Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Producer: Gauri Khan (Red Chillies Entertainment)
When one is presented with a pure love story, decorated with chocolate flavoured romance and surreal moments to treasure it with, it brings to the table a certain mindset that you want to dive yourself into. Filmmakers nowadays are well and truly aware of the sensibilities of their audience, when it comes to designing a story that matches their relevance of time, conscience of emotions and the time frame of the events that happen around us. But then again, we have those story tellers, who live solely through the instinct of a moment, that can be best explained in the Imtiaz Ali style of filmmaking.
This being Imtiaz Ali’s seventh directorial venture, it became the talk of the town just like his every release, given his ability to tell a story, without much filter and realism. But this time around, that wasn’t the only reason. After much anticipation, Shah Rukh Khan and Imtiaz Ali coming together, was headlines enough to expect a mind-blowing blockbuster in the making. Jab Harry Met Sejal starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka in the lead, and perhaps the only characters that matter in the sequence of the story, tell you how searching an engagement ring becomes the journey of finding their own, within the comfort that they share so relentlessly. SRK plays a tour guide in Europe who goes about his menial ways of living an ordinary life, until Anushka Sharma, turns right back before boarding a flight, as finding her engagement ring becomes her sole motive. And that’s essentially where Harry and Sejal’s ‘safar’ begins.
Films like Jab We Met, Highway and Tamasha, are so nuanced and incredible to say the least, that it has given Imtiaz Ali, the creditability of a filmmaker, that you cannot write off. Especially with his coming-of-age skills to showcase a love story, without having to say too much. And that’s where the beauty of his style really lies. Jab Harry Met Sejal has it’s limitations and flaws at various occasions, and the audience is justified to question and not subscribe to the likability of the journey that the protagonists choose to take. However, the way he showcases rawness within the emotion of expressing care and affection to a girl, stirs back instances of the Yash Chopra style of romance. Because it’s never just about saying “How much I love you.” If you love her so much, you’ll make it the best moment her life has ever witnessed. The kind of pulse one cannot describe in words, and perhaps only through a visual representation like cinema. And that’s where Jab Harry Met Sejal scores.
It has layers of a story that at times came across as ambitious desires, apprehesive needs and the too-good-to-be-true scenarios. But that in no which way took anything from Ali’s sensibility of placing his characters in a position where they feel vulnerable towards love. Hence, reminding the audience that it is perfectly alright to feel the pain that comes along with it. Not to mention how incredibly stunning the locations are in every scene . Every city they travel to, has a different charm to express. It’s where scintillating cinematography makes all the difference when it comes to presenting something simple look so aesthetic.
Coming from the school of boldness and versatility, Anushka Sharma has managed to lift her own bar with every performance that she signs up for. Having started of with SRK in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and then in Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Jab Harry Met Sejal gives you a very charming, vivacious and a sense of being naive, through the character of Sejal. Her honesty towards her craft is one thing, but how easily she falls into the skin of her character, makes you want to enjoy that perfectly trained Gujarati accent for a bit longer. What floored me yet again, is the chemistry that she and Shah Rukh Khan share on screen. Moments of their romance make you want to forget every little nitty gritty of life, just because that visual looks too stunning to not fall for. Along with every other aspect that the story presents, Anushka somehow manages to push the envelope within her prism of limitations as an actor. And she does so, with respectability towards the character and makes the audience applaud that rawness that she exudes.
With 25 years of experience on celluloid, and over 70 films, most of which become a colossal event world wide, the name Shah Rukh Khan, is enough to stop whatever it is you’re doing, and run to the cinemas. Perhaps it is the credibility of the man that he is, or just simply his gifted ability to make you want to fall in love with him all over again. Fact is that, even in a flawed and faulty film, it is Shah Rukh Khan’s charisma, presence and charm that you take away from it. Not only is he intense, passionate and expressive (almost like an experience you had always dreamt of having), but the manner in which he carries his onscreen persona, is an extension of who he is as a person. Harry AKA Harinder Singh Nehra, showcases precisely those qualities that a woman would die to be a recipient of. The way he sways Sejal, the manner in which he transforms from a casanova, to finding exactly what he intends to seek. That love which is so special, that love which you want in your forever dictionary. There’s a scene in the first half of the film which I could rewind over and over again. It’s almost like romance got manufactured in his DNA and has only grown over the years. A quality that many other artists fail to bring to the big screen nowadays. And that’s where the star SRK separates itself from the actor that wants to come out in every role that he does.
If you walk into the theatre expecting a slapstick, predictable order of sequence, you will be disappointed. Because this isn’t a Highway or a Jab We Met. It is a modern take on a perspective of love that you wish and hoped it came with no pain or at a different time in life. But then again, if it wasn’t painful, love wouldn’t be worth fighting for. And perhaps, that’s where cinema brings out the best from a director like Imtiaz Ali. To seek everything that you know you can’t, but to never stop believing that the journey to find what that is, is always worth it.