Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Part 6: A Chase

Oh boy!  Another great interesting section!  Although not as interesting as the next section, my favorite part of the film. (full index of Jab Harry Met Sejal coverage here)

This is an odd point to come back into the film.  And it’s an odd point for the characters too.  In the last section, after spending a day hunting around Amsterdam together and before leaving for Prague, Anushka followed Shahrukh when he went out that night, landing at a club.  Shahrukh recognized her there and tried to get her to go back to the hotel, and she reacted by asking if he found her attractive.  He sincerely denied attraction, not feeling for her the kind of sexual desire mixed with danger and domination that he felt for other women (as we saw in his brief interaction with a woman before Anushka arrived).  And Anushka was offended, not so much because he wasn’t interested, but because of the reason he wasn’t interested, he slotted her in as a certain “type” of woman, “nice sweet sister-type” and she didn’t want to be just that, the thing everyone saw her as, the thing she had spent her life trying to be and couldn’t.  What is almost equally interesting is what happens after.  Anushka leaves, and Shahrukh follows her, like he is pulled by a cord.  She gets mad, he grabs her hand and tries to take her back to the hotel, she pulls away, and he embraces her, holds her tight, until she calms down.  It’s caring, but not sexual.  He is holding her because he wants to take care of her, keep her safe.  Which is something she may never have experienced before (considering her fiance and family left her to go off on this journey with only a paid guide as guardian), and something he has never felt with a woman.  And then they ride the train together to Prague, her curled up asleep and him watching her.

 

And now, the interesting bit!  We pan up to see Anushka moving around inside her hotel room from outside the window.  She is rushing about, not lingering and enjoying anticipation of going out, but seemingly kind of moving fast so she doesn’t think too much or lose her nerve.  And over it we have Shahrukh speaking in English below to yet another friendly acquaintance, explaining that a tourist lost a ring, doesn’t know where, but his boss insists that they go all over looking for it.  It’s mostly just to set up that he is, once again, casual and friendly and cosmopolitan with everybody.  And it’s not very good dialogue, kind of awkward one-sided thing.  But it is a little interesting how he is bending the truth of the situation.  Saying that he is just following her around, just another tourist instead of the slightly deeper relationship we know they already have.  And that the boss is insisting that he escort her, rather than that she and her family are insisting that he travel with her.

And then Anushka comes down and immediately proves false all his cool claims about how he is just doing what the boss insists.  He sees her, and how she is dressed (red dress, leather jacket, high boots) and immediately asks where she is going, tells her she shouldn’t go out, this is a bad neighborhood.  And she snaps back “you want me to sign another indemnity bond?” and then turns and strides away.  And Shahrukh kind of shakes his head and trots along after her.  And she smiles as she senses him behind her.

(the bit 40 seconds in here)

Look!  Look how fast they have progressed!  The first time Shahrukh tried to warn her and she reacted by confidently pulling out an indemnity bond, sure it would solve the problem.  Now, she knows that it won’t really solve the problem, she is snapping it out sarcastically.  And Shahrukh knows to back off and just follow her lead (literally), that she is on her own journey here and she isn’t going to let him get in her way.

Oh, and also that little smile she gives and his head shake.  They are no longer pretending to themselves that he is just worried about losing his job and she just wants him to do what she is paying him for.  Despite what he just told his friend.  He is shaking his head at himself for not being able to stop following her, he knows he can’t stop.  And she is smiling because she knows he can’t stop either, just as she can’t stop following him.

And then, nightclub!  Strange nightclub!  Anushka comes in past a bouncer with an arm band, it’s all black leather and scary looking.  She seems slightly uncertain perhaps, but then glances back and checks that Shahrukh is still following her.  And only then takes her jacket off and poses at the bar and orders “something wicked”.  She wants an adventure, but only so long as Shahrukh is there.  Both to watch the show she is putting on for him, and to keep her safe.

And then creepy guy in like a throne chair behind her comes up and clearly feels up under her skirt before swinging around to stand next to her and tell her how pretty she is.  And kind of obviously rubs his fingers and sniffs them.  It’s super unpleasant.  And also kind of unbelievable, would he really do this to a woman without being sure she was into it?  This kind of serious S&M type person I mean?  And if the assumption is that everyone here is into this sort of thing, than wouldn’t the bouncers at the door have a way more stringent policy and not let Anushka in in the first place?

