Jab Harry Met Sejal Part 11: The DDLJ Moment Re-Invented

This is perhaps my least favorite part of the movie.  Not because it is boring or unbeautiful or anything, just because it feels like the part that fits least with the rest of it.  I can make it work (as I will explain below), but it isn’t quite the perfect fit with no struggle that the rest of the film is. (full index of Jab Harry Met Sejal posts here)

Previously, Anushka and Shahrukh were officially “just” a tour guide and his client.  But they became closer through starts and stops on the surface, fighting, talking, admitting things to each other.  He is angry about having to work for her when he was ready for time alone, she is frustrated and scared about being alone in Europe and looking for a lost ring that could end her engagement/life plan.  Both of them break through their usual barriers because of the unusual situation they find themselves in.  On a deeper level, there is something there that literally ties them to each other, they cannot be more than 20 feet apart without one of them getting up to follow the other, and the distance keeps getting smaller and smaller over the course of the film until they can’t be more than 4 feet away from each other without getting uncomfortable.  This whole thing just reached it’s peak the night before, they were in a dangerous stressful situation (chased by thugs after a bar brawl) and instinctively clung to each other, including her waking up in the middle of the night and going over to sleep curled up against him.  The next morning, they both have a bit of an emotional catharsis when he sings his Punjabi songs for her and she sings back the traditional good girl “Radha” songs she has been taught, until eventually they are singing and dancing together and the two songs merge.  Afterwards, he pulls away from her, returning to reality where he has no right to touch her.  And she rejects that, instead offering that the rest of the time they are traveling together, she will be his “girlfriend”.


Now, the SUPER SUPER important thing I talked about in my last post is that “girlfriend” means something very very specific to Anushka, and she knows that Shahrukh will understand exactly what that specific thing is.  “Girlfriend” doesn’t mean they are in love or making out or anything.  It just gives him permission to be slightly freer with her than a well-brought up protected woman like her would usually allow a man to be.

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(that’s why he looks so puzzled in this moment.  She is slightly breaking the “girlfriend” rules, this is more than holding hands or leaning on his shoulder, this is something else)

And that’s what we see in the beginning of the next scene.  They are riding the train and Shahrukh is resting his head on his hands and studying her face when she catches him at it and he immediately looks away.  And she says “no no, I am your girlfriend!  Look as much as you want”.  She poses for a moment, batting her eyelashes.  And then he rearranges himself so he is facing her directly, and she turns to face him, and they both kind of widen their eyes so they are obviously starring at each other, and we pull back outside the train window as they go through the countryside, and the love song starts.

See, this is the kind of thing Anushka means when saying “I am your girlfriend”.  Without that status, a man outside her family wouldn’t even be allowed to look at her face, especially “just” a tour guide.  When she catches him looking, I don’t think she sees that he is falling in love with her, I think she just sees that he is looking at her a fraction longer than acceptable, and jumps in to offer that he is allowed to look longer than that if he wishes.  And then turns it into play acting, batting her eyelashes in a pretense of being a sweet girl in love, while he still stares at her, actually falling in love.  And then finally they turn it into a game, no longer playacting in love (well, playacting on her part, real on his part), but just two people looking at each other.

See, what seems odd to me in this whole section is that she appears so unaware of him and what she is doing to him, and he has this swoony over the top love song already.  And love acting already.  It just doesn’t make sense!  There is no build to the film if he is already all in to this degree at this point.  But, see, there IS a build to the film.  A definite build of their relationship going from “there is some unspoken thing between us” to “there is now a spoken thing, a special bond” to “somehow without noticing it, you have become vital to my happiness” to “I am terrified of separating from you to the point of lying and denial”.  And you can’t just skip to the end with this song, with all the lyrics about “I keep you where I keep my faith”.

It’s an incredibly pretty song, my favorite from the film purely in terms of how it sounds (sound and visuals would be “Radha”), but it’s also very, well, what my friend called “cheesy”.  Just swooningly romantic, as are the visuals, Shahrukh studying her face as the world speeds by, then continuing to watch her once they reach the cafe in Budapest.  And finally, after she asks him to “act like a boyfriend”, the over the top way he kisses her forehead, spins her around, all of that is just too too much for this point in the film.  How can we have any emotional response to the “Yaadon Mein” song if he is already this in love pre-interval?

