ali as a director as he has a peculiar vision of cinema and storytelling. He has made films like Jab We Met, Highway, Rockstar which are gold and his passion for travel is evident in each of his films. Maybe that’s why he was compelled to make a movie like Jab Harry Met Sejal but the entire concept of a woman missing her engagement ring in a foreign country and a tour guide helping her find it and they falling in love was too stretched and boring.
The character of Sejal (Anushka Sharma) as a Gujarati girl is highly irritating. I thought her accent and personality will be lovable after a while, but that doesn’t happen. All the initial talks between Sejal and Harry (Shah Rukh Khan) which are supposed to be funny and ticklish actually feel dramatic and staged. There is no authenticity in it. When you watch Jab We Met, Kareena Kapoor’s character felt genuine and you connect and enjoy with it but in case of Sejal, it is exactly the opposite. It is forcefully fed to the audience.
The script is weak and loosely written. The family of Sejal agreeing to let her stay in Europe so that she could find the ring and she trusting a strange tour guide for unknown and unconvincing reason, are not Imtiaz Ali’s script aspects. He has done better than JHMS in past.
The character writing for Sejal is a bit confusing. Exploring a different and exciting way of life is fine but she suddenly asking Harry if she is not hot enough for him and all those idiotic scenes in pubs of Europe don’t connect well. And this simply doesn’t end. For more than 1 hour 40 minutes, they keep doing this melodrama, hiding their emotions yet roaming around as a couple.
Image Source: Red Chillies Entertainment
The romance is not joyful, which is atypical from Shah Rukh Khan as he is the king of romance. Imtiaz Ali got too deep in developing the tension between Harry and Sejal and forgot to build a strong lovely relationship of them. The screenplay is tiring. Even when you get the idea of the intention of some scenes, those scenes don’t stop and keep dragging with never ending dialogues.
It’s like all the travel and no purpose, makes Jab Harry Met Sejal a dull affair. The irony I experienced is that Imtiaz has always made films which have carved its own niche, away from romantic cliché but Jab Harry Met Sejal ends up being a typical film due to its generic script and storytelling. The movie could have been shorter by 15-20 minutes.
Shah Rukh Khan does a fine job as a Punjabi tour guide Harry. It seems like an easy role but it was not. He had to display that constant depressed face and expressions yet have to please the travellers and Sejal. Even when Anushka as Sejal was irritating as a Gujarati girl when she keeps shouting at Harry about the ring; SRK’s humorous talks to calmly avoid her are funny. His secret loneliness in the crowd of Europe, his gradual falling in love with Sejal and the hurt he was facing, are aptly performed by him. I still don’t understand why Shah Rukh doesn’t choose very thoughtful scripts which can do justice to his enormous acting potential. This was an avoidable movie for him.
Anushka Sharma didn’t quite fit into the role of a Gujarati girl. Her accent and the way she portrayed it were a put off for me. Every time she spoke in that way, the quality of the scene reduced. She is a marvellous performer but this role was not cut out for her. Her acting during serious scenes is top notch as she knows how to deliver them with grace and potency but her chitter chatter when she talks like a Gujarati woman takes away all the fun.
Jab Harry Met Sejal is dull and disappointing. Imtiaz Ali couldn’t impart romance and wisdom this time through his writing and direction. The movie is excessively unrealistic and lengthy. Shah Rukh Khan’s acting is the only strong factor in this avoidable film.