But what I like is that Shahrukh doesn’t show up to “rescue” her at this point.  This guy is rubbing her hair and right up in her face and Anushka is on her own.  And that’s a good thing, because she is okay on her own at this point.  She looks a little shocked but not sad or afraid.  And then the shock wears off and she is able to take care of herself, kicking him in the groin and then slamming her drink glass in his face hard enough that he topples backwards, falls on a glass table, and gets a big cut on his cheek.  The edit is a little choppy here, possibly just to cheat around the fake cut showing up on the cheek.  But I think what they were trying to show is that Anushka didn’t mean for it to get that bad.  She knocked him into the crowd, and then the person he fell against shoved him, and that’s when he fell into the table.  She really didn’t “need” need Shahrukh until chance took a hand.  She wasn’t just being an idiot going to a dangerous bar where she would inevitably end up in danger.  She was going to a slightly dangerous bar for an adventure, she didn’t like it (like Shahrukh warned her she wouldn’t), but she could take care of herself as needed.

Until the guy she hit turns out to be the head of some kind of strange Russian/Prague gang, and is permanently scarred thanks to the table which breaks his fall, which makes him angry enough to send his strange gang after her.  That is when Anushka calls out for Shahrukh.  And that is when he shows up, when she asks for his help, not before.  The perfect guy!  Holding back, there if she needs him, but letting her go her own way until then.

Image result for bahubali 2 devasena

(Yep, we want this guy)

And he “saves” her not with a big macho fight scene, but by distracting them all.  He bursts in, speaking Hindi, yelling at her, making a scene, so that the attackers are confused and not sure what to do next.  And also getting out his frustration, that he told her not to go out, this was a bad neighborhood, and she went anyway!  But mostly hiding his message for her, that he is telling her to “run!”  And, while pretending anger, throwing her jacket and purse at her so she is ready.  And then grabbing her hand and dragging her out.

Remember the first time he touched her?  Just the night before?  In a kind of similar situation, late at night leaving a club he wanted to guide her back to the hotel.  And she resisted.  This time, they grab hands and run together naturally.  Already, such progress!

And then run run run, chase chase chase.  On the way out they tell security there is an emergency inside and a bunch of guys run in.  Which is weird, where were they when a woman was being molested at the bar?  But also a sign of Shahrukh’s very specific set of skills, he knows exactly who to talk to and what to say in order to create a distraction in the bar while they flee.

Run run run through Prague, which is strangely deserted.  Odd moment when they are hiding and a Nosferatu looking guy pauses and shouts out for them and Anushka can’t stop herself from squealing in response, revealing their location.  And then Shahrukh drags her along again, down steps under a bridge and along a pier until he calls her back from where she has run ahead, so they can hide together.  And that’s when Anushka breaks down and says she is so sorry.

And Shahrukh’s reaction is “for what?”  Which is so perfect!  And he actually means it, because he drops into Punjabi (the sign of his real emotions peaking through), telling her that the guy deserved it, she should have done even more to him.  It’s just so great!  Anushka went to a dodgy bar when he told her not to, she got molested, beat up the guy, and then while they were on the run revealed their location.  And she is ready to be blamed for all of this and everything else, because she is always blamed for everything.  And instead, Shahrukh doesn’t even care.  He got out his frustrations in that speech at the bar, and it was just over her going to this bar when he told her she shouldn’t.  Everything after that, he forgives and doesn’t care about.  She can beat a guy up, she can scream when she gets scared, and obviously she shouldn’t feel bad for being molested.  Heck, she can do it even more!  He likes her like that, he likes her doing what she naturally feels like doing, he likes her like her.

Unlike everyone else in her life.  Which is what we learn in Anushka’s mini-breakdown here.  Her fiance hasn’t called her in 3 days, he says she doesn’t care, but she cares so much!  She is here, traveling through Europe, trying to find his ring, that’s how much she cares!

And boom!  Anushka’s backstory explained!  She is always trying to be the good daughter, the good fiancee, and is never appreciated.  And is used to not being appreciated, braced to apologize for everything always.  And determined to fix anything she can so she won’t have to apologize again.  She’s let herself experiment a little on this trip, because with Shahrukh she doesn’t feel like she has to be so perfect.  But now it is all coming crashing down on her, she made her own decisions and tried things for herself, and it all went wrong.  She could have ended it here, could have decided to just go home and play it safe for the rest of her life, but Shahrukh surprises her.  He doesn’t say “yes, it was your fault, you shouldn’t do such risky things”.  Instead, he says “You didn’t do anything wrong, you should have gone even farther”.  And that changes everything.