(Also, Arijit Singh here.  Who always sings his internal dialogue in this film, while other singers do the diegetic songs.  Interesting!)

But, we do have that response.  Post-interval, a lot of what we are seeing in this section here is kind of erased.  You could go straight from the last scene in Prague to “Beech Beech Mein” and the film might actually work better.  And that’s how it plays out for the audience, after “Beech Beech Mein”, this section never comes up again even by implication, their relationship kind of goes back to where it was before.  And yet I don’t feel like this section, particularly the song, is necessarily totally untrue to their characters.  So how do I reconcile that?

I think Shahrukh is playacting a little bit here too.  Anushka offered to be his girlfriend, but he never said aloud that he would try being her boyfriend.  She is there for him to touch, to look at, to talk with, in a way a woman like her would not usually allow.  But she is asking and expecting nothing from him necessarily.  And yet, without saying it, he is also trying out being her boyfriend.  He studies her face and thinks about her, trying to follow his reaction.  She offers to let him keep looking, and he lets his fantasy take flight, pretending that she really is his, that he really is that “cheesy” romantic guy that is his imaginary vision of what being a boyfriend is like (remember his reaction early on that Anushka’s boyfriend isn’t treating her well by leaving her to travel alone).

This is the only way I have found to make sense of the little dialogue interval in particular.  First, Shahrukh has this swoony romantic track playing in his mind, but we see that Anushka isn’t exactly swoony and romance fodder just then.  She is frowning and clomping around, and thinking about her fiance and looking for her ring and nothing else.  He is projecting this romance on to her, but it doesn’t really fit.  Not like it will in “Yaadon Main” when it doesn’t matter where they are or what is happening, they are so in love.

And then Anushka comes up and asks him to “be” her fiance, to come down the steps and greet her and help her remember what happened next, where he took her.  His response is “really?  this will help?”  she insists, so he does it.  In a very bland way, just runs down the steps and greets her and says “this way”.  The sound is also a little out of whack here, we can hear very clearly the tourists talking in the background.  The whole effect is very unromantic and unfantasy.  Anushka is tired and frustrated, Shahrukh is polite but not very interested, there are people around.  And then Anushka asks him to try again, to do it as though he were her fiance, after all she is his “girlfriend” now, it’s allowed.

And that’s when the music swells, he takes a moment at the top of the stairs before running down, kisses her forehead (surprising her), then spins her around until his arm is around her shoulder, gently leads her through the crowd, spins her again around a tray, and again onto the seat, maintaining eye contact only with her the whole time.  Until the end, faces barely touching, eye to eye, on a love seat.

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Okay, what’s up with all this?  Maybe you have a better explanation, but what I see is that he is trying on the fantasy, and then she breaks through it, making a request that jolts him back into tour guide/helpful friend mode.  Until she gives him permission to go back into the fantasy and he decides to really let loose, to feel what it would be like to be that innocent boy with the girlfriend who loves him.

I guess that would be the other difference from “Yaadon Mein”.  That time, there was no coming back.  This time, he is just testing the waters, he can go back to “tour guide” mode whenever he wants.  That’s why the talking sequence is in the middle, to show how he can fall in and out of reality (complete with loud American tourists), unlike the later love songs when there will be no stopping them.

But then there’s the bit after the song ends.  Which is just STUPID!!!  I’ve been struggling and struggling with it, and no matter how I turn it, it is a break from the characters for the sake of an interval cliffhanger that is then forgotten.

The first part is okay.  Anushka takes a deep breath and says sincerely, still with her face close to Shahrukh’s, “I wish you would give lessons!  I would be set for life if [fiance] acted like this.”  Shahrukh smiles kind of ruefully, pulling himself out of his fantasy, and says “sure!  Get him up on facetime now, I will do it”.  Anushka laughs it off and stands up, and then while she is standing Shahrukh turns and kind of stretches up to be close to her face again and softly sings “Dhak Dhak Karna Lage” and then adds “Your lips are softening, your breath is faster, it is pleasing.”  The subtitles didn’t quite catch it, but he is doing this little alliteration thing with the “s” sound, which is kind of hypnotic and also makes you focus on small movements of his mouth.  Yeah, he is a very experienced seducer.  He probably worked that line out a long time ago.  And it works perfectly on Anushka, she is caught in his gaze.  And he knows it and kind of sighs and says “Now the [Raula] starts”.  And Anushka still holds his gaze and says softly “So?”

