Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Part 3: Indemnity Bond!

Happy Thursday!  My 4th and final watch is tonight.  Which is usually the watch where I stop enjoying the film.  1st time, so-so, but there is so much to process I am overwhelmed.  2nd time, much better, I can relax and focus.  3rd time, usually as good as the 2nd time.  4th time, now I am starting to get bored because I know absolutely everything already.  And then 5th time is DVD/streaming a couple months later, and I am back in.  Anyway, good news is, now that I have seen it 3 times, my memories are pretty locked in and I can do the scene by scenes without struggling too much. (full JHMS index here)

So, depressed bad boy Shahrukh and bossy demanding good girl Anushka are stuck with each other, sort of.  Anushka’s father will only allow her to travel alone in Europe if Shahrukh (who he still thinks of as the good boy tour guide SRK pretends to be at work) is there with her.  Shahrukh can’t risk another female client complaining about him.  Oh, and this is all because after a month long tour with a family group, Anushka has discovered her engagement ring is missing and her fiance is furious with her, so she wants to stay back a day and look for it.

But, what I argued in my last post (and you can feel free to disagree with me), is that while Shahrukh and Anushka really really hate each other, to the point that they can’t even be bothered to hide their true selves from each other (he is rude and bitter, she is bossy and demanding), there is also something super deep between them that is kind of bubbling below.  Like, why DOES Anushka insist on him traveling with her?  Even when she no longer likes him?  Why is Shahrukh so resistant to travel with her?  I think Anushka is drawn to him without realizing it, and I think Shahrukh is drawn to her and kind of knows it but can’t admit it to himself because he knows she is much too young and immature to be one of his conquests.

Plus there’s a whole self-loathing thing.  Kriti S in the comments said that Imtiaz said somewhere an earlier draft had Shahrukh explicitly suicidal.  Which kind of fits with everything we see here.  Really, put in one shot of him looking at a bottle of sleeping pills and then setting them aside, and it would fit right in.  The world is cold and grey to him (as we see in “Safar”).  He can’t even really connect any more with his oldest friend (as we see in their conversation when his friend is arguing that he should just take the Anushka job and Shahrukh won’t even really look at him).  And he is self-sabotaging, constantly flirting with women until he loses jobs.  Classic depressed behavior.  And the depression and self-loathing keep spinning in a hideous cycle.  He hates himself, which makes him depressed, which makes him do bad things to get out of that depression, which makes him hate himself more, which makes him depressed, and so on and so on.  He doesn’t have to consciously acknowledge that there is something special about Anushka which makes him want to stay away from her, he just has to acknowledge that she is a “decent” girl, which makes him feel like he isn’t worthy to travel with her alone, because he feels like he isn’t worthy of anything any more.  And I was thinking “how odd to have a suicidally depressed hero!”  And then I remembered Imtiaz’s break out hit Jab We Met had a way more explicitly suicidal hero, and that movie was a huge family crowdpleaser.  He’s an odd director, is what I am saying.

And now here we are, getting ready for their 3rd big scene together.  Each scene so far has slightly advanced their relationship, peeled away a few more layers.  The initial conversation in the car revealed her ignorance, and his boredom with her ignorance.  The conversation in the restaurant is where they got really angry with each other, not just generally angry at a demanding tourist and a rude tour guide, but at the other person in particular, their personality and behavior and all of that.  And now is the scene where they are going to build on the previous two scenes, still not really liking each other, but feel able to be as honest as they know how, because of what they accidentally already revealed in anger.

I ended the last section by talking about how defensive and on alert Shahrukh is when he first arrives at her hotel room.  And how unaware Anushka is, casually inviting him in and telling him to shut the door.  It’s not that she is fearless, it’s that she doesn’t even know there is anything to fear.  She is so innocent that an incredibly sexual man alone with her in a hotel room doesn’t even register for her.

But it really really registers for Shahrukh!  Or rather, she really really registers for Shahrukh.  I argued in my last section that he is already attracted to her at this point, physically, in a way that he is trying to resist (thus the somewhat illogical reluctance to be her personal guide).  But whether or not he was attracted before, he definitely is now!  He gives a quick look at her bare legs when she first opens the door, and then can’t stop himself from sneaking glances at her legs, her back, her body in general through out this scene.  It’s not “creepy”, like, I don’t feel like he is enjoying the way he is looking at her, or delighting in sneaking these glances.  Every time he does it, he looks away quickly and forces himself to focus on her face again.  Part of the discomfort in his posture is from that, holding his neck stiff so as not to look where he shouldn’t.

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And Anushka is completely unaware of this.  Which is why he knows he shouldn’t look at her.  This is a perfect naive pure child type of woman.  So sheltered she doesn’t even think that a strange man shouldn’t be in her hotel room, or that dressing this way might arouse him.  It is wrong to be attracted to her this way, and would be super wrong to act on his attraction.

