There is a scene in Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal in which Shah Rukh Khan goes to a corner, sits down and cries for some reason – that’s the most ironic scene of the film as it replicated my feelings on screen. Imtiaz Ali is one of the most talented, respected and loved directors in Bollywood but with great power, comes great responsibility.
The director’s decision to make a film with a 50-something Shah Rukh Khan and an Anushka Sharma lookalike (oh sorry, that was Anushka!) backfired.
Nearly everyone who went inside the theatre came back wondering whether it was a film, a nightmare or both rolled into one.
There is no story, no plot and no performances in the film except for a few, here and there. Everything from the name to the execution seems rushed – how dare the director copy When Harry Met Sally … and think that he will get away because he is Imtiaz Ali.
How would Indians feel if Steven Spielberg copied Albert Pinto Ko Ghussa Kyon Aata Hai or Hamara Dil Aap Ke Paas Hai (Why is Albert Pinto always angry and/or My Heart is with you) – they would have banned the director for life and Imtiaz should meet the same fate.
It was like copying ‘For A Few Dollars More’ into Thoray Zyada Dollars Kay Liye or ‘Stop! Or my Mom will shoot’ into Ruk Ja, Warna Meri Maa Goli Mar Degi.
Even the name Harry wasn’t changed when it could have been Rahul or Raj, as it usually is in SRK films.
Back to the plot or lack of it, whatever you like. Harry (SRK) is a tour guide who is characterless in his own words. He gets to meet Sejal (Anushka Sharma) who has lost her ring during her trip to Europe and wants Harry to help her find it out because he was their tour guide on the trip. They move around ala DDLJ and finally end up loving each other despite their intentions ‘to-not-fall’ in love.
Seems interesting? Didn’t attract me much!
Shah Rukh Khan looked old in the role of a 30-something tour guide who flirts with women wherever he goes. The role would have suited Ranveer Singh or Ranbir Kapoor but SRK was a misfit from the first day. Anushka tries too hard to impress the audience but when you don’t have a chemistry with your co-star, you also end up over acting despite your best intentions.
Had somebody else played Sejal – someone thinner and taller – it might have saved the film because Ms. Sharma looks a little plump and stupid.
She appoints herself as Harry’s girlfriend, a fact that doesn’t go down well if you have brains.
She tries to flirt with him to pass time and Harry doesn’t approve despite having a dheela character. Moreover, the place where she finally finds her ring … well, that’s quite predictable but I will let you find it out yourself and be shocked.
It would have been much much better had Imtiaz Ali not made a film with SRK because right now, King Khan is not in the best form of his life.
The twist in the tale was SRK’s idea but we would have been happy with the original deal – a man on verge of committing suicide. That way, we wouldn’t be contemplating suicide after watching Jab Harry Met Bally or whatever her name was. Harry deserved Sally, not Sejal and neither did we!
Omair Alavi is a senior entertainment journalist who tweets at omair78