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Opinion: Jab Harry Met Sejal is Imtiaz Ali’s Weakest Film but Strangely The Best SRK Film Since Chak De India.
Let me be clear I was very much excited to watch Imtiaz Ali and SRK’s collaboration Jab Harry Met Sejal as I love the Imtiaz Ali brand of Cinema but it disappointed me in a way not completely, though it is the first Imtiaz Ali film which I cannot sit through for the second time anytime soon. I like Ali’s films because of his ability to present love stories very differently and every time he puts dark, edgy philosophies in them and soul satisfying screenplays which are raw. This time I don’t know why he shied away from doing something new, the story written by him has no depth and bones. Even the leading characters to a certain extent are under written, and what is worse, the screenplay in the second half looks stale, we have seen it million times, if he has done it intentionally because he got a superstar then it is a big failure of the director. Ali very conveniently remained restricted under the clichés of the Hindi romantic films even a La La Land kind of end would have worked for me here but sadly it is regular. See the point is I expect Ali to give us conflicting screenplays with dark and unconventional elements but unfortunately here he lost a great opportunity. It is like expecting another tragedy from Shakespeare but he comes up with a Comedy Of Errors or A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the only difference between Ali and Shakespeare is, the latter when tried differently was actually different while Ali gave an over dried product.
Yes, this is Ali’s weakest film to date but having said that I also want to add it is the best SRK film since Chak De India for me. Any day better than Chennai Express, Happy New Year, Fan, Raees, Ra. One and Don 2 to name a few. And of course better than mindless masala films of Salman Khan and head aching comedies like the last week’s release Mubarakan. But when you have to compare your product with inferior kinds of stuff to prove the worth then it means something is wrong. Ali’s idea to project the philosophy that you become a traveler because you don’t have a family but every traveler wants to have one, somehow faded in his most commercially viable attempt under the Bollywood routine pack. Superstar Khan is in great form as an actor his portrayal as Harry is very fresh. Even after 25 years of acting and proving himself the king of romance already he can still out do many young actors when it comes to romancing on screen and looking attractive. He is one of the chief reasons to watch the film and his chemistry with Anushka Sharma is so damn pleasing. On the other hand, Sharma also gives a good performance as Sejal despite many contradictory writing flaws in her character she tries to make it believable but we have seen her do better in the past remember Alizeh from Ae Dil Hai Muskil. Well, apart from the performances the beautiful locations of Europe are orgasmic and the film is beautifully shot by K.U. Mohanan. The music and songs by Pritam and Irshad Kamil are melodious and fun, I am still humming Hawayein, Radha, and Butterfly though some of the songs are oddly placed in the film which makes the editing of Aarti Bajaj questionable. The first half is very entertaining and is like a romantic travelogue which is a treat for the travel enthusiast like me, why Ali played boringly safe in the second half that is a mystery. In short, he started in Jerome K. Jerome’s mode and ended up like Chetan Bhagat, how sad. But I had a good time over all while watching because space sci-fi films in Hollywood and love stories in Bollywood are like that one dance move which you know and have perfected in the last Shaadi Baraat but still want to do it over and over again. Earlier Ali made films for his art, here I think he made this for money, I have problem with the intention, I expected more but will go with 3 stars. Watch it if you love Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Europe and typical Bollywood romances.