Movie Review: “Jab Harry Met Sejal” – Who was seeking who, what and why?
The first words that came out of my mouth as my wife and I walked out of the movie theatre after watching the movie, Jab Harry Met Sejal, were “What a waste of a great quote from Rumi!”. The next thought that crossed my mind was to come home and write a review. But, I waited. I waited to see if that urge would pass. However, after waiting a full 24 hours, I still feel that I have to share my thoughts on this movie.
First of all, let me clarify that I liked all the recent movies of the director Imtiaz Ali. I liked even “Tamasha” which was not a huge success. The story, the acting and the songs made good sense in that movie. But, this movie was nowhere close to any of Imitiaz Ali’s recent movies.
For starters there was not much of a story. A tour guide is re-engaged by his client to search for a lost engagement ring that takes them back to all the previously visited spots in Europe and during this one-on-one tour, some “magic or soul searching, ohh wait, seeking” happens despite great reluctance from both parties. That’s the story. Nothing new there, right?
With such a basic story, there were many good movies made before but this is not one of those. Mainly because the movie was not just a drag but also meaningless with a huge lack of chemistry.
The movie was slow
The movie felt long, too long. Many scenes were painfully long. The bar fight and subsequent chase scene was way too long. The movie does not pick up pace anywhere. There is no drama except moving from one European location to the next. Even the locations were not shot to show the grandeur on the big screen. Most of scenes were shot in small cafes or dark streets. So, you could not even get lost in the pretty backdrop during a boring scene.
The movie was meaningless
Anybody who lost a ring would go through the photos first to see which locations had the ring as missing instead of going from one location to the next and trying to remember. Not just remember but also to play out the scene. This was just plain stupid. Anyhow, even if we go along with the writer’s rendition of how his characters would behave differently (because they were dumb or clue less), there was no place or situation for Shah Rukh and Anushka to fall in love.
Anushka was very deglamorized with her Gujarathi accent and mannerisms. Shah Rukh had already spent a month with this unglamorous chick and her family as their tour guide. So, it was meaningless for him to even imagine falling for her at the beginning of the movie and using that as an excuse to get out of searching for the ring.
Then the play acting as boy friend and girl friend during the search seemed very artificial. Seemed like there were deeper levels to Anushka’s character in the movie that the director Imtiaz Ali wanted the audience to figure out on their own. I, personally was not up to the task of figuring out these deeper nuances, especially on a Friday evening.
There was no chemistry
For two great actors Shah Rukh and Anushka, the chemistry was lacking. Shah Rukh was very jaded and weather beaten. There is no situation where he showed any kind of suaveness for Anushka to fall for his charms. Regarding his acting, Shah Rukh seemed so out of it even during the dances, especially during the karaoke scene. He seemed to be just going through the motion without putting his heart into it.
Anushka did a pretty good job of transforming herself into an unglamorous Gujarati girl but that did not help the cause, especially during the romantic scenes.
All in all, it was a movie that did not make sense as to why Shah Rukh Khan was seeking an unsexy and uncouth girl, and why Anushka was seeking a self-proclaimed womanizer albeit a closeted loner. On top of it no circumstances or situations in the movie came anywhere close to the expectations created by such a beautiful quote from Rumi.