Love and Friendship

The love story called Jab Harry met Sejal

What is it about brooding, lonely, vulnerable men that tugs at your heartstrings? The ones that make women want to become knights in shining armour for.
Harry met Sejal

Jab Harry met Sejal is the love story between Harry, a tourist guide from Punjab and Sejal, daughter of a diamond merchant from Gujarat, who go on a journey to discover a ring but instead end up discovering themselves through each other.

Imtiaz Ali’s done-to-death journey trope and the charming, happy girl rescuing the lonely boy find their place yet again in this film. But I marvel at his ability to tell the same story in different ways with each film as if he is the one looking for the meaning of love.

And from the looks of it he might just have found it with this one.

Gauri is the Superwoman in my life, says SRK.

From DDLJ to now

Shah Rukh Khan is smouldering with passion and hurt and doesn’t miss a single bhangra beat as Harinder Singh Nehra. He is the tourist guide, the pit stop for all his tourists looking for a laugh and a fun time including Sejal who confesses that she is not the type of girl who leaves her fiancé and runs away with a tourist guide.

The NRI in DDLJ has come a long way. From rescuing Simran to now being rescued by Sejal played brilliantly by Anushka, he looks the part of a broken man keeping up a strong front in the face of the world. What hasn’t changed is the good guy under the facade of the self-proclaimed bad guy who puts love before sex, always.

He is the shrink you want to have in Dear Zindagi as well as the tourist guide if you go backpacking across Europe.

SRK is the explosion that has single-handedly ruined generations of women pining for ‘his’ kind of love. It should be a crime to disillusion women like that. He is the promise of a Bollywood fairy tale.

But Anushka Sharma is no damsel in distress. She breathes life in her character as Sejal who is part vulnerable, part scared, part strong, part rescued and part the rescuer…in short, little parts that make a beautiful sum of a character who is out on a journey to discover herself.

It would be so easy to go overboard with the stereotypical Gujarat accent that she carries but she doesn’t.

SRK recently said in an interview that a love story that works is the one where the girls’ emotions are given their due importance. Isn’t that true for a real life love story too? Men, are you listening?

Ok, so they fall in love

Sejal in the film becomes the driving point for Harry’s character. The film falters a bit right after the interval as Sejal quickly falls for the tourist guide’s charm despite her strong resolve. But a couple of gimmicky plot twists in the form of a striptease dancer, a comic villain and a wedding song make you forget about it as you return to the finding of the ring, which is just another metaphor for love.

And since it’s not the ’90s, SRK also seals ‘his’ kind of love with an urgent passionate paisa-vasool kiss.

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The songs are as melodious as any of Imtiaz Ali’s films but two of the best songs Safar and Beech Beech Mein start abruptly unlike the others that flow with the narrative and will be on the playlist for a long time.

It’s all fantasy

We all wish that finding love may be as breezy as gallivanting across Europe but in real life it’s not. But then who watches Bollywood for realism? However, amidst the fluff Imtiaz Ali manages to inject his spiritual ideas of love that whatever journey one undertakes, love will always be found within oneself. The film reinstates my belief in the fact that love should always feel like home. If it doesn’t, then it’s not love.

Read what author Joanne Harris has to say about love.

In my opinion, the most realistic plot point of the film was the discovery of the engagement ring and the place where Sejal finally finds it. Watch it. If you are all heart and a sucker for Bollywood romance, you will love this one.

Imtiaz Ali has finally hit the sweet spot in a love story after his delightful debut Socha na tha. Don’t miss it.

Published in Love and Friendship
Roopal Kewalya
Roopal Kewalya is an alumnus of National Institute of Design (NID, Ahmedabad) where she studied Film Direction, and has worked as a television writer for the last few years. She is a gold medalist in English Literature from Delhi University and was recently longlisted for the Times Chickenhouse Competition for childrens’ fiction in London.

2 Comments

  1. I could not blink throughout the film when SRK and Anushka came together for dialogues.. which at the best could be termed a ‘love conversations’
    No looking away. ‘Hawayen’ remains my OMG moment.

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