Movie Review: Jab Harry Met Sejal (Hindi)

Imtiaz Ali's Jab Harry Met Sejal is about a woman's search for her engagement ring and more importantly, a movie in search of a plot. With a runtime of 144 minutes, not only is it pointless, excruciatingly long and completely devoid of soul, it's also mirthless, regressive and a shining example of shoddy filmmaking. Perhaps Harry (Shah Rukh Khan, who looks out of place) should never have met Sejal (an over the top Anushka Sharma)!

For it's like watching a repeat of what happens in Tamasha, except that what happens in Corsica doesn't stay in Corsica and is all over Europe. And by the end of it all when the inevitable happens (as is the case with most romantic comedies), you are no closer to understanding who Harry and Sejal are as you were at the start of the film, and why you should care about them in the first place.

I must admit Sejal's is a bit more intriguing, that of a supposedly modern woman who constantly seeks acknowledgement from Harry, not of her brains or her confidence, but rather her attractiveness. That she keeps asking how desirable she is to a womaniser and is all but practically seducing him almost made me think if growing up in a conservative family played a role in her second-guessing herself and who she really is. But alas, this what-could-have-been-an-interesting-backstory of sexual repression is never explored and we are instead stuck with an incoherent mess of a story.

Which brings me to a very relevant question: why even make it? JHMS is at best a string of random incidents pieced together by too many songs that come and go, with not one of them effectively used to forward the story - or, whatever is there of it. There is one favourite scene however, when Harry, fed up with all the traveling and soul-searching, tells Sejal: Tu flight pakad ke chali ja. Yeh bahut silly ho raha hai*. Wish the makers had this self-realisation before bankrolling the film!

P.S.: And I don't want to even talk about how Sejal defends Harry against a woman he cheated on (she settles the argument for a mere 20 Euros) or the way immigrant characters have been treated in the film. Since when has making merry out of their plight become fodder for cheap comedy? Xenophobic much?

*Meaning: Why don't you take the flight back home? All of this is getting very silly.

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