(This is also a cool little moment of their age difference.  Beta came out in 1992.  Shahrukh is supposed to be in his late 30s, he would have watched this song over and over as a teenager.  But Anushka looks blank, it’s possible she missed it entirely, growing up in the 90s)

And he rejects her.  Stands and turns away, and then turns back and says something that I can’t remember (Grrr!). And Anushka laughs and says “Don’t worry!  I am selfish.  I may say I am your girlfriend and play sweet and nice, but in the end, I am going to get married.  You can come to the wedding, November 25, Bombay.  Oh, but you won’t, right?  You will be too sad?”  Shahrukh kind of smiles ruefully and just takes it, then says sincerely “someday you will have to leave.  Promise me you will put your ring on your finger and go without looking back”.  Anushka laughs again and says “High hopes, eh?  Don’t worry, I am not the type to fall for a tour guide.”  Shahrukh has had enough and says “We’ll see.”  She echoes it “we’ll see!”  And then as she starts to crawl on the floor looking and “Beech Beech Mein” starts in the background, Shahrukh starts to walk away and then turns back and bends down to meet her eyes since she is on the floor and says “Game on?” and she says “Game on!”  And the song rises, and Interval!

At least, that’s how I remember it.  This section is really hard to remember, partly because I am watching through my fingers thinking “why are you both being so horrible????” and partly because, well, it just doesn’t make sense!

I think, after many watches, the problem is that it goes on too long and goes to far.  The initial moments are perfect.  Anushka translating her attraction to Shahrukh in that moment to “I wish my fiance were like you” because she is still too scared to think the obvious thought, “I wish I didn’t have to be with my fiance and could be with you instead”.  And Shahrukh kind of smiles at that, because he sees through to the thing she really means, but is also kind of sad that she is still too innocent to see through it.  Both because it means she isn’t openly coming on to him, and because it means she is still too innocent for him to justify coming on to her himself.

The follow up, that’s because he is giving in for just a second to his desires, acknowledging what he is feeling instead of holding it in.  And it works, immediately and completely.  Anushka has no protections against him, the smallest taste of seduction and she is completely won over, falling into his eyes and saying “so?” in a kind of breathless hypnotized why when he indicates that they shouldn’t do this.

So far so good.  Feels realistic to their characters, Shahrukh has been playing with the boyfriend fantasy and is going slightly too far with it, Anushka is unprotected and there for his taking if he wants her.  Which is why he backs off, because it would be wrong to take advantage.  And then Anushka gets offended and lashes out.  Again, all of this is fine.  She feels rejected and disappointed and so retreats to her confident rich girl persona, attacking him and laughing at him like a servant boy.

It’s when it keeps going that I feel like this isn’t right.  Shahrukh is playing this as sincere and emotional, and Anushka is playing it as needlessly cruel.  He is too far advanced, and she is too far regressed.  Most of the film is magical in how it shows them slowly moving forward until they meet in the middle.  They are both unpleasant terrible people at the beginning, in totally different ways.  And then she gets less spoiled and he gets less bitter, and it works out.  But here, he is being super in love and noble and perfect, warning her away and trying to make her promise to leave without looking back.  And she is being incredibly childish and thoughtless, making fun of the “girlfriend” idea that has already come to mean so much to both of them, making fun of him.  Why?


Well, I know why.  It’s because the interval requirement caused fake drama.  The normal thing, what they really wanted to convey in this scene, is that moment of rejection followed by retreat on both their parts.  That Anushka is still too immature and too much in denial to say “yes, you are right, I am falling for you and in danger of forgetting my fiance.”  She will retreat to “no no, it could never happen, I love him and I am getting married”, or else we can’t explain her still traveling with Shahrukh in the second half when she should know better than to be alone with him.  We, the audience, need to have her denial confirmed in order to believe the rest of it.  And Shahrukh needs to retreat back to his nobility, to show the audience why he is resisting his obvious power over her, that he is sincerely afraid of ruining her life.  Not because she will stay with him (he isn’t there yet), but because she will break her engagement and be unhappy with herself.

