Watching an Imtiaz Ali film can be tedious, as it tends to constantly demand attention from the viewer. One cannot merely sit back with a bag of popcorn in their hand and enjoy a light-hearted movie. Imtiaz frequently deep-dives into emotionally complex caverns, taking the entanglements head-on, marginally softening the blow by engaging attractive artists.
‘Jab Harry Met Sejal‘ is no different. In this film, Imtiaz tries to unfold the inexplicable chemistry that two strangers share while on a preposterous journey to find a missing ring. While he has employed similar tropes in his other movies, this one comes across as contrived.
Though the plot is thinner than a toothpick, it’s the repetition that spirals the viewer into an induced coma of unending exasperation. Additionally, the protagonists are far from believable. Harry (Shah Rukh Khan), a tourist guide dealing with his private demons by womanizing and gulping down bottles of alcohol, is easily swayed by an unapologetically dim Sejal (Anushka Sharma), a perennially confused young woman who chooses to flit all over Europe in the hopeless attempt of recovering her engagement ring.
Now, how plausible is it for a serial womanizer to fall for the weak, flirtatious attempts of a woman who constantly reminds him that she will leave him after finding the ring? And how believable is it, that a girl would aimlessly peregrinate across countries to find a missing ring? They go back and forth for the duration of the film in their attempt to understand what on God’s green Earth they are doing with and to each other.
Known for his raw, brutal take on romantic relationships, Imtiaz’s hare-brained central theme in ‘ Jab Harry Met Sejal‘ completely misses the mark. In order to ensure that the movie spreads over a weary duration of 2:23 hours, he splatters the narrative with a long list of uninspiring songs. The only positives that appear rather obvious from the first scene are the standout performances of the lead actors. Shah Rukh Khan brings the right amount of charisma and vulnerability to his part, while Anushka Sharma is goofy and irksome in equal measure.
Imtiaz Ali has outdone himself from ‘Tamasha‘ and created, what is comfortably his worst film till date. As always, he made sure that he got the right talent in the frame. If only he had made similar efforts behind the camera as well.