Jab Harry Met Sejal Movie Review: Harry & Sejal Ka Ek Aur Tamasha!

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma

Directed by: Imtiaz Ali

Rating: ** ½(2 and a half stars)

If the flop-ridden  Hindi film industry had its hopes pinned on the new Shah Rukh Khan starrer for salvation,then it’s tie to unpin those hopes.

Imtiaz Ali’s eagerly awaited Jab Harry Met Sejal is a lengthy lumbering  baggy and pointless love story….as  lengthy, lumbering, etc, as his earlier Tamasha where two grown-up individuals behaved like a bratty unpleasant couple on a reality-show pretending to be someone people  they were not.

Just imagine if Ranbir Kapoor and  Deepika Padukone met again in  an exotic land and decided to  play….ummm…. a cranky closet-misogynist tourist guide and a fast-taking vacuous but  charming  Gujarati tourist.

Fun, no?

Well, no. Not really. Shah Rukh’s Harry with his unabashed cheesiness and ‘cheapness’ plays his part with an arrogant aplomb that seems borrowed from his superstar persona of Aryan Khanna in  ManeeshSharma’s Fan. Here is a  man who will do what he wants, say what he wishes and  apply any logic no matter how politically indecorous,  to prove his  point.

And we are meant to listen in, because ….well, it is Shah Rukh Khan. Anushka Sharma, showing an  impressive ability to stay calm and still while her co-star lets off spleen all over the place, does a good of job trying to make some sense of her co-star’s tantrums.Frankly, Sejal has more patience than we do.

It’s hard for  us to tolerate  her mulish determination and his cynical deportment.These two are made for each other. Our best wishes.

Imtiaz Ali  has been repeatedly remaking his first film Socha Na Tha in various geo-political and socio-cultural  permutations exploring the gender dynamics in relationships where the woman is aggressively self-assertive while the man careens between self-loathing and  borderline misogyny that  comes from a broken heart or excessive sex.

Take your prick.

As they travel across Europe looking  for Sejal’s missing ring(why is the ring so vital to her life??) Harry insists in  telling her he has been ….errr…sleeping around, that he is cheap and he just may make her a target of his cheapness. Sejal who couldn’t less to begin with, soon begins to  enjoy the thought of being given more a passing excursion  into unknown lands by her rude tourist guide

. Their well-lit bristling and borderline-sexy conversations in exotic hotel rooms (well done, K U Mohanan) reminded me  of Kareena Kapoor(then without the ‘Khan’)  and Shahid Kapoor’s vivacious banter inImtiaz Ali’s still-outstanding Jab We Met.

What  followed was a sell-out. In Imtiaz’s earlier films the  couple explored the Indian hinterland  in pursuit of an emotional and spiritual identity. Rockstar onwards they began  travelling to exotic  foreign locations for no other reason except that the  director afford them.

Jab Harry Met Sejal is all over the place, literally. It takes us to Prague, Budapest and what-not. But fails to justify its roving eye .The  emotional journey is just as messy and  unconvincing. It’s hard  for the audience to invest their emotions in  these two self-absorbed cynics  who think travelling together is a sign from above for an incongruous bumpy togetherness filled with rage and , yes, atonal songs lip-synced so indifferently  by Shah  Rukh Khan as though to tell us, ‘Look, guys, I know  and you know that I am not really singing these songs.’

The same  sort of freewheeling flippancy is applied to the ersatz emotions that spill out through dialogues which impose a  mellowness and maturity on what is essentially romantic raillery between two highschool students , one of whom is rich arrogant and  stubborn, and the other is arrogant and stubborn no matter what his social standing, because, well, he  is Shah Rukh Khan.

Jab Harry Met Sejal has a few genuinely ‘cool’ encounters between  the lovers…But these are too spaced out and  too far in-between two engage us in the couple’s destined marriage.What clutters the corridors of this posh-looking touristic vilaayat-darshan are the winking flirty exchanges which lead nowhere.

A big disappointment for both the fans of Shah Rukh Khan and Imtiaz Ali.

They both need to think about what to do next. In separate rooms,  please.

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