Wahiyat Wednesday: Jab Harry Met Sejal, Imtiaz Ali made your face meet palm
Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal trailer, which hit the internet recently, had many in doubt. While some of us tried to defend it by listing some of his timeless films like Highway, Tamasha, Jab We Met; one sentence was enough to shut us down – “But he is also the director who made Jab Harry Met Sejal.”
Before Jab Harry Met Sejal, Imtiaz had already fed us with his brand of films, loaded with complex characters like that of Ved, Veronica, Veera, Veer and more. So, when he came to the big screen with the Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi of Anushka Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan, it was hard not to walk into the theatre without biases.
Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017) was a collaboration between a director who redefined rom-coms in the Hindi film industry with the King of Romance. It was deemed to be a classic, the ultimate romantic film boiling and brimming in emotions the Indian audience didn’t know they were capable of feeling. Sadly, it turned out to be the weakest film of Imitiaz’s career and a grand waste of Shah Rukh’s talent.
Watch Jab Harry Met Sejal trailer here:
Harry is a tour guide who is coerced by Sejal (Anushka), a privileged Gujarati girl, to help her find her engagement ring that she lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere. They travel through Europe to find the ring, setting the perfect premise for them to fall in love.
The film’s trailer reveals this part of the story and the 2-hour-24-minute long film tells you nothing more. Harry seemed to be a shallow version of Bunny from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, a loner who travels around the world. Sejal, on the other hand, reminds us of Geet from Jab We Met’s Geet, only ignorant.
Anushka Sharma’s character comes out as a straight dumb girl who has zero regards to another’s feelings but is desperate for approval anyway. She keeps asking Harry “Kya mein layak hu?” or goes into self pity mode with “Kyuki mein hot nahi hu na.”
Harry, who is a womaniser, falls quickly for tihis sanskari-wanna-be-sinskari Sejal and says, “Tum gandi cheezo ke lia nahi bane. Tum Chinese vase ke tarah bus dekhne ke lia bane ho.” Did Imtiaz really write this film? My heart refuses to accept it.
Shah Rukh keeps dreaming of khet, because how else will you represent Punjab without spending even two minutes there? There is a gangster thrown in the middle of the film like tear gas, only to rattle our already rattled heads. Was Imtiaz dreaming of Rohit Shetty while writing this film? We will never know.
The characters are so sketchily written that even skilled actors like Shah Rukh and Anushka fail to make us fall for the story. Probably because they themselves seem dissuaded.
It was films like Jab Harry Met Sejal and Zero that made Shah Rukh take a back seat and rethink of his script choices. Jab Harry Met Sejal should have been the cue for Imtiaz. We really hope he’s thought things through before presenting us the ‘new’ Love Aaj Kal. Because, if not, he will only be ruining a perfectly good film, both for us and for himself.
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