All of this, fine so far.  What ruins it is the need to end on this challenge, like “hardy-har-har little lady, I will seduce you!” and “oh no no no sir, I shall protect my virtue!”  Totally not true to these characters!  Just a way to suck is in so we will come back after the interval.  Like they don’t trust us to want to see the end of the story just because we care about these people.

The natural interval point is after “Radha” when Anushka proposes being his girlfriend.  That’s a natural turning point in their relationship that will bring us back in.  And then we can open with the way things shift back slightly when they get back to the hotel, then a brief conversation and “Hawayen” to tell us the interval is officially over, then the lower key version of their confrontation as the first “real” scene of the second half, and then “Beech Beech Mein”.  But, that doesn’t fall exactly half way through the movie, so they had to dredge up some other drama.

What actually ruins it isn’t the challenge itself, but the work they have to put in to get there.  Anushka has to be really cruel and awful and tip over to that rich brat type that Shahrukh would want to cut down to size in order for him to accept the challenge.  And Anushka also has to go back to being completely unaware of her attraction to Shahrukh, all that work that was put in to carefully build her subconscious awareness just thrown away, in order to claim that she can hold out against him.

And from the other side, Shahrukh has to be way way too tormented before he can bring himself to admit his feelings enough to trigger Anushka’s challenge.  And that means he has to be like totally in love, and aware of being in love, much sooner than he should be.  At this point, he should still be able to kind of laugh her off, like he does in the first moments of the scene when he notices her attraction.  He shouldn’t be all “NO!  I mustn’t![hand to forehead]” kind of acting.

The only way this scene kind of works for me is if we jump to the end.  Shahrukh is saying he can’t go to Anushka’s wedding and ask her not to get married, because she asked him 3 times and he turned her down.  And I’ve been puzzling over those 3 times.  There’s right before she leaves, she asks him what he wants.  There’s the Portugal scene, when she says “let the [raula] happen” and then he turns away.  There’s the moment in the first club when she asks if he finds her sexy.  But what if one of those 3 times is this moment?  If Shahrukh recognized that her pushing about if he would be too sad to come to her wedding, telling him that she is going to marry her fiance and be happy, she isn’t foolish enough to run off with a tour guide, was actually an invitation.  She wanted him to say “yes, I will be sad.  no, don’t marry him.  Yes, run away with me.”  It would turn her speech from mean to an invitation in a strange way, and his tormented reaction from “you’re torturing me!” to “I am forcing myself not to respond”.  I don’t know if that is the right way, but it is an interesting way to read this scene.

Oh, and one final thing, this is the scene that for me most clearly evokes the shadow of DDLJ.  This is DDLJ with an aware Kajol and Shahrukh.  A Kajol who is needling Shahrukh with her purity, with her impossibility for him.  And a Shahrukh who is being forced to say his feelings clearly, not to leave it with a wordless headshake that no, he won’t be at her wedding.  And Imtiaz must have known he was doing it, I mean, having her invite him to the wedding and then say “oh, you won’t be able to come?  too sad?”, it’s a little commentary on that classic moment.


70 thoughts on “Jab Harry Met Sejal Part 11: The DDLJ Moment Re-Invented

  1. Didn’t Imitaz do the same thing around the interval in Jab We Met? The whole first half is “closer, closer, closer, whoops someone’s in love” and then a big step back? I didn’t like that, either. At this point I think we can drop the Sejal as innocent, too. The romantic/seductive steps scene made her aware of her own feelings, even if she has no idea what to do with them. I wonder if she also has no reason to believe that Harry is being sincere. We believe him, because he’s Shah Rukh to us and will always be sincere. He’ll even apologize sincerely before tipping us off the roof! But he is Harry, and she doesn’t know if that was an act or not, even though she likes it. (A lot) His well-practiced line afterwards may not be specifically familiar, but it’s enough to make her wary in a way she has not been before, and she covers it up with her bossy girl act. Frankly, I don’t think all the pices fall together for her until the ring falls out of her pocketbook.

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    • Okay, I can see her not being sure that SRK is sincere, which makes her less cruel in her response, if she thinks he is just giving her a line. Although it’s still a bit over the top. I could see the pieces beginning to fall into place for her with “Beech Beech Main” when they aren’t sexy together, they are just happy, and she can trust that he likes her just for herself, not for seduction. And then meeting the German woman and defeating her kind of lays to rest some of the mystery about him. Okay