With much excitement, I made my way into the movie theatre with a bunch of friends to watch Jab Harry Met Sejal. Expectations were high because, well – Imtiaz Ali. The stalwart storyteller has come together with Shahrukh Khan for an evolved candy floss style story, and I could not wait to sit back and enjoy yet another well etched tale with numerous subtle nuances and plenty of fun.
I was utterly disappointed.
The movie was missing one very vital element – logic. As simple as that. To begin with, Ali stuck with his insightful inner dialogue style of story telling, but somewhere he lost his own style in a bid to answer to SRK and his Karan Johar style shenanigans. The screenplay was just plain lazy. Gone was the silent treatment rendered to Ranbir Kapoor’s scenes as he woke up morning after morning, indulging in the same drudgery of the everyday in Tamasha, and gone was the beautiful rendition of the rambunctious, infectious Punjabi energy and the simple family values playing havoc with the conscience of a girl who had a mind of her own. Now, when SRK looked in the mirror, tired of his life, there was background music. Jarring. And even more jarring was the complete lack of flow from one scene to another, from one sequence of events to another. There was angst in the lives of both the characters, but the storyteller has left a lot of questions unanswered. For example, why was SRK crying and talking to a wall before breaking into a musical lesson straight from the verdant greenery of Punjab? Or why had Anushka Sharma kept the ring hidden the whole time – or had she? Such was the dilemma of the unassuming viewer who simply wanted a few answers. I can swear I had understood Inception a little better!
Imitiaz Ali is well known for portraying the inner dialogue of his characters so skillfully, yet he chose to resort to insipid song and dance. Half the songs in the movie had absolutely nothing to do with the scenes before or after. In fact, as far as the scenes themselves are concerned, I even thought I had missed a few scenes in between – such was the disarray of thoughts, emotions, and story telling elements.
Yet, I have to hand this much to the female lead of the movie. Anushka did a brilliant job as Sejal. Even as a half baked character, she managed to shine. Her on screen shenanigans kept me in splits for the first half an hour at least. But even she could not save a movie that seemed designed to focus on SRK spreading his arms, looking into the heroine’s eyes, and basically doing what he always does – or doing what he always did convincingly, until now.
If you can miss this movie, I would strongly recommend it.