The flavour of an Imtiaz Ali film lies in its ability to engage and entertain as the audience journeys through the traveller’s(read character’s) experiences. The director’s latest offering is a pie that we’ve often tasted but one that’s gone wrong with disproportionate ingredients.
Jab Harry Met Sejal(much as it sounds like Jab We Met) tastes like most of Imtiaz’s films but unfortunately the exquisite locales obscure its pivotal characters. Harry(Shah Rukh) is Harinder Singh, the Punjabi tour guide who is forced to accompany Sejal(Anushka), the Gujarati chhokri, in finding her lost engagement ring across all of Europe. What follows is a trip to the pub, a night on the streets of Europe, an encounter with local goondas, role playing at a cafe in Budapest-blended with some singing and dancing. It’s soul searching in disguise for ‘what you seek is seeking you’. Been there? Heard that? Yes, we have. Be it free-flowing fun and frolic in Jab We Met or layers peeling off characters in Highway or even simplistic scenarios of arranged-love marriages in Socha Na Tha. Only that they were far more believable while this one fails to live up to the mark. That said, one cannot miss a few palpably-real moments created by Harry and Sejal with remarkable ease. Unfortunately, such moments are few.
Mr. Khan knows the Punjabi boy(now man) too well to go wrong with the accent or the mannerisms. And yes, given the non-swooning character(too), he manages to charm with those eyes and that dimpled-smile even today, even as that vulnerable bad boy. Anushka pulls off the Gujarati girl fairly well though you’ll find the Punjabi kudi in her popping out of that patiala as soon as she hears the bhangra tunes. Perhaps, that’s all that the wafer-thin narrative allows our capable actors to do. The saving grace for JHMS, is the irresistible camerawork by KU Mohanan, for you’ll find yourself embracing each little corner of Europe.
I cannot resist mentioning Irshad Kamil’s words, especially in Safar and Hawaayein, for he himself says(in phurr),’lafz na ho pyaar, balki aadat ho.’
What let’s you down as a film-fanatic is the fact that an entourage that screams out names like Shah Rukh Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Pritam, and even Chandan Roy Sanyal is left unnurtured. A trite plot and half-peeled characters leave no room for for a creative and talented team that is capable of delivering better.
I prefer to relish the flavours of the pies already digested(Jab We Met, Socha Na Tha, Highway encore )
P.S – For all the Shah Rukh fans out there(that includes myself) watch the latest interviews by Rajeev Masand and Anupma Chopra. These were featured as promotionals but carry repeat value for their wit, humour and those countless anecdotes shared by Mr. Khan.
They’re a treat. Truly.
© 2017 reachyashika. All rights reserved.