In almost every other movie made by Imtiaz Ali I used to find that one key connecting emotion which makes the movie emotionally relatable even after me being really far away from those characters. Even when the stories he presented sounded similar, there used to be this grace in story telling that explored the characters in detail. What is sad about Jab Harry Met Sejal is the fact that all these minute detailing and free spirited passion you have witnessed in other movies of the director is terribly missing. And when the movie starts to ponder around a fragile bond for a tediously long period it becomes a huge disappointment.
Harinder Singh Nehra AKA Harry is a tour guide in Europe. He is a loner who hasn’t visited his hometown in a really long time. So one day a member from the team he escorted, Sejal came back to him from the airport saying she lost her engagement ring and she wants him to help her in finding that ring. Harry wasn’t comfortable with the idea, but as his boss pressured him he was forced to join the search unwillingly. That journey of Harry with Sejal and how it ultimately changes both their lives is what Jab Harry Met Sejal discussing.
In Tamasha, Vedh and Tara get close to each other very quickly. But there was a charm to it because the setup Imtiaz created for that bonding was quite fresh. In the case of Jab Harry Met Sejal that bonding doesn’t look really organic. There is a whole night club sequence which leads to the bonding of our central protagonists. The usual charm Imtiaz used to show in making his characters connect with each other was not there this time mainly because of the filmy feel this sequence had and also the clichéd nature of it. Rest of the movie is built on this foundation which wasn’t strong enough. Because of the brittle platform, the emotional dilemma of the characters doesn’t make any sense and the length of the film starts to test our patience.
Shah Rukh Khan delivers an earnest performance as Harry. The character is lonely and the roughness that he gives is a shield to hide this loneliness and the portrayal successfully holds all these things. Many have already appreciated Anushka Sharma for her dedication in getting the Gujarati accent correctly. Along with that she has got the nuances of the character too. I would really love to see her in another Imtiaz Ali movie that would explore characters in an in depth way.
I used to find Imtiaz Ali’s films as an evolved edgy version of the kind of romantic comedies Adithya Chopra and Karan Johar used to deliver in the late 90’s. Imtiaz had no inhibitions in making his characters gray. More than the story part, it used to be the characters and their conflicts that used to stay with us. But this time he has made a collage of his own films. There is a bit of Jab We Met, there is that self exploring Tamasha and a lot of small emotional bits from his own movies. But here the bond between hero and heroine is too shallow. And the ring being a reason isn’t that legitimate after a point. The screenplay becomes too clumsy, especially when they are touring to get the ring. Aarti Bajaj was struggling a lot in the editing table to make it look tidier, but the lag you feel was too much. No offence to the beautiful songs from Pritam, but some of them (mostly the currently unreleased) should have got chopped off. K U Mohanan’s cinematography captures the scenic beauty of the locations to make the frames look exotic.
I won’t say I hated watching Jab Harry Met Sejal. The feeling was more of a disappointment as I used to find Imtiaz Ali’s movies very appealing in terms of exploring characters. Some moments of freshness was there in the early stages, but the rest of the film got muddled by an unconvincing romance.
Some moments of freshness was there in the early stages, but the rest of the film got muddled by an unconvincing romance.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended