While the title Jab Harry Met Sejal may point to a Hindi remake of the Hollywood film When Harry Met Sally, the plot seems more closely aligned with the other Meg Ryan-starrer, French Kiss.
Yet with the star power of Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma and an innovative story written and directed by Imtiaz Ali, this romantic comedy offers a delightfully unique narrative that delivers the best of Bollywood.
Having left his small Punjabi village years ago, Harminder "Harry" Singh Nehra (Shah Rukh Khan) now works as a tour guide in Europe. While he is good at his job, he isn't happy. Beneath his suave on-the-job persona he is somewhat of a nasty fellow and, by his own definition, he has become a womanizer and a sleaze which has put his job on the line several times.
After the conclusion of the most recent a month-long tour through Europe, Harry is set to enjoy some free time on his own. Just as is he ready to drive away from the airport, Sejal (Anushka Sharma), having lost her newly acquired engagement ring during the tour, manages to talk Harry into helping her retrace her steps in search of the lost heirloom.
Harry and Sejal set off on a journey through Amsterdam, Prague, Lisbon, and Budapest. Just as with most travel tales, it is the journey, not the destination, that makes the difference.
Having confided to Sejal that the couple's trip jeopardizes his job, Harry begrudgingly agrees to accompany her while doing what he can to prevent any inappropriate activity. Meanwhile Sejal is less restrained, exploring the European back alleys and surreptitiously observing Harry to learn more about the personal life of her travel companion.
As the journey unfolds the duo encounters an angry female in every city, a result of Harry's rakish nature. While Sejal is at first just mildly curious, she eventually reaches a comfort level with Harry's philandering past to directly confront one of his former paramours. Using legal reasoning, Sejal highlights the fickleness of Harry's past romantic trysts, diffusing the contentious situation.
Sejal is self-confident yet seems somewhat annoyingly scatterbrained at times. She has no idea where she could have lost the ring and is constantly revising the losing-of-the-ring scenarios. Her single-minded search for the missing ring moves the twosome from city to city and into the dens of some unsavory characters.
For example, after an altercation in a bar, they narrowly escape from the menacing minions pursuing them by hiding on the window ledge of a tour boat. When their search for the ring gets the attention of immigrant don Ghyassuddin "Gas" Mohammed Qureshi (Chandan Roy Sanyal), they are taken hostage. Quick thinking by Harry adds humor to this otherwise harrowing experience.
The addition of Harry's tour guide friend and confidante Mayank (Aru Krishansh Verma) helps move the story along as he forces Harry to act on some difficult truths in his life. Mayank helps the travelling companions begin to see that while Sejal may be the redemptive undoing of Harry's self-destructive lifestyle, Harry may be Sejal's undoing as well.
Jab Harry Met Sejal certainly benefits from the on-screen chemistry between Sharma and Khan, seen together previously in the 2012 romantic drama Jab Tak Hai Jaan and the 2008 romantic comedy Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
Pritam's music is entertaining enough and certainly moves the story forward. The fun "Beech Beech Mein" will get your toes tapping and "Hawayein" does a great job of conveying the gentle romance growing between Harry and Sejal.
If you are new to Bollywood, Jab Harry Met Sejal is a worthwhile and entertaining introduction to Hindi films.
If you are familiar with Indian cinema, you will certainly enjoy Shah Rukh Khan's bad boy persona, as channeled through Harry Mehra, meet its match with Anushka Sharma's no holds barred Sejal.
The following playlist features trailers for the film Jab Harry Met Sejal.
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