Every once in a while, there comes a movie that has ‘Hit’ written all over it! Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma starrer Jab Harry Met Sejal is one of those rare Bollywood films of 2017. Right from the mini-trails to the songs videos to the full-fledged trailer that was released just a couple of weeks ahead of the film, this Imtiaz Ali starrer had fans and critics looking forward to August 4. SRK and Anushka have already starred in two unusual love stories Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012). Given the treatment Imtiaz gives his stories, I was expecting another unconventional take and tale on love. Yes, despite the ample stills, rushes, and songs from the film giving away too much about the story and making it all predictable.
But did Jab Harry Met Sejal have any surprises – good, bad or ugly in store for us? Read my review here…
What’s It About?
Harinder Singh Nehra aka Harry (Shah Rukh Khan) is a tour guide in foreign land. He has a routine life where he lives out of a suitcase and eats out of takeaway boxes and spends nights at his girlfriends’ apartment. Many of whom are his clients and have hired him as a guide to the city they are touring. That explains his ‘kharaab character’ because he is someone who mixes work with pleasure. His life is disrupted (destroyed as he sees it) when Sejal (Anushka Sharma) doesn’t leave with her family after spending a month touring places like Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest amongst others and hires Harry to go on a retour of all these spots in order to find her missing engagement ring. His womanizer image doesn’t affect her because she is “neat and clean” and can control “anywhere, anytime, anyone”. While with Harry, Sejal discovers a new side to her personality. You can see that she is actually feeling liberated in the absence of her dominating fiancée Rupen, who is always gung-ho about putting all the blame on her. She also realizes how romantic Harry is and how that spark in her love life has been missing. For the most part of the story, Harry and Sejal are not romantically involved, but you can sense undercurrents of an inclination very early in the film.
But Sejal is not the type of girl “jo apne boyfriend ko chhod ke tour guide ke saath bhaag jaati hai.” Would she then finally find the ring and go back to Mumbai, India and get married to Rupen? Or would she lose her heart to Harry and stay back?
Shah Rukh Khan! He hasn’t looked this handsome onscreen since some time now! He will take you back to 2007, to Chak De! India. It has been 10 years since, but the Khan looks as if he hasn’t aged at all! Yes, he is too well dressed all the time for a tour guide, but he is in Europe, and not a desi travel agent and with those looks, that’s a forgivable offence. His Punjabi act is on point, complete with those spurts of anger that he copes with, with some typical Punjabi one-liners. He’s played one in Veer-Zaara (2004) as well but his Harry is nothing like what we have seen him do before. He is impeccable in the few romantic scenes in the film and with every frame proves why no one can melt your heart and make you feel warm inside the way he does.
Anushka Sharma is one of the finest actresses we have in Bollywood today and as Sejal she sent all my doubts flying out of the window about her overdoing the Gujarati girl act. She looks stunning and does her simple, naïve girl act convincingly. Together, Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma make a gorgeous pair. We have seen them in two films earlier but this is by far their best. They both share an amazing chemistry and it’s their fine performance that helps you sit through the entire course of the film. They have a few passion laden scenes as well (there’s also a lip-lock) and those would make you wish to see them in more films together, soon.
You can see their range as actors when they are surprised about their new found attraction towards each other and confused about where to go next from that realization. That bit of romance and the confusion before a couple gets to expressing the love and getting into an official relationship is a high point in the film.
Cinematographer K U Mohanan captures the locales of Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest and Frankfurt among other impressively, triggering your wanderlust.
Remember how Anushka Sharma’s Sejal explains her name with her trademark action in the film, the wave? The film’s story follows a similar pattern. It has crests followed by a sharp trough! The film’s first half is full of happy and funny moments and will keep you entertained. You would be hooked and wait for Harry and Sejal to take you to yet another scenic locale in search of the ring. You would also secretly wish that they don’t find it so that this journey never ends. But what’s in store post the interval will make you wish just the opposite! The film moves ahead in such a slow pace that sitting through it would become difficult.
A tighter editing would have helped the film and also fewer songs wouldn’t have taken away anything from this romantic drama. Only five songs were released before the film but that’s not even half of the tracks JHMS has! The entire film is laced with numerous numbers, making it akin to a musical, just that, it’s a bad musical! Not many songs stay with you and the one that in fact had the elements to keep you hooked, ‘Beech Beech Mein’, ends rather abruptly.
That is just one of the ‘WTF’ moments, by the way! You can see Harry start falling for Sejal and you wonder why? Isn’t it too soon? Abhi toh mile ho! In fact, as if to resonate with our confusion, Harry himself says, “yeh kya ho raha hai hamare beech. Itni jaldi itni progress karli humne?” Also, Anushka is offended by the fact that the Casanova Harry is not making a pass at her. She is upset that Harry finds her sweet and not sexy! Yes, beat that! There would be moments that’ll make you believe that she already lost her heart to Harry while touring with the family and the lost ring is just an excuse to be able to spend some more alone, intimate time with him!
Also, we see glimpses of flashbacks of Punjab, where Harry comes from. There’s something about his past that’s bothers him and makes him emotional from time to time. But we learn nothing about that. This looks like a shallow attempt at giving his character some depth.
The screenplay is unimpressive and not something that you’d expect of an Imtiaz Ali film. Shah Rukh’s Harry keeps on using the words “Raula payy jayega” (s*** will happen) and by the end of the film, you know that yes, raula payy gaya!
What To Do?
Watch it for Shah Rukh Khan’s performance, his chemistry with Anushka Sharma and to armchair travel to some of the most scenic European locales.
India.com rating: 2.5 stars
Watch the trailer of Jab Harry Met Sejal here:
Jab Harry Met Sejal has released in theatres today (August 4). Share your review of this brand new Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma starrer in the comments section below.