There’s a lot of buzz around the mini trailers of Jab Harry Met Sejal starring Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma and why not? Director Imtiaz Ali has managed to strike a chord with India’s youth with his unique portrayals of love and longing through his films, which in a way, are unconventional if you compare them to the bygone era of the boy-meets-girl-they-fall-in-love genre.
And apparently, SRK is pretty awestruck with the director, comparing him to legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra, who was also one of King Khan’s favourites. But then if you come to think of it, Imtiaz Ali is also not immune to the formulas directors make use of once their film is a box office success. His approach may be unconventional, but the basic idea remains the same: boy and girl met, fall in love, there’s existential crisis, there’s self discovery and then there’s a reunion.
He is quite like every other director in Bollywood who, after a hit, becomes obsessed with the theme, rehashes it (like how content writing works these days), and cashes in on it under the garb of giving the audience something new and unique, when it is practically the same thing each time.
Jab We Met (or even Socha Na Tha) was definitely the beginning of the series of films based on a particular formula that he would constantly use for his other films. So here’s taking a look at the usual themes and if you ask us, we already know the storyline of Jab Harry Met Sejal.
Boy meets girl, they travel
Well, first things first. If you google the synopsis of Jab Harry Met Sejal, this is what you get: A man and a woman find romance as they journey across Europe. If you’ve seen Tamasha, Ranbir and Deepika meet each other while both of them are holidaying in Corsica. Shahid and Kareena bump into each other while travelling in Jab We Met. Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia get to know each other closely when they travel to Goa together. Nargis Fakhri reconnects with Ranbir Kapoor in Prague where he tries to profess his love for her. So all of Imtiaz’s characters are free-spirited beings who have a penchant for travel; maybe, that’s him adding his own personality trait into his films. Who knows.
Love versus ambition or both
Most of Imtiaz Ali’s films showcase the hero gradually losing steam over his ambition because love overpowers everything else (makes him lose his senses) that is going around in his life. We’re presuming SRK will undergo the same in Jab Harry Met Sejal, because, well, that’s how it’s supposed to be, isn’t it? Rockstar had that element of pain (of separation from his beloved) that Ranbir experiences that turns him into, well, a Rockstar (we also think Karan Johar borrowed that element of pain for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil from this film).
What did Shahid in Jab We Met, Ranbir in Rockstar, Saif Ali Khan in Love Aaj Kal and Ranbir in Tamasha (again) have in common? Well, they all at one point or the other suffered from an existential crisis. Of course, it is safe to presume how SRK in Jab Harry Met Sejal will suffer from the same crisis in the upcoming flick.
Coming-of-age and the happily-ever-after element
Like all love stories, there’s some form of separation between the protagonists and that isn’t because of a villain, but due to some form of existential crisis one of the protagonists is suffering from. Then there’s the coming-of-age element leading to a form of catharsis. This coming-of-age element is also included in Highway where Alia Bhatt eventually comes to terms with her childhood horrors. Likewise, in Jab We Met, the protagonists undergo a form of self realization and eventually come together.
So Imtiaz may make use of different narrative techniques, but the theme almost always remains the same, come what may.