That is the undercurrent of this whole scene.  That Anushka thinks he is warning he will seduce her and is confident she won’t feel anything, and he is trying to warn her that he already is attracted to her, so much so that he isn’t sure he can trust himself alone with her.  She sees the world in simple black and white, she is engaged so obviously nothing complicated could ever occur between them, she just has to reassure him of that fact.

Shahrukh starts standing, giving an awkward speech, trying to convey that he is a bad man, she is not safe alone with him.  Anushka is seated, looking up at him, unconsciously sexy, but also with the poster of a small child looking at a wise adult.  She doesn’t get it, so finally he sits down, comes to her level, and leans forward and tries to explain more.  He is no longer just talking about his personality or anything like that, he is talking about his history, secrets of his life.

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He tells her that he is a great tour guide, “A1”, and the audience can confirm that from what we have already seen and will see later in the film.  He can speak a little of every language, always find a hotel, a bus, a train, a bathroom.  But he has a problem with women, he flirts with them (it’s not “flirt”, it’s a Hindi word that I am sure isn’t an exact translation, if someone can find it please tell me).  He has been fired 4 times, he can’t lose another job.  He should be running his own agency by now, but this problem is keeping him as just a tour guide.

Two things about this speech.  First, the way he is saying it.  He is being honest, not playing an act.  But he isn’t being emotionally honest.  This doesn’t have the kind of passion we see with him later.  Oh, and also not the kind of Hindi.  It’s easy to know when Harry is being himself, he drops in a lot more Punjabi type Hindi.  But this is nice clean Hindi that even I can sort of follow (except for that “flirt” word that I really want to know!).

This is still the surface level, but it can tell us (in the audience) something of what is happening under the surface.  His womanizing isn’t just a fun little thing, it’s an addiction, something that is damaging his life and making him miserable and yet he can’t stop it.  And he isn’t a young man on the way up, he is an old man on the way down, life has begun to pass him by.  His life was supposed to follow a pattern, get a cool exciting job in Europe (we get a few glimpses of his tour guide ID and the photo looks distinctly younger, he’s been at this at least 10 years), succeed, open his own agency.  But he is stopping himself from doing it for some reason, he doesn’t feel like he deserves that success, so he is flirting with the customers, getting caught up in this whole thing. Which isn’t how he says it to Anushka, he just says he doesn’t want to travel alone with her in case she complains.  But it is what it looks like to the audience who knows him better.  He is miserable and homesick and guilty for leaving home.  And therefore he doesn’t think he should be happy.  None of this is coming up in this scene yet, that’s why it isn’t totally honest, it’s just the surface symptoms of it all.

And Anushka’s reaction is just her surface reaction.  She listens to him, clarifies that it is only the womanizing that is his concern, and then briskly offers him tea or coffee or a cold drink.  Just like she has been taught by her proper upper middle-class upbringing.  And then sits down and pulls out a paper and confidently writes out an Indemnity Bond.  While Shahrukh sits on the other side of the room and tries to stop himself from looking at her bare legs and drinks his cold drink.

Can I just take a moment for how well this room is used?  It’s mostly white and plain, like a hotel room.  Which is good, it should be a completely neutral place.  It is technically Anushka’s, she is the one inviting Shahrukh in and telling him to close the door and offering snacks.  But after just a few minutes, he can feel comfortable pulling out a chair and leaning forward, and taking over it a bit himself.  She owns the space, but it isn’t an extension of herself, of her personality, the way it would be if it were really her home instead of just a hotel.

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And the furniture is used really well too.  We have a bed (or sofa?  Anyway, something more loungey), a table with a chair in the center of the room, and another desk off to the side where Anushka works.  Shahrukh starts standing, then sits at the table, he’s found a place to land in the room.  Anushka goes from young innocent sitting looking up at him on the sofa/bed, to professionally sitting properly at the desk.

Or is she professional?  The way she writes it out and then brings Shahrukh over to read, it feels partially professional (this is when she says she is a lawyer for the family business), but partially like a small child doing school work and proudly showing it off.  Especially when Shahrukh comes to read it and sits at the desk looking relaxed and calm, not perfectly postured and precise like she was.  He’s an adult, he doesn’t need all those trappings and formalities to do his work.

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What really makes him an adult is his response to her “indemnity bond”.  I was just saying in a comment how refreshing it was that, for once, the interaction isn’t “bad man learns from innocent wisdom”.  No, Anushka’s just straight up wrong!  She thinks a piece of paper is all she needs to protect herself.  Or, rather, that she can solve this whole situation and protect Shahrukh from his silly fears just with a piece of paper.