Okay, there is too much left of this sequence, I’m going to have to pause and pick up tomorrow with the second half of the chase and the song.

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17 thoughts on “Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Part 6: A Chase

  1. This “saving” scene reminds me of the way Imran prevents Sohail and Arbaaz from harassing the girl in the club scene in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. No fighting but using your head/confusion/distraction.

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    • Yes! And he does it way at the beginning of that movie too, to stop a fight in college. Man, I loved that movie. Thanks for reminding me.

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  2. Yes! Spot on! I didn’t pick up on the “feeling up” part with the creepy guy in the bar. Ugh. He is an example of how I think the bad guys in JHMS are representative “types” rather than real characters, intentionally. He is the far end of gross Western men who think they have a right to paw over and come on to women–especially South Asian women or other exoticized/fetishized groups–even though clearly not a match for or compatible with the particular woman in any way.

    Unclear to me if the cut on the guy’s cheek comes from her smashing the glass into him, or from falling into the table. And I loved “Nosferatu looking guy”. Do you think the casting person did that on purpose?

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    • I think the cut came from falling into the table, because I don’t think we see the glass break, she is just using it as a blunt instrument. Not that it makes a huge difference, I just like it that Anushka wasn’t “overreacting” exactly, the situation got out of control because of an accident, not her direct attack.

      I noticed the “feeling up” because Anushka wears such short dresses in this whole film and I was thinking the whole time “you better be careful how you stand of someone can look right up your skirt” And the way she was perched at the bar, with the gross guy seated behind her, he absolutely could look right up her skirt, and might have even seen that as an invitation. Which, again, Anushka was so unaware that she wasn’t even aware she was making. She was posing for Shahrukh at the end of the bar, not the guy sitting behind her.

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  3. After seeing Jab We Met, I have been mulling the role of non-lead characters in the two films. One of the criticisms I saw of JHMS was that there weren’t enough supporting roles, and I am starting to disagree. The story is about two people, and we are supposed to be engrossed in their story. I could imagine Imitiaz getting really bold and doing a film with just the two lovers. I actually found most of the rest of the cast distracting in JWM. This is the opposite of Dear Zindagi, where the ensemble feel of the movie was one of its strengths, and also not by accident!

    And yes, it’s a film about Sejal. Maybe he’s working towards a one-character film. I would also watch that.

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    • I’ve been thinking about JWM since watching this as well. It’s definitely a story just about the two people too. The other characters felt more vivid, perhaps because the were such recognizable character “types” to us, or were played by familiar actors. But they didn’t really have any more to do with the plot than the non-lead characters in this film. Only this time they were played by random European actors, so we didn’t think of them in the same way as, say, Dara Singh playing Kareena’s grandfather.

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  4. Anonymous, I join in ;.)
    Margaret, thanks a lot for those scene by scene!
    Yeah, Harry encourages her (without a second thought) and he really “likes her like her” (which is such an important ‘message’ in this movie…)
    Oh, I’m very sad that the movie was rejected…that even critics did not (want to) see the potential of this movie…in India, soooo many still don’t want to give the respect due to women 😦 .

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  5. joyomama, I hope many more will join this gorgeous blog…I post Margaret’s link whenever there is an occasion…and joined in after some time of only reading 🙂 I like to read you and the others, now I like to talk to/with you 🙂

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    • Claudia, Welcome! I hope you are ready to translate the German parts of the scene-by-scene for me! I have a German “son” — we hosted him as an exchange student when he was in high school, and now he is a professional basketball player in Germany! He’s from Oldenburg, but has played for teams all over the country; name is Jannik Freese.

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    • Thank you! I’ve been wanting to say “thank you” for a while, I can track how people were referred to my site, and I’ve been getting a lot of referrals thanks to you since Dear Zindagi at least.

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

  7. joyomama, I’ll do it now but you have to bear with my holey memory 😉

    The woman in red (!)…is his girlfriend from Frankfurt whom he left one day without a word owing her some money . So when she sees him, she lets him know her anger… “Shit” he says. “Yeah, shit”, she says…”bastard.” He says her name trying immediately to soothen her…She:” you remember my name! Did you imagine I won’t get you?!” Harry: “Let us make a deal. I’ll make up for it. I’ll be in Frankfurt soon.” – he sees Sejal coming and states that “it’s not a good moment now”…she repeats his last words and looks at Sejal guessing that he is with her. Harry: “nein, nein”… (ha! I love this scene!)

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