Anushka Sharma

Cinephile Stock: Jab Harry Met Sejal

JAB HARRY MET SEJAL

Written and Directed by Imtiaz Ali
Produced by Gauri Khan
Starring Anushka Sharma & Shah Rukh Khan
with
Aru K. Verma & Chandan Roy Sanyal
Photographed by K.U. Mohanan, ISC
Edited by Aarti Bajaj
Music by Pritam
Background Score by Hitesh Sonik

Imtiaz Ali’s last film was my favourite film of the year it released in. Highly underrated and not-properly-understood by audiences and critics, Tamasha was an incredible film, set as it was in the Imtiaz Ali Universe.

Jab Harry Met Sejal is in the same space….well, almost. Locations change more frequently as Ali takes the audience on a tour of Europe. And how does he improve upon the sights of Europe? He hires Shah Rukh Khan as the tour guide and Anushka Sharma as a traveller looking for her lost engagement ring.

Harry is a Kanidda da Punjabi (technically….his passport is Canadian) who is suppressing memories of his pind and getting into bed with women, mostly travellers on his tours. He is, in his own words, cheap. Sejal is one of the travellers who has lost her engagement ring somewhere on the tour and wants to find it. She drags Harry along, mainly because her family trusts the guy (no background checks there) and his boss, on the verge of firing him, consents. Thus begins the journey which takes the duo to a number of places, where they meet a number of ‘characters’.

Aarti Bajaj does some swift work with the scissors, enabling the film to keep moving in places where it could’ve stagnated. Picturesque locations are aided by K.U. Mohanan’s elegant cinematography. It’s better than his work in Raees, which was drenched in bright colours. Here, the colours are more subdued and the pictures look more lifelike.

Pritam is unable to match up to Rahman. The music is better than it was in the last two films he composed for, but I have to admit that I am getting tired of Arijit Singh. He’s not the sole singer in the film industry, is he? There are some trendy, upbeat numbers like Radha (Sunidhi Chauhan and Shahid Mallya’s vocals are fantastic) and Beech Beech Mein, and there are also the more soulful, more Imtiaz Ali numbers like Safar and Hawaayein. Hitesh Sonik’s background score is not too evident in the film but is soaring when it turns up.

The film has only two supporting characters (Thanks, Imtiaz, for not crowding it with too many to handle). Aru K. Verma as Harry’s fellow guide Mayank does a pretty good job. Chandan Roy Sanyal as the illegal immigrant/criminal Gas is riotous, adding to the troubles of the guide-traveller duo.

Anushka Sharma is fantastic as Sejal. She nails the Gujarati accent and mannerisms. Her comic timing is incredible and she is pretty good in the more dramatic portions too. The sense of individuality her character has is greater than what Deepika had in Tamasha. She isn’t reduced to a supporting character, which would’ve been terrible for the film. She owns her moments in the film with ease.

Shah Rukh Khan is on a roll. Fan, Dear Zindagi, Raees and now this. I officially forgive him for Happy New Year and Dilwale and sincerely hope he doesn’t slip back into that kind of movies again. This is Shah Rukh as a character not a lot of people are used to. He sheds the ‘lover boy’ tag and becomes cheap, crass and womanising, very anti-Rahul/Raj. He is a tad bit over the top in a couple of scenes but does well for the rest of the film. The Punjabi accent feels authentic and adds a lovely touch to the character. Add to that the brooding expressions, the charming smile, the dimples and the intense dialogues, and you have the entire package of Shah Rukh Khan the actor (Yes, I’m a fanboy.)

The lion’s share of the pie is, without a doubt, Imtiaz Ali’s. After having made three rather serious films, he writes a fun, frothy story. He doesn’t relegate one character to the sidelines, even though the story is more about Harry than Sejal. His dialogues are incredible, laugh-out-loud hilarious at times and worth pondering over on a few occasions. The humour works because it isn’t crass or vulgar. It’s naturally funny. As usual, Imtiaz has an underlying theme. How we may attempt to hide our real selves (different from Tamasha because Ved didn’t know who he was.) in order to create a perception people will have of us. Imtiaz even showcases a bit of class divide, of how we may treat someone we believe to be inferior to us. There is also the offering that one shouldn’t bottle up what one is feeling. If you don’t tell another person what you’re thinking/feeling, you’ll never know their point of view. Imtiaz scores on the direction too, simply by keeping the film short (140 minutes approx.) and tonally light. He could’ve made it darker despite the story but he doesn’t. The sole quibble I have is that Imtiaz stays within his comfort zone of self-discovery. Another film like this and people may actually not want to see someone find themselves again.

Jab Harry Met Sejal is a fun movie, one that can be watched with anybody (I watched it with around 500 people, none of whom I knew). It is worth a watch, just so one can have a hearty laugh after a rather serious month in terms of films. The premise is unique and it’s a pretty good ride.

Verdict: E (Entertaining and Enjoyable)


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Up next on CINEPHILE STOCK: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s Bareilly Ki Barfi on August 18. BUT! A different segment is out on Independence Day, so drop in to check that out! Cheers!

Varun Oak-Bhakay

4.8.2017

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FLASH!: Ae ‘Dull’ Hai Mushkil

Ae Dil is classic Johar. Exotic locations, good-looking actors, decently-written characters, great music, but clumsy story. Ayan’s love for Alizeh is something I couldn’t comprehend. Why? Why is this guy in love with this overly-bubbly, yet likeable girl? His motive is not in the picture. Alizeh sticks to her guns throughout the film, making her the most well-written character. Then there’s Saba, a shaaira (female shaayar). A character tailor-made for Aishwarya Rai. DJ Ali is of vital importance to the ‘story’ but hardly does anything.

Ranbir Kapoor once again slipped into his role easily and really hit the bull’s eye with his comic timing. Aishwarya Rai was sincere despite her half-written character. So incomplete a character that it seems Johar got tired of her. Anushka Sharma is easily the best of the top-billed cast. She grabs your attention in almost all of her scenes. I really didn’t know what Fawad Khan was doing in the film and going by his performance, neither did he. Lisa Haydon stole a scene with her act and Imran Abbas was ‘also there’ (it was hilarious to watch him dance). Alia Bhatt had a cameo of a cameo. Shah Rukh Khan had one scene and owned it with his charm and dialogue. Niranjan Iyengar and Johar’s dialogues were awful. They were good in some places but seemed utterly unoriginal otherwise. There were also too many revisitations of other Dharma films. Pritam did a fine job with the music, except the opening riff of Bulleya. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics were beautiful. The editing was a little abrupt and shoddily done. Anil Mehta once again showcases his abundance of talent as a cinematographer. This is perhaps his brightest film in terms of colours. He brought the locations alive with his work. The problem lay in the story. It seemed like a half-hearted attempt at writing one. The comical bits stayed comical but the drama should have been more real and more in substance. Johar’s direction was also off the mark, though not as much as his writing. He seemed to be in many minds about scenes and the film suffered. Also, half the budget seems to have been blown on buying rights for classic songs. Wish there had been more of a time- and mind-based investment on the script.

All in all, not the worst film in the world but not a must-watch either. Basically, you might as well watch this if you can watch a Salman Khan film. Fortunately not as bad as K3GK2H2, and SOTY. 

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil: 2/5

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