Indian Movie “Jab Harry Met Sejal” review

By Mah Jabeen

“Jab Harry Met Sejal”

Jab Harry Met Sejal cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Chandan Roy Sanyal
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Star rating: 2.5 stars

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.

Harry (SRK) aka Harvinder is starred as  a European travel guide. There are ample hints that he is running away from something. Sejal (Sharma) is in search of her lost engagement ring. Good Gujju punjabi chokri (Sejal) is seen as a girl loud and clear about her rights, and lets Harry, the dissolute, raffish rolling stone. But there really is nothing going on between them.

What we do get is a trip through beautiful European spots, with Harry and Sejal trying to find what they are looking for. The ring is, of course, just a metaphor. Infact, both are, searching for each other.

There is always a montage in Imtiaz Ali’s earlier film Love Aaj Kal in which Saif Ali Khan keeps crossing the same path. Despite a career that is looking up, his inner frustration gets the better of him and 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.

Magic and mystery of love blossoming between two people. And full-blown wonder. which comes off as a same-old mix of Ali’s older films, in its flashes of Jab We Met, Tamasha and Love Aaj Kal.

Sejal has confidence issues and they can get problematic. In the movie we see that 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’. Which seemed pathetic.

Sejal’s immaturity attracts Harry, who, then 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 thing

The slow build-up gives SRK enough 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. Jab Harry Met Sejal forces scenes and dialogues in so that a song could follow. Why not directly play the song? The songs come and go, and except perhaps for a couple, they don’t really register, which is a let-down too, because Ali has given us some absolutely fabulous songs which work by way of telling us more: about the story, about the people singing those songs, about their motivations. There’s also a wholly superfluous diversion involving a ‘desi’ goon (Sanyal) whose only purpose seems to add length to the film.

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. 

Pritam’s songs can do some patchwork, but nothing can rescue this 143-minute of lethargic storytelling.

At this point in his career, Shah Rukh Khan is ripe for a great, old-fashioned but modern-day romance. This one is not it.

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