Posted by Fenil Seta
Hiren Kotwani (BOMBAY TIMES; July 9, 2017)
Even though Shah Rukh Khan is doing a romantic film after a while, what's got us intrigued about Jab Harry Met Sejal is the fact that he is playing a tourist guide in it. That's a first for SRK, who has essayed a variety of roles in his long innings in Bollywood. What also makes this Imtiaz Ali directorial interesting is that after a long time, a leading man is playing a guide on screen. When you think about guides, Dev Anand's Guide (1965) instantly comes to mind. While SRK asserts that there is no comparison with the classic, he says there could be many people in the world like his character, Harry. We chat with the superstar about his new movie and how Harry is different from his most popular romantic characters, Raj and Rahul. Excerpts...
After a long time, we're seeing a leading man play a guide on screen.
I think it's extremely romantic to play a guide. Dev saab played a very intense one, there was Shashi Kapoor saab in Jab Jab Phool Khile and also Aamir Khan in Raja Hindustani. It's a romantic character. The guide is a metaphor for someone who takes you on a journey of self-revelation. This is an Imtiaz Ali film and has the tagline 'What you seek is seeking you'. We've not gone completely contemporary ki guide aise hote hain. Perhaps he's not happy with his job. He has his life experiences. The idea of the film is that he's supposed to be the one you're following and during the course of the story, he also finds what he's looking for.
For those familiar with Guide, Dev Anand's character is memorable. Do you think Harry, too, will become as memorable for the audience today?
It's difficult to compare Harry with Dev saab's Raju guide. Imtiaz writes so realistically. There are many people in the world who will be like Harry - they'll have a past, or may not have been able to do what they wished to do. Harry is a Punjabi, who has got his own issues in life. Somewhere, the guide starts taking guidance... it happens to all of us. I don't know how memorable it will be, but I think people will identify with Harry and connect with this honest love story.
Imtiaz's love stories are contemporary and don't follow the conventional format.
He deals more with the unsaid emotions - what two people are going through due to the different circumstances they are in. This film has a strong love story, it doesn't fly off the hook. It's not completely in a zone that is poetic, but is not prose either. Imtiaz was clear that he wanted to give it some earthiness. The emotions are much more grounded.
You are known as the King of Romance and Imtiaz is known for his unconventional love stories. How did the twain meet?
The one thing I will tell you is that every filmmaker who wants to make a love story will want to make one with me, even if they have already made enough. I'm not being pompous, but somewhere down the line, whenever there is a love scene or a moment of romance, each of these free-thinking directors turns around and say, 'Sir, yeh aap hi se toh seekha hai. Aap batao kaise karoge?' As an actor, I'd never like to change the language. For me, it's encouraging and means two things - one, they have seen it and learnt it from me and so, I shouldn't do it the same way. And two, I should speak the language of the director and not make it like how I had done it in an earlier film. I'm not playing this young bubbly boy; I'm playing a guy who has seen life. I believe Harry could be the evolution of how Raj and Rahul would be. He's decent, has a sense of humour and some anger. Inherently, a lover is someone who demands love, he doesn't beg for it and respects the woman he is in love with. When Imtiaz narrated the story, we did a few rehearsals. He had Anushka in mind and had spoken to her. The marriage happened because I respect his language and he respects the love I have for a love story.
In most love stories, the leading lady takes centre stage. Is it the same with Anushka's Sejal?
It has to. In Om Shanti Om, though it was about reincarnation, the girl was central to the plot - the old heroine and the new girl. Same is the case with Kajol in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Deepika Padukone in Chennai Express. In this film, Anushka as Sejal is endearing, irritating and lovable, all at the same time. I've no inhibitions in saying this - she does play the most important character in the film. There is some real strength in her character. With Sejal, the love story moves forward.
You say Harry could be the evolution of Raj and Rahul. Do you think he could be the new ideal man that women would want in their lives?
I don't know about the image of a lover boy. I can be anything, Raj or Rahul. A part of me will always be like that. In this film, I essay a lover who has his own problems and weaknesses. Some women in my office seem to like Harry. He is a nice guy and I hope people like him or else the purpose would be lost. I don't know if he will replace Raj and Rahul, they are deeply embedded in people's minds. Maybe some experience of mine will reflect on screen. My personal experience has been beautiful, so it has been easy for me to become a beautiful lover on screen.
This entry was posted on October 4, 2009 at 12:14 pm, and is filed under Anushka Sharma, Dev Anand, Guide, Imtiaz Ali, Interviews, Jab Harry Met Sejal, Shah Rukh Khan, Shah Rukh Khan interview . Follow any responses to this post through RSS. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.