After a long wait, Imtiaz Ali's next directorial film starring Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma finally has a name! And even better, there are trailers that give us a first glimpse into the movie. And it's all sorts of weird and odd. And that's being generous.
'Jab Harry Met Sejal' mini trailers show a creepy SRK with an accent confused Anushka Sharma.
Too Many Half Assed Trailers!
First of all, let's discuss this trend of mini trailers. I hate it. One of the ways I considered Bollywood to excel over Hollywood, (there are others, but let's focus!) was in their limited trailer releases. Sure they embellished every event as a grandiose unveiling, but for the most part the trailer releases followed a basic formula: Release the poster. (Maybe) A teaser. Followed by a full trailer which is usually hyped and built up to days before, so we know when to expect it and clear our calenders. And that's usually it.
Now, starting with Shahrukh's own release last year in 'Dear Zindagi', this mini trailer trend is taking over and it's absolutely pointless. The 30+ second clips can easily be compiled into a 2 minute trailer to effectively give audiences an idea of what to expect from the film. But these mini trailers just mark another way that the marketing for a movie drags it out to a point where the film becomes saturated in the minds of potential viewers. Especially when you factor in multiple song video releases, behind the scenes videos, etc, that also usually accompany the marketing prior to a film's release on top of it all.
The Movie Formerly Known As 'The Ring'
This Imtiaz Ali directed film has been pretty anticipated by all for a while now. The film had no official title for the longest time, and the re-pairing of Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma made headlines. But now, with a title like 'Jab Harry Met Sejal', there are already comparisons being made to the movie that the name is inspired by. The trailers however, paint a different picture. A weirdly different picture.
We're introduced to Khan's character as a self admitted womanizer. Followed by a sizzle reel of him being creepy with sexy women from all over the world. And make no mistake, it's creepy as hell. Khan is seen sporting a stubbly beard, which ages the aging actor even more so than he is actually aged. While the superficial look isn't any different than the one he sported during his last two films, 'Raees' and 'Dear Zindagi', the character itself is worlds apart.
Here he seems to play a cassanova-type player and it's really really creepy. These trailers for 'Jab Harry Met Sejal' may be the final nail in the coffin of Khan playing characters that are completely age-inappropriate. Unless... that's what they're going for! *shock face*
I want to believe that Ali and Khan are both well aware that this depiction is off-putting. And maybe that's the point. Maybe Khan's character plays an older man who's pathetically trying to re-capture his youth through his sexual exploits. In which case, I'm on board. But if we're expected to believe a glorification of cool, young guy, lady killer Shahrukh Khan in this avatar, I'm out!
Anushka Sharma's Pay Cheque
His pairing with Anushka Sharma, given this portrayal, feels equally gross. While the two have been paired opposite each other before, their age-gap, both in years and appearance, were addressed within the story of those movies. In 'Jab Harry Met Sejal' those distinctions look a lot more obvious. And what's with Sharma's accent?
In both trailers, Sharma seems to transition in and out of a normal everyday Hindi speaking person, into one with a thick rural accent, while other times when speaking English words, no accent is noticeable.
It's pretty well known how progressive Sharma is being with her career in Bollywood. Her own production company of Clean Slate Films is responsible for one of the most impressive movies of this year in 'Phillauri'. So it's hard for me to not suspect that this movie is just a 'pay cheque movie' for Sharma.
A movie where she collects her money as part of a mainstream production house in a movie where the critical success means less than the box office collections. So she can earn her acting money and continue to focus on her own home productions, choosing quality over commercialism.
Even the story of 'Jab Harry Met Sejal', based on these trailers seem like a rehashing of recent hook-up relationship love stories like 'Befikre' and Ali's on 'Tamasha'. The first trailer seems to show Khan's character confessing his wayward personality to Sharma's in an attempt to... dissuade her interest in him. Only in the second trailer to have her free him any obligations if they did end up having coitus. ... what?!
I'm even having a hard time understanding how that's supposed to be charming, sweet, funny or even endearing. Granted it's all out of context, but I'm curious as to what context would make those scenes seem any better.
If this is another attempted at a modern day love story told by someone whose idea of contemporary relationships involving casual sex, no strings attached hook ups and superfluous emotionality involved through it all, then Bollywood will have a serious problem it needs to address.
Over all the first look of 'Jab Harry Met Sejal' doesn't intrigue of excite me to watch this movie. Ali's pedigree as a revolutionary filmmaker has also taken quite a hit after the mess that was 'Tamasha', which further lessens the excitement for this one.
Update: Mini Trailer 3 Makes Even Less Sense
I realized these teasers aren't meant to reveal any story elements. However, the latest 'mini trail' (ugh) makes even less sense than the others, and provides an even more disheartening look at the movie. An exasperated Khan freaking out at nothing that Sharma says, comes off extremely forced and inorganic. While Khan is usually commended for his natural comic timing and matter-of-fact- deliveries, which are miles ahead of most Bollywood actors, all of this seems very contrived and off point for Khan.