Research is GOD
Just like how a building needs a foolproof architectural blueprint for construction, a film relies on a script—and a solid, thumpin’ one at that.
The recently released movie Jab Harry Met Sejal, helmed by dreamy director Imtiaz Ali and starring the charismatic Shah Rukh Khan and the bubbly Anushka Sharma, flouted this very pillar of filmmaking.
The result: a box-office disaster and a cinematic embarrassment.
Had some thought been given to ironing out the chinks in the plan, Jab Harry Met Sejal would have been a sound success, if not a roaring blockbuster. Even a basic Google search would have sufficed to start with.
Here’s a list of keywords the makers should have at least punched into a search engine before launching into ‘Action’.
1. Pickpocketing situation in Europe
In a continent notorious for petty thefts, if your valuable goes missing, wouldn’t your first instinct be “theft” instead of “ooh, I must have dropped it somewhere so let me go get it”?
In the Imtiaz Ali-directed Jab Harry Met Sejal, Sejal does not even know where her ring is, despite her claims to the contrary. Yet she refuses to believe that it could have been stolen. In a facepalm-worthy sequence, she searches for it out in the open on one of Amsterdam’s busiest streets after almost a month of losing it! Brilliant.
BTW, Amsterdam also forms the setting for a crucial scene in my book PiKu & ViRu. Buy/download, read, and review it here now!
2. Police telephone numbers in Europe
The word ‘police’ wasn’t mentioned even once in the film. Talk about believable plots.
3. How tour operators function
Team JHMS hasn’t definitely heard of the line, “We are not responsible for loss, damage, or theft of luggage or personal belongings.”
As a tour guide whose job was done, Harry was under no obligation to find Sejal’s ring for her. So what if Sejal’s family trusted only Harry? Every tour operator has strict rules, guidelines, and policies, but who cares about them when you have to make a movie?
4. Travel insurance for jewellery
If Rupen, Sejal’s fiancé, is a sensible guy, he must have tried to back the ring with some insurance policy. Even if he couldn’t for some legit reason, the film should have spelled it out. Nevertheless, his suggestion that Sejal should stay back in Europe and find the ring anyhow—vis-à-vis accompanying her, or better, letting it go—clearly screams ‘douchebag’.
5. Population of Amsterdam
In a cringe-worthy scene set in Amsterdam, Sejal asks Harry whether the city is in France! And you know why? Just because he was listening to a French song on his car radio, not Dutch. Looks like she never really paid attention in any of her guided tours, because every tour guide in Amsterdam will tell you that the city is home to people from 180 nationalities. I’m surprised the tourism boards of Amsterdam and the Netherlands haven’t yet taken offence at Sejal’s stupidity. Also, does Sejal really know French and Dutch, despite her claims of having studied the former language in school?
6. Best Gujarati actresses
There’s no doubt they’d have done a far better job than Anushka. I wonder why the casting directors also never considered Disha Vakani, a.k.a. Dayaben from Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma, to cast opposite Shah Rukh Khan in the movie. She’d have been fab. At the same time, she really dodged a bullet, I must say. Besides, I just couldn’t buy Anushka’s Gujarati accent. I just couldn’t.
7. How to know if you’re being led on
One moment, Sejal cuddles with Harry on a bed; in another, she says she has to go back to Rupen. And in between, she pulls Harry into a room to have sex with him. Wish Harry realised he was being strung along; he wouldn’t have ended up as an emotional fool.
8. How to develop high self-esteem
If wishing you get kidnapped because it means your abductors find you “hot” isn’t low self-esteem, we don’t know what else is. And the film should have taken Sejal from this low-self-worth personality to a highly self-actualised being. Unfortunately, she remains determinedly unchanged, and so does our boredom and lack of emotional investment.
9. Best self-defence strategies
There’s a nightclub scene in Jab Harry Met Sejal where Sejal beats up and smashes a guy who hits on her. When a crowd gathers around him, including a bunch of goons, Sejal simply stands there and watches the show. But the worst part is when she calls out to Harry and doesn’t do anything, as if he’s her slave who’s meant to get her out of such messes. It’s only when he drags her out that she attempts to run. Even outside, when Harry tells her to stay quiet, as one of the goons was around, she bawls on top of her lungs like a jerk. I so wanted to smash the writer here, but then I realized it’s Imtiaz Ali, so I made do with #WTF.
10. How to run away from selfish, entitled people
Instead, Harry falls for Sejal. *Slow claps*
11. Scriptwriting for dummies
What was sorely needed but what never happened in this Anushka Sharma- and Shah Rukh Khan-starring movie. RIP Jab Harry Met Sejal.