By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Jab Harry Met Sejal”; Director: Imitaz Ali; Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Evelyn Sharma, Chandan Roy Sanyal and Aru Krishansh Verma; Rating: *1/2
If you are content to simply bask in the company of a middle-aged Shah Rukh Khan and half-his-age Anushka Sharma, the two attractive leads who star as Harinder Singh Nehra aka Harry, a Punjabi, and Sejal Jhaveri, a Gujarati, then this romance is for you. Otherwise, you would be questioning your motive for sitting through this film.
Once again, it’s hard to put too much hate on a film that clearly tries hard to dazzle its fans, but the elephant in the room here is clearly the script. Yes, this is a wonderful film to gawk at as the locales in Europe are beautiful, but you will find that you are doing just that. The plot meanders on multiple occasions and the characters, especially Sejal, is given some of the most atrocious dialogues that make you chuckle inadvertently.
Sejal is a tourist in Europe, who at the airport on her way back to India, realises that she has lost her engagement ring. Disappointed, dejected and defiant, she opts out of the group to search her ring. She ropes in her tour guide Harry in her endeavour. The premise, albeit cliched, and the setting promise an entertaining romance. But alas, it is nowhere palpable.
Imitaz Ali’s latest oeuvre seems to be mounted on an outdated, perfunctory script packed with cardboard thin characters, silly conversations and a weak plot that lacks depth, drama and the seriousness of a heart-felt romance. This makes the entire narrative seem forced and pretentious, and loses connect with the audience.
Added to the anguish are the performances. Though both the lead actors are ace performers, Shah Rukh does not seem to get out of his comfort zone. His performance lacks lustre and freshness. Anushka matches Shah Rukh with her energy levels but together their on-screen romance lacks chemistry and chutzpah. Her accent is fake and inconsistent.
Aru Krishansh Verma as Harry’s friend along with Evelyn Sharma as his love interest has nothing much to offer. Chandan Roy Sanyal as Gas, the illegal Bangladeshi immigrant thug, does have his moments of on-screen glory.
Director Imtiaz Ali seems to have taken the easy route assuming that a film with Shah Rukh Khan will automatically work. The film sorely lacks drama, interesting twists and freshness. It trudges along on an even keel throughout. The first half is watchable as it establishes the setting and characters, but the post interval half drags needlessly.
The songs “Hawaayein” and “Radha” are melodious and well-picturised, but do nothing to enhance the experience.
The film expectedly boasts of good production values and the cinematographer captures the beauty of Europe with utmost sincerity.
Overall, good actors cannot uplift a poor script and aJab Harry Met Sejal’ suffers from that and a lot more. With low entertainment quotient this one fails to appeal.