Although now that I think about it, she kind of does protect herself with this paper?  Just because it is so shockingly naive and reveals such a depth of ignorance/faith in Shahrukh, that this is what serves as her protection.  How could he ever even think about flirting with a woman who doesn’t think of rape, let alone of her own desires over-whelming her.  A woman who can’t imagine a man who wouldn’t stop when she says “no”.  Who she wouldn’t want to stop.  That’s her real protection, that Shahrukh can see her innocence in her confidence and he is ultimately a decent man and won’t damage that.

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Which is how the scene ends.  Shahrukh makes fun of her indemnity bond, but Anushka still insists on traveling alone with him.  He finally tells her that he warned her, and Anushka laughs and says “High hopes, eh?”  It’s such an irritating way she says it, like she is laughing at him from a mountain top because she is so much wiser than he is.  And Shahrukh just has to swallow it because he did his best to convince her she knows nothing, and it didn’t work.  The only other option would be to forcibly break through her innocence, and that he won’t do.

And then there’s the little tag.  Which does break through her innocence.  This moment made no sense to me on my first watch, but is perfect on a second.  Anushka is happily in her room, still protected from any outside influences.  Talking on skype with her “Didi” and painting her toenails, just like she would do if she were in her bedroom at home.  When she hears an angry sound from outside, a woman yelling.  She goes to the window and opens it and stands on the balcony.  And sees in the distance that the woman is yelling at Shahrukh, abusing him, and he is just taking it, saying “thank you” (I think) in Dutch while she hits him.  And then she walks away, and he walks back to the hotel whistling.  The background music softly starts up, Anushka stands on the balcony and her face changes slightly.  She looks down at a party boat in the river, then back out into the distance.

So, the simplistic version of this is “virginal woman curious about sex and stuff”.  She sees a passionate fight between Shahrukh and another woman, clearly related to sex.  She sees people flirting on a boat going by.  Just like Shahrukh warned, she is going to get “ruined” and seduced by him.

But that would be a terrible movie!  And I don’t think that is the movie we are getting here.  And the more I rewatch it, the less I think that.  I think what is happening is that the connection she feels with Shahrukh is suddenly born in this moment.  It’s not attraction, not yet.  It’s something deeper than that.  And it’s related to her innocence and ignorance.

A more experienced woman would be able to get past this kind of connection.  To convince herself it was just sex, or to recognize it and immediately cut off contact to protect herself.  But Anushka doesn’t know what this is inside of her all of a sudden, that’s what we are seeing in her face.  She knows that something shifted, that seeing Shahrukh at his lowest point, abused by another woman and accepting it (we see that in “Safar” too, he is thrown out and just gives a polite good-bye and walks away, no attempt to defend himself), seeming almost to thrive on it, this is as close as she has come so far to seeing the “real” Shahrukh.  And something inside of her is awakened by it.  Skipping aaaaalllllll the way to the end of the film, Shahrukh talks about his “void” (once again, what is the Hindi word?  That can’t be it), and how somehow she is the only one that can fill it, that can make him whole.  And I think that is what is happening here in this moment, and will continue to happen through out the film.  Anushka isn’t “attracted” to his bad boy unhappiness.  It’s deeper than that, she sees how low he is and something inside of her reacts, knows that she is the one who can fill his emptiness.  Not consciously, not yet, but it is starting right here in this moment.

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(Can I change from saying she is his Radha to saying she is his Parvati?  Because that feels more accurate.)


61 thoughts on “Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Part 3: Indemnity Bond!

  1. Pingback: Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Index | dontcallitbollywood

    • Do it! Yes! I am looking forward to seeing it for the first time without needing to rush, thank goodness the theater schedule changed today (because of VIP2 coming out) and I no longer have to run out at 5 to catch the 6 o’clock show.

      On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! And The Internet indicates that “lack” might possibly be a better description. Or shortage. Basically, “you complete me”. Or, “I was incomplete until I found you”.

      Now, go see it tonight and find out what the word is he uses to describe himself that is translated as “flirt”! You can tell your boss I gave you an assignment. Because it must be something really specific that indicates sex, but consensual sex. Anushka and Shahrukh both seem clear in this scene that she has nothing to fear so long as she keeps saying “no” to him.

      On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:28 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I will definitely tell him that 🙂
        Some of her dialogue was actually quite hard to follow, even for native hindi speakers. I don’t mean it as a diss on the Gujarati accent, I just think rerecording wasn’t that great on some of her lines.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Another thing I noticed in your review, especially in some of the screencaps and definitely during the movie itself, that his eyes are very red. It works for the film – that he is tired, he drinks, he is out at night at bars, they are on the road, they are both exhausted – but it kept reminding me of the eyedrops sequence in TWO of his recent movies. Is he having problems since his lasik? Or is this just a side-effect of his unique brand of “working myself to death”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lasik issues were totally the guess here once that Raees trailer hit and we realized there was going to be a second eye drops scene. Or it could be just old man dry eye.

      If it is lasik, serves him right for taking those red glasses away from us!

      On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:42 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • Why oh why did you take away the glasses from us Shah Rukh? Karan consistently said that he ALWAYS forgot where he put his glasses, and it is the one thing he spent a lot of time looking for.
        This inconvenience is not worth depriving us of the RED FRAMES. I think it has something to do with the older, mature look.

        Liked by 1 person

        • And it was also the only spot of color he allowed himself! SRK is so restrained in his clothing now, white shirt and jeans or black suit. Which looks great, I’m not complaining, but I liked that tiny bit of personality peaking through in the red glasses.

          On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:51 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

      • Another observation about the screencaps of this scene – a friend I saw the film told me she wanted to organize a sympathy march for the buttons on his white shirt. Some days, I cannot believe this is the same man with the bulky shirts and blazers from 1997, and who got shy when Karan tried to get him to wear tight jeans.

        Liked by 1 person

        • And that’s what makes it so sexy! A mature guy, comfortable in his own body, knows what looks good. Both for the character and for Shahrukh the actor.

          On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:55 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

  3. I like your point about the suicidal/depressed quality to Harry’s character. It only makes me want a very real, grounded movie from him where he plays someone who’s seriously morose, and sad and dark. (I will never forgive what Bhansali did with Devdas. There was so much scope there to let the actors’ and the emotional intensity to speak for itself. Instead he made it about shiny skirts and heavy jewelry.)


    • The real loss I feel is Kabhi Alveda Na Kehna. Which Karan says in his autobiography, it’s the one film he wants to remake, no songs or anything else, just the story. Shahrukh did a brilliant job playing this bitter unlikeable guy, but it kind of got lost in everything else going on.

      On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 1:48 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll get into it more in the next section, but my interpretation is that he uses the seduction of women as a way of dealing with his male identity issues. He is used and abused by the male tourists, and dismissed by many of the Europeans around him, but he can get back at them by winning over their women. What I am picturing from his description, and what we see later, is that he flirts with age appropriate experienced women who are usually in relationships with someone else, it’s the “stealing” part of it that he gets off on. And then I assume the complaints are from that too, the women who are mad that they broke up with their boyfriends or whatever for something that turned out to be nothing, or from the boyfriends/husbands/brothers/fathers who disapprove of the relationship. Or just from the women feeling dirty when they realize they were just a conquest.

        On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 3:03 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am way too emotionally invested in this movie. Trying to figure out if it’s because some of the feelings and experiences of both characters resonate with mine, or because Sejal and Harry are lightly sketched enough for us to be able to project onto them easily. Maybe both?

    I see Sejal really differently than you. Interesting because I think we see the movie’s themes and the journey of the characters pretty similarly. I really don’t think Sejal is sexually innocent or unaware of the effect she’s having on Harry, or that she’s breaking some rules inviting (ordering?) him into her hotel room. I see her as childish in some ways—but in most ways she’s a fully competent, intelligent, adult. Just an adult in new, freeing circumstances.

    I think Sejal is sheltered in that she is spoiled and has gotten her way a lot (“I can control anyone, anywhere, anytime”). I think she is conflicted. She is asserting control with the indemnity bond, but also indicating that she might be DTF if he’s interested. You are right that she isn’t considering that he might assault her, which is probably a combination of her being spoiled and sheltered, and the fact that she knows he is genuinely afraid of her complaining to his boss.

    I also think she’s sheltered in that Harry is the first guy to really rock her world. I think she stays because she has sensed a different person in herself, an opening to the world, and Harry is part of that world for her—even if she’s not fully admitting it. She does still see him as a bit of a servant early on. And getting her world rocked is scary and confusing as well as exciting. This fits with her interest watching him argue with the woman on the bridge. He might be the first person she ever wanted to be sexy for—and her inexperience with that definitely shows at the clubs.

    I agree with most of what you say about Harry’s reactions to her, his dislike/attraction/wariness, except I don’t think he sees her as a child. He sees her as annoying, yes, and later too good for him, too real for him (where real life means pain and regret to him).

    Looking forward to the next scenes!


    • Starting with a meta commentary, isn’t it amazing how some of us are completely emotionally invested and addicted to this film, and some aren’t? And it doesn’t seem to be just a Shahrukh Khan fan thing, I went with a friend on Tuesday who is totally a Shahrukh-o-file, and while she liked him in it, the movie as a whole felt boring and cheesy to her. Another friend, who isn’t a Shahrukh person but is a serious movie person, didn’t like it at all. There’s just something here that resonates with some people but not everybody.

      You’re right, we do see Sejal differently! I am missing her flashback (the Sejal version of “Safar”) in terms of making the characters feel balanced, but it might be better this way, because we can all choose how to see her. Ultimately, the important part is that we all agree that Shahrukh is something different than she has every experienced before in her somewhat limited life. And that Shahrukh thinks he isn’t “good enough” for her and is resisting his attraction because she isn’t the kind of woman he usually let’s himself desire.

      And there is a whole arche to the servant-to-husband thing! Probably one of those things I will deal with all at once in one post somewhere instead of each individual point as it comes up. Here’s a teaser, start thinking about how they progress from her constantly talking about paying him and him offering her free coffee, to her grabbing his wallet to pay the caterers at the wedding.

      On Thu, Aug 10, 2017 at 7:04 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • Hoping to see it again next week and will watch for that. Nice!

        Probably my interpretation of Sejal is colored by the fact that I can’t fathom any hetero or bi-sexual woman spending a month in Harry’s company and not getting the hots for him. 🙂


  5. Maybe, Imtiaz shot the scene with Sejal seeing the ring fallen out of her handbag in two different ways…stunned & hiding after some thinking if she should reveal it (like in the movie) or knowing & hiding it because it had been a pretext from the very beginning… I got the feeling that Sejal’s characterization was open to different interpretations…that she was the one to rule the movie’s timbre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could see that. Although there are a few moments, like when she starts crying over her fiance not calling her, that wouldn’t really make sense if this was all a plan.

      On Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 6:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  6. I think that this for example could fit in the other scenario as well as she could still be hurt by her fiancé’s rather indifferent reaction…would she really have a ‘plan’ in that other scenario instead of a kind of longing to stay with this tourist guide she got attracted to in a quite ambiguous way?
    Whatever 🙂 Imtiaz took another route which I very much like 🙂


    • That’s kind of what we get way at the end of the film, right? She finds the ring and hides it without really examining why. She could have done the same thing that first night in the hotel room after their conversation and had the same subconscious decision not to say anything, only for the next month/2 hours instead of 2 days/a few minutes.

      I just can’t believe that she was in a place to logically work through a whole plan of “I will lie about losing the ring so I can spend time alone in Europe”. It feels like her head was so messed up, she wouldn’t have been able to figure all that out about herself even.

      On Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  7. Oh, I simply imagined a “I want to be a little longer in that man’s (=Harry) company, I want to get to know him, but allone & not as a tourist…what can I do to give a reason to do that…oh yeah, losing my engagement ring would be serious enough to stay behind”…still a childlike action stirred by longing & curiosity. Okay, that is only a mind play…the ‘what if’…just thought that maybe something in her was already touched by him during the month in his ‘guiding’ company (her searching of the ring got cursory rather quickly whilst Harry took it seriously).

    In any way, the ring as a symbol was not meant to belong to Sejal & Rupen, they weren’t the Yin-Yang forming a circle…so she gave the ring back to Rupen (so that he hopefully could find a matching woman to him) and waited for Harry to come (there was this circle-form in the background of their meeting place…oh yes, all these circles in the movie…).


    • I fixed it for you. Don’t worry about stuff like that, I put sooooooooooooo many typos and miss-spelling in my own writing, I think people here won’t even notice anything in the comments.


  8. The first circle was shown when we are at the actual happening at the airport (shot through a circle like watching through a circular window)…before Harry isn’t associated with full circle-forms (although the very first picture is a turning windmill – somehow introducing the theme of the movie before introducing Harry)…now there constantly are circular forms in relation to Harry & Sejal (btw, the yin and the yang have a wave-form)


    • Claudia, good observation about circles. There is one perfect circular scene when Harry avowes his “problem” to Sejal.
      In exact six minutes of a most refined comedy he knocks at her door, claims to be a cheap womanizer, falls literally at her feet at a breath distance to praise the other guide virtues (3 minutes) She isn’t scared at all and besides offering refreshments writes and signs the indemnity bond that assures she will never complain of any “physical interaction” between them!
      Even with the cruel remark of “high hopes”, Harry has made his conquest; 6 minutes total when he exit the room! The full circle is complete: BUT it will invert the movement as Harry becomes the one in control, anytime anywhere, of Sejal blossoming desires.
      Great direction, and great acting.


  9. Yep—the ring—and Harry’s tatoo and bracelet…and I think, Sejal’s handbag has a circular bottom……and Gas, the gangster & illigal immigrant deals in rings…and…and…and (it’s – presumably – the most perfect form made by humans)


  10. Actually girls wearing short shorts and tshirts or racerback tops to sleep/at home is very common in bombay. Due to the sweltering weather thats how we always are. We change only when we go out.

    And there are egg-delivery guys, bread delivery guys, the laundry guys, any sort of electrician or worker who may visit the house and is *totally* used to the girls dressed like that, in fact they mostly don’t even see them as women, they are the boss, or the boss’ wife, or boss’ daughter. She is probably used to that so she sees nothing wrong in inviting SRK- who to her eyes- at that point- is a person who *works* for her father, into her personal space. She expects him to see her as the “malkin” (owner/ruler/employer/daughter of the employer) that she’s always seen as which is why his explanation of him seducing her makes her laugh “high hopes” (Such a typically bombay girl phrase by the way.

    Her cruelty to him even at a later stage “I am not the kind of girl who leaves her fiance for the tour guide” also comes from her classism, the way she’s learnt to draw invisible lines in society between us and them. There’s a lot of interplay of caste/class in their interactions. A lot.

    And she does find it intriguing that someone who she sees as “below” her might actually have an exciting life that she knows nothing of. That is a big part of the reason why she follows him, teases him about the girl who broke up with him etc.

    When he follows her back from the disco she threatens him that he had better leave her or she’s gonna create a mess for him, he knows she cant complain to her dad that he was behaving badly with her because then he will (like a faithful servant) have to tell her dad why he did that, and how she followed him to an “unsafe” place. So its kind of a pact between them that they will each forgive the other for what they did (she for following him and acting like a fool, he for touching her, holding her – the vase which even she knew despite her protestations that he has NO right to touch).

    They grow beyond these restrictions at a later stage but its all there in the beginning.


    • I also think that there is a lot of snobbism in her dealing with Harry at the beginning which dwindles gradually the more she matures, but actually it needs the separation from Harry and the return to her family and fiancé to admit to herself that quality class is more important than social class (a learning process which sets her free to enjoy being with Harry in his hometown).

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll get there eventually, but that last scene before they separated, I think she was ready to stay already. She went through the process of thinking about how happy she was there, considering the possibility of just staying, and confronting what that would all mean. And her first thought was that she had to go home. But then she gave Shahrukh a chance to ask her to stay and he didn’t, and that’s when she left. If he had asked her to stay then, I think she would have and been happy.

        However, then it wouldn’t have been Sejel’s story, you know? She had to go home and realize that it wasn’t just Shahrukh, it was everything, she wasn’t happy with the way she was living her life and she didn’t want a perfect marriage and all that came with it. I am so glad that for once the heroine broke the engagement just for herself, not because there was a guy waiting in the wings.


    • This is FASCINATING!!! And makes so much sense. I am so glad you commented now, before I get to the pre-interval scene that I have a really hard time figuring out. And i think you may have unlocked it for me.

      I think that kind of “just a servant” attitude is what might usually cause Shahrukh to turn on the charm, to regain his sense of pride by winning over the boss/boss’s wife/boss’s daughter who sees him as less than nothing. But I think maybe Anushka is so incredibly childish and innocent, that it turns into this odd combination of wanting to scare her and pull his usual tricks, but not being able to do it because it wouldn’t be right with someone that young. So he just has to put up with it and try not to snap back.

      But wow, you really opened up my ideas of Anushka! She’s got her own bad habits to overcome, and that pre-interval scene is both of them having one last burst of their usual selves, he being all intense and romantic and so on, and her retreating to snobbish confidence and making fun of the servant who thinks she really cares about him. I’d also say that Anushka’s bad habits, like Shahrukh’s, are something she retreats to because she is unhappy with her life. She is incredibly rude to him right at the start because she is in a panic about her fiance breaking the engagement. And she goes back to that bossy rudeness every time she feels like Shahrukh has rejected her


      • “But then she gave Shahrukh a chance to ask her to stay and he didn’t, and that’s when she left. If he had asked her to stay then, I think she would have and been happy.”

        Actually no. I wouldn’t lay all the blame on Harry’s doorstep.

        By then she knew him well enough to know that he would NEVER ask her to stay. And also she knew she needed to go away and figure this out for herself. She cannot let go of her practical side completely. She’s the sort of person who will want to inspect this whole thing that happened from a distance that makes her feel that she has some perspective and is taking the most sensible decision. FYI, the last decision of hers is her being sensible. It made sense to her that she shouldn’t be with Rupen. She can never be an emotional fool, thats always gonna be Harry in the relationship. You don’t change entire personalities because you fell in love 🙂

        Back to that scene, Harry insults her “practicalness” by giving her the exact reasons which she would have given (After having the wine and deciding to go away) but he does it at that moment, breaking the mood on purpose just to annoy her and make it more uncomfortable.


        • “I think that kind of “just a servant” attitude is what might usually cause Shahrukh to turn on the charm, to regain his sense of pride by winning over the boss/boss’s wife/boss’s daughter who sees him as less than nothing. But I think maybe Anushka is so incredibly childish and innocent, that it turns into this odd combination of wanting to scare her and pull his usual tricks, but not being able to do it because it wouldn’t be right with someone that young. So he just has to put up with it and try not to snap back.”

          Its not as simple as that.

          1. He thinks she’s not worth the trouble. He’s anyway come clean with her about the kind of person he *uncontrollably* is. And he finds her to be a “jhalli” boring person (he may have extrapolated that from staying with her family group for a month). He’s judged her.

