Imtiaz Ali films have a special corner reserved in my heart. His loyal audience, like me, are urban nomads who take vicarious pleasure in this virtual cinematic tour that travels through winding roads, cobbled streets, crowded bazaars, pulsating cities and bustling squares with unknown stranger, so enjoy the journey and forget the destination!!!
JAB HARRY MET SEJAL is one such travelogue that moves at a leisurely pace with one country at a time. An engagement ring is just a convenient ruse to visit and explore the most beautiful cities in the world. And when you have a king of romance, Shah Rukh, serenading his love around the charming citadels of Prague or warming up at the tony cafés of Amsterdam or simply lazing on the sunny beaches of Spain, need we bother about story or music; not me at least ???? ????
Imtiaz’s Jab Harry met Sejal is all heart
This cute love story between a Punjabi tour guide settled in Europe and feisty Gujju lawyer comes without any designer tag or curated experiences. In short it is realistically imperfect. They are like chalk and cheese but decide to stick on till they find the missing ring and later, their real-selves. Living in denial, Harry and Sejal have their past colluding with the present. The reluctant lovers cannot fathom the mutual feelings who almost refuse to acknowledge the blooming love between them. Instead, Harry is completely pissed at being tagged along with a scatter-brained Sejal for a repeat tour. Her insistence of replaying every event happening before the ring got lost, cracks you up totally. An exasperated SRK has almost given up on ‘Zhalli’ Sejal but continues anyways for the sake of his job. His self-confessions of being a wanderer and a compulsive womanizer does not cut ice with cool- headed Sejal who in turn challenges him to seduce her to prove himself.
With such wonderful camaraderie between the two, we are on an interesting journey till the characters change their tracks. Always angry with the world and Sejal in general, SRK’s sudden fascination with her is befuddling. In a set pattern, even Sejal bites into the love apple after a while. Whatever happened to the missing ring?? Well, we have few more gorgeous locales to visit, you see. But to our dismay, director falls prey to the curse of Bollywood cliché`s and the film somersaults into India in search of true love.
Unfortunately, Imtiaz Ali’s films are turning into zerox copies of each other
The simplicity and rawness of HIGHWAY or ROCKSTAR is lost in the glitz and glamour of working with big-ticket actor and actresses. Real Imtiaz Ali seems to be buckling under the pressure of Box-Office statistics. Barring a rustic Punjabi number, other songs appear force-fed and disconnected.
But there is one reason to watch this film and that is Anushka Sharma
She is not conventionally beautiful, does not wear skimpy clothes. She is far from being curvaceous and has no starry attitude too. But that makes for an excellent actor who is super confident and a cut-above-the-rest. Her Gujrati toned Hindi diction is bang on. Staying unaffected by SRK, the super star, she has an equal towering screen presence and if I dare say, Anushka has outdone Shah Rukh in the game of love. Cheers Girl !!!! You did it.
Even at 51, SRK’s intense gaze and charming dimples can make any girl go weak in her knees. But here, he seems to be trapped in his own stardom. He walks, talks and struts around like a mega star who fails to get under the skin of the character instead. Scruffy Harry, driving luxury cars and visiting notorious digs is attitude overloaded. His high strung act is absolutely unnecessary 🙁
Between, SRK lands his first kiss in three decades. Call it changing fortunes or trying times ? ????
But fret not, when going gets boring, soak in the surroundings of Budapest, Berlin, Amsterdam, Prague and Spain. Heck, I wish the ring is never found. ????
In the long journey of life, such films take us one step closer to the self-discovery. Whatever is your mood, some arm-chair travelling has never hurt anyone.