Imtiaz Ali is a firm believer and his characters travelling for love. Whether it is ‘Cocktail’ (2012), ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2009) or ‘Jab We Met’ (2007), Ali loves to show his conflicted love stories in picturesque locations with colourful backdrops and ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ promised more of the same. The trailers showed leads Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma wandering through the streets of Europe singing and dancing and falling in love. The music for film had also become an instant hit with fans liking Radha, Beech Beech Mein and Haawayein.
Harinder Singh aka Harry (Khan) is a tour guide who leads Indian tour groups through Europe, showing the best of each city. He is frequently in and out of relationships and seems to have the habit of breaking girls’ hearts. Sejal Jhaveri (Sharma) is one of Harry’s clients who stays behind after her tour with Harry to find her engagement ring which she lost along the way. Sejal is a talkative Gujarati girl who is intent in on visiting all the places she went to during her month long tour with Harry’s tour group and finding her lost ring, much to Harry’s reluctance.
This film is reminiscent of Ali’s previous films with Harry and Sejal’s characters reminding us of characters we have come across before. Khan is tasked with playing a character we are already familiar with; a lost soul in a foreign land who is searching for something within himself, combined with the romantic hero the audience is so familiar with. He is comfortable in his character and shares real chemistry with Sharma’s Sejal. Sejal is the talkative, impulsive and naïve Gujarati girl who is charming, sparking off the cues that Khan so effortlessly provides.
The plot is, unfortunately, where this film falls down as it is formula that been done too often by Ali himself in previous films. Sejal is, of course, engaged already when the two characters are introduced to the audience so it instantly becomes a little limited. However, this familiarity brings comfort to the audience. Ali knows how to do it right and you feel like you are on the ride through Europe with them. The audience is shown the best of each European city the characters visit and they truly show off the best of each location.
The songs by Pritam offer some relief to break up the storyline but they do heavily distract from the main plot itself. Disappointingly, Beech Beech Mein arrives at a point where it’s really unnecessary. Aside from this, both Phurrr and Hawayein aren’t a part of the film in quite the way the promotional videos have shown, neither is Safar. Radha and Butterfly add a much-needed upbeat portion to the film’s narrative.
The storyline is this film’s weakest point and though it isn’t the best of plots, you can’t help but fall for the characters themselves, who provide a sanctuary in an somewhat incoherent and scattered plot. Sharma’s playfulness coupled with Khan’s maturity acts as a great contrast on screen. Khan’s romantic skills never get old and honestly he is a joy watch on screen and seals this particular film with a kiss.
BizAsiaLive.com rating: 3/5