          2. He ALSO does think of himself as just a servant. Which is why he keeps retreating to “ma’am” and that fake servile attitude. But he knows she knows it is all an act. So his real self keeps coming out especially when he’s frustrated.

          3. He seems to have mostly seduced bored housewives(easy conquests) before this on his trips, his bosses wives so to speak. She is very different to that cause she is kinda defacto his boss. She is not bored, she is not easy, she doesn’t think he’s god’s gift to mankind, she’s (seemingly) obsessed with her boyfriend, so he’s both intrigued (by the new things he knows about her) and repulsed (by the things he assumes about her).


        • I agree with most of this, but it feels like in my memory of the scene she really pushes Harry, asking him what he wants, and is heartbroken when he doesn’t respond. So yeah, I think she is ready to stay and hoping he will say something then. But like you said, she should have known he wouldn’t say anything.

          and absolutely she had to make the practical sensible decision about what was right for her before she was ready for Harry’s proposal.

          And definitely Shahrukh is using his empathy and ability to read people in how he responds, trying to break the mood and drive her away once and for all.

          On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 2:36 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          • hmmm, I didn’t see it that way. I see her as the typical girl wanting the guy to admit it first. That he likes her and wants her. I have zero doubts (as did Harry. I think 😛 ) that even if he had told her he wants her to stay back she would say no. didn’t I tell you that I have to go back and get married on Nov 25? 🙂

            She wanted that zing and that masti back in their repartee so it didn’t have to hurt so much.

            Of course I am extrapolating. But she doesn’t seem to be the sort to stay back and break up with her boyf and break the news to her parents without thinking about it for sometime quite seriously (and with no distracting SRK abs!!) before she did something like that.


          • And SRK refuses to give her that zing, that fun challenging conversation (that he did just before the interval). He’s like this hurts and you can’t laugh or dance your way out of it. You will see me in pain and I dont care if that makes it more difficult for you.

            I mean at that point he doesn’t need to tell her right? With his every gesture, reaction, affection he has effectively explained to her how very deeply he loves her.

            Funny, FYI that neither of them ever says I love you to each other. But that is a classic Imtiaz touch 🙂


          • What really struck me was when he turned her down the night before, said “not like this, not with you”. Which is about as close as he could come to saying “I want it another way with you”. But he doesn’t say it, and she doesn’t push it. They are both kind of afraid of taking that final step.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I am sure its understood, when he says not like this with you, that he would want their relationship to not be “consummated” in the shadow of this fake relationship she has. That he, the womanizer, the sex maniac (he says in the beginning that he keeps telling himself to not cross the line but before he knows it he’s lost control!) wants to have sex with her but not now, because well, because.

            And she of course understands that she is in fact “layak” but that he respects what they have so much, that HE is willing to wait.

            And she says it, if it was anyone else in your place they wouldn’t have done what you did. maybe you have the wrong image of yourself no?


    • Thanks very much. I was tired of all the negativity on Twitter and jumped at the chance of talking about it with people who seem a little more romantic (someone posted a link to one of these on twitter!).

      I am reallly enjoying myself here. Its weird but I identify with Harry a lot.

      Really like that even in the end when Mayank asks him about her, he’s like she was so silly, remember how stupid she was with that hand gesture, he even makes a baby sound “wanwanwan”. But then he also is like “why shouldn’t I tell her how I feel. I’ll tell her then let her go get married as she pleases”- thats him being a petulant baby.

      Like someone else said she is a woman-child, but I think he’s also a man-child. And thats how everyone should be no? Something childish should always be there in your nature, it makes you more good/pure/nice and also helps you take crazy risks based purely on faith/fun 🙂


    • Going back to my theory of the film, with her getting older and him getting younger, he turns into a total baby after she leaves whereas she apparently turns into the most grown up possible version of herself once she gets back home. If they had never reunited, I could imagine him spending the rest of his life whining and unhappy, and her spending the rest of her life so serious that she forgets to have fun.

      On Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 3:25 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sejal is legally an adult with an adult profession, lawyer. But in all other ways, she’s been kept as a child. She lives with her parents, is surrounded by family, and makes no decisions on her own. She’s always done what was expected of her without looking at what she may really want. I think losing the ring was the key that opened the lock on her own inner self. She’s curious for the first time, unable to understand a person like Harry who has been on his own for so many years. I don’t think Sejal has ever felt desire but knows there must be more than what she feels now. Harry is as much a question to her as she is an annoyance to him. Ahhhh, I think of this as the yin and yang. They don’t know yet that they are just what each other needs. Maybe they are both the locks and keys for each other to open up.


    • Really interesting point that the biggest difference between them is that he has been alone. Shahrukh has built himself in his own image, done whatever he wants without thinking of others, learned how to navigate the world without a safety net. And Anushka has no idea what that is like, can’t even imagine living like that. I am sure even Rupen and the other grown men in her life life at home and are constantly surrounded by family, there is no freedom or individuality.

