Jab Harry met Sejal JHMS is the latest edition in an already long filmography of Shahrukh Khan and a brilliant one of Imtiaz Ali. Last Imtiaz Ali film (Tamasha) opened to wide acclaim but a little downward on box office but last Shahrukh Khan film (Raees) opened to phenomenal box office though polarizing when it comes to critical acclaim. When the news of both these gentlemen colliding came knocking in the media, fans got highly excited to see Sufism of Ali merge with the inherent charm of Khan. A few months ago title of the film was released but before that several other titles such as Rehnuma, The Ring were noted down by the fans. Jab Harry met Sejal as a title was not received with both the arms open from the audience but rather criticized to borrow its essence from 2 romance classics; Jab we Met and When Harry met Sally.
Promotional strategy of the film was very uniquely started by revealing some scenes, songs and character looks in the form of chapters that kept people thinking about what the exact plot might be. A few days ago Trailer of the film came out exceeding the expectations of fan and was received happily from the fan base of both Ali and Khan. Shahrukh Khan in past 3 years has done a lot of unconventional fans like Fan, Raees and Dear Zindagi so Harry met Sejal does not come as a surprise to people. Much ado about nothing Anushka Sharma who is doing her fourth film with Khan was brought in to fill the abstention of a female lead. All Shahrukh-Anushka films have been good to the audience so far and history is repeated with this one as well.
Theme of Ali’s film often revolve around a character trying to find the true meaning of life by breaking the stereotypical structure of the society. Now merging Shahrukh Khan in the wisdom of Ali seems very different because this man has been a superstar for 25 years now and have usually played characters that are wiser than life or a quintessential hero in Hindi cinema. Ranbir Kapoor could always fit in the characters of Ali because as an actor he does not bring too much of his own personality on screen and rather imbibes the character completely but when you are a larger than life hero and you have built an image to eat upon over a period of 2 decades than it seems a little unusual to play a tour guide who is existentially lost in life.
Oddly enough both Khan and Ali have built their careers on romantic films but in completely different ways. Romance of Ali is edgy, messy and does not understand itself, Ali deals in affection of the moment and always brings out a side of human nature which is a demon to him/herself. While the romance of Khan is swoony, rosy and gentle, it talks about family values and heartbreaks in the most caring way possible. Ali’s hero is not an enigma but a regular person with complexes and boundary less aspirations that he borrows from the society to break its mold, on the other hand Khan as a hero is always presented a positive identity who can’t do no bad in his life. Now Jab Harry met Sejal is able to comprise both the aspects of the spectrum, there are times when Khan plays to the enigma but largely he is disguised as the character.
One of the most talked about points of the film is the music given by Pritam. In 21st century there have been 2 Indian directors who have been able to reach the pinnacle of music in their films ; Imtiaz Ali and Vishal Bharadwaj. People wait desperately for their albums while the music of Jab Harry met Sejal is a chart-buster, it wouldn’t have stand a chance against Love Aaj Kal, Jab we met, Rockstar or Tamasha. Ali always undermines his music very situation-ally in his films and music always carries the narrative forward, where Khan is more used to do the typical Bollywood set pieces. Jab Harry met Sejal is exciting and it will be watched by many on the golden 70mm screen though it will disappoint a section of the society who wants to see Ali exploring the human demons to the most relish structure of the materialistic world.