Jab Harry Met Sejal movie review: Shah Rukh Khan spearheads this banal show with Anushka in tow
Jab Harry Met Sejal
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma
Director: Imtiaz Ali
There is a montage in Imtiaz Ali’s earlier film Love Aaj Kal in which Saif Ali Khan keeps crossing the same path, but his smile looks more forced everytime. Despite a career that is looking up, his inner frustration gets the better of him and eventually he begins to merge into the crowd. This was Imtiaz Ali’s way of showing the importance of love and the right partner in life.
Watch: Our Facebook Live discussion on Jab Harry Met Sejal
Well, Shah Rukh Khan’s Harinder Singh aka Harry starts where Jai leaves. The frustration that this tour guide in Amsterdam carries within him is palpable but never truly explored. Frequently in and out of relationships, he isn’t someone who wants to be taken seriously. There are ample hints that he is running away from something.
Sejal Jhaveri (Anushka Sharma) is one of his clients who stays behind her tour group to find her lost engagement ring. A talkative Gujarati girl, she has probably lived a sheltered existence that has restricted her from really living, like Heer from Rockstar. Slowly and steadily, she finds her Jordan in Harry, whom she calls ‘Hairy’. Apparently, this is how highly educated Gujarati girls from well-to-do families talk.
Sejal has confidence issues and they can get problematic. For example, she thinks it’s fine if a goon kidnaps her and tries to take advantage of her, for such a person will find her worthy of his attention. She actually says, “Unko toh at least ‘waisi’ lagungi naa main.” By ‘waisi’ she means ‘hot’.
Sejal’s immaturity attracts Harry, who, then and there, decides to be her protector. He says, “Tum us type ki ladki ho hi nahi.” Nobody cares to explain the other type as if that’s the most understood term in Imtiaz Ali-Shah Rukh Khan universe.
The slow build-up provides Shah Rukh Khan sufficient time to showcase his typical ‘loverboy’ skills. He keeps on switching his expressions between “I am angry till you say something cute” and “Tum nahi jaanti Sejal, kuch kuch hota hai”.
There’s a back-story too, but that’s as irrelevant as trying to find depth in this film. A rehash of Imtiaz Ali’s past films, Jab Harry Met Sejal forces scenes and dialogues in so that a song could follow. Why not directly play the song? After all, it’s the music that offers some respite from this drag-fest.
On second thoughts, it’s not even a typical Imtiaz Ali film. Where is that self realisation of the characters who want to run away from the burden of love? At most, it’s a stretched out meet-cute that then melds into a search for a goddamn ring. From the title to its climax, everything screams ‘been there, done that.’
And there is a terrible angle involving Chandan Roy Sanyal and his gang of unfunny migrants. Don’t want to spoil your fun, but this twist will also remind you of Love Aaj Kal.
Shah Rukh Khan gets our hopes high in the beginning when we witness dimensions of his character, but that eventful moment doesn’t last long and he gets back to playing to the gallery. He makes sure nobody misses those folded hands and slightly slanted forehead. Talk about the burden of being a superstar!
Anushka Sharma, on the other hand, is even more clueless. She desperately tries to look cutely silly whenever she is not mouthing dialogues like “Main waisi ladki nahi hoon jo apni engagement tod degi.”
At one point, she actually says, “Lonely feel nahi karna hai,” and thank god for that. Otherwise how would we understand her subtle signs!
That was a joke. Nothing is subtle here.
Jab Harry Met Sejal is absolutely banal with some hummable tunes. It’s a big disappointment to see Shah Rukh Khan returning to his comfort zone and yet not performing at the top of his powers.
Pritam’s songs can do some patchwork, but nothing can rescue this 143-minute of lethargic storytelling.
I haven’t found what I was seeking, looks like you won’t either.
Interact with Rohit vats at Twitter/@nawabjha