“Akeli ladki khuli hui tijori ki tarah hoti hai, pata hain tumhare saath kya kya ho sakta hain?… ” Remember this one from ‘Jab We Met’? With Anushka Sharma playing a kind of indecisive yet lovable Gujarati girl who tends to contradict her own traits at times and captivates her tourist guide (owing to being an akeli ladki in another country) to find her lost ring, this came a full circle.
‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ could easily be called ‘Jab Sejal Loved Harry’; since Imtiaz Ali, from the very beginning, weaves a cosy equation between the two and we can’t help but recall how, in his past films, the two protagonists have undergone brawny emotional storms but still managed to unite. The primarily unappealing thing, however, is the process of proximity. It offers you no new stirring treat.
Harinder Singh Mehra urf Harry (Shah Rukh Khan), who guides tourists throughout Europe, meets Sejal (Anushka Sharma) during one of her family trips. But the real encounter happens when Sejal has lost her engagement ring and seeks (or rather forces) Harry’s help in finding it. Harry is initially taken aback at hearing the task that sounds almost impossible. However, the two start touring through cities and visit every possible destination. Harry nurtures a suppressed loneliness inside, and tries to make up for it by lusting women. But can mere physical intimacy ever quench your thirst for love? It doesn’t.
Sejal, on the other hand, is confident on her commitment towards her fiance until Harry’s reluctant yet tender gestures get her weak in her knees. You can thank Imtiaz Ali’s insight into human characters as he perfectly injects small nuances of behavioural traits. Shah Rukh plays his A-game here, and brings the own sweetness of agony into life, while also being upfront, straightforward about his ‘cheap character’. Anushka, although she flows like a flamboyant, spontaneous and slightly troubled individual, is toned down by her heavy Gujarati accent which sounds unreal and forced. Having said that, we loved her deliverance otherwise.
If you’ve followed Imtiaz Ali’s work ardently, you’re likely to look forward to a rugged emotional journey. He probably understands unconventional love the best. ‘JHMS’, however, doesn’t fall into the category. It tries to come around with a lot of fun quotient, but flows slow. In terms of both reunion and separation, the film has its golden moment that give you a gasp or two. You’re familiar with the crisis. You were probably torn by the storm, once or twice in life. But, it hardly has any profound impact on you.
Ali, trapped between the dilemma of fulfilment and incompleteness, has made the second half too lengthy to bear. As we sit and look at two helpless lovers trying their best to cope with circumstances which are not in their favour, in our hearts we know what is going to happen. That is probably the reason why neither Harry’s unsung grief or Sejal’s unavowed misery fails to strike the perfect chord.
The film, however, is a delight to look at. KU Mohanan does magic with every frame, as he captures Europe to perfection and adds the smallest and the most beautiful detailing to Sejal and Harry’s own moments. Further, the film is shot at exotic locations, much to the viewer’s delight. Sonik’s background score is enhancing to the story, but Pritam’s songs are strictly situational. Two of them, in fact, seem to be popping up abruptly. Aarti Bajaj’s editing is mostly flawless.
Watch if you’re a Shah Rukh Khan fan, or if you’re looking for something not-so-intense!