      On Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 7:26 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Happy that you, too, got the idea of yin and yang (forming a circle).
        If you think she didn’t made a decision of her own till then, it’s even more understandable that she sticks to her (first) decision apparently made of her own in a hurry…in a panic…focussed just on getting the ring. Ah, the good forces of the Universe…what a nice plan to put these two together.


  12. Interestingly I didn’t see Harry’s fight with the Dutch woman as his being brought low. She was mad he wasn’t with her. She wanted him and he walked away. I saw him as powerful and experienced. And Sejal on that balcony was realizing she wanted some of that power. She wanted someone to want her but she could then walk away. And as he was still her tourguide to her, her servant, ultimately non-threatening, I think that was what inspired her to follow him to the club later. She desperately wants someone to flirt with her. And after the hotel conversation Harry knows she has never felt passion, and on that balcony she realizes she has never felt it either.


    • Oooo! And that fight is a bit of a foreshadowing of the final Harry-Segal fight. Only that time it was Segal who kept her emotions in while Shahrukh was lashing out uncontrollably. So she did get that moment of power and walking away and Harry felt what it was like to really feel something again and lose control.

      On Tue, Sep 28, 2021 at 2:04 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

        • 1. On first watch I actually didn’t notice the way he was looking at her but yes! He does wind up looking at her then stopping himself. I did notice that first time around that he has a very different nervous energy going on in that scene compared to the ones that came before. He has a hard time being still, his hands are shoved in his pockets, he is pacing around before finally taking a chair close to her and inching so close to her that he’s practically kneeling in front of her.

          2. I think he says “aksar lady clients ke saath pakda jaata hoon”. Literal translation for that would be “I often get caught with lady clients”. Pakadna refers to being caught. He does get close to mentioning sex in the conversation later but stops himself in time, and when Sejal uses the word herself to refer to what he does he panics and protests about not using that word in her presence.

          3. I think Sejal is not just innocent, but a very specific sheltered-Indian-city-girl kind of innocent. So she’s the kind who will have had time curfews for coming home and a convent education, whose closest brushes with what sex and sexual attraction could mean would come from maybe magazines and whispered giggly conversations with fellow teen friends. So she can pose like she knows enough, but Harry is experienced and intuitive enough to understand how deep her inexperience goes. And it SCARES him.

          4. A random thought came to me during this re-watch. I agree on the one hand that Sejal’s conversations with her sister kinda show how emotionally distant her own family seems towards her, because even the sister who is her point of contact from home seems to go through the motions.

          But another thought occurred to me that perhaps the presence of her sister is also a reminder of her possible future if she decides to simply follow her family’s plan. The sister is mentioned at least once or twice as suffering from insomnia and during her “I’m having my honeymoon with Harry” conversation, she points out to her older sister that she anyway has to face boredom after marriage like the sister did. So I feel like symbolically the sister is a sign that this life waiting for her back home would never make her happy. Contrast the boredom she knows the sister feels to the exuberance and sheer energy she shows in Butterfly!

          5. I loved the framing of the phone conversation Harry has with Mayank coz just as he ponders over her innocence and how excessively sheltered kids in India seem to be, Sejal comes out to her balcony at that exact moment to notice him leaving.

          6. Ooh yes the scene with the other woman is I think the first time Sejal sees him as the openly sexual being he’d described himself as (though over there he clearly shows more shame than virile confidence), and she’s fascinated because – as you said – there is a certain power to that kind of sex appeal and she’s NOW beginning to see it. Watching this sequence now there is *such* an expression of fascination and uncertainty on her face.

          7. They made an interesting choice of song for Harry to whistle on his way back. It’s “Yeh Shaam Mastani” and I’m confident they incorporated that on purpose. Look at the lyrics

          Yeh shaam mastani
          Madhosh kiye
          Mujhe dor koi kheeche
          Teri ore liye jaaye

          (Meaning; this lively evening is making me intoxicated, a string is pulling me towards you)

          (It’s implied that the string is invisible). Given what you said earlier about invisible cords, I think it makes sense to have him whistle that on the way back.

          8. I do believe Sejal’s attraction begins here. Harry partly confessing his sex addiction doesn’t do much except make her want to prove she is the strong capable girl everyone wants her to be. But her seeing him with a woman who wants him, then seeing a boat of tourists, some of whom are romancing. Those things, in combination, makes her want to explore that part of her she kept resolutely locked away. They pull her out of the view that Harry is a mere employee meant to do her bidding, and that he is a man who does possess sexual power that she can’t even adequately articulate.

          I believe that’s why she buys the spangly top and tries to go to the club. I feel like seeing Harry in a more sexual light unlocked something in her, and it cames her think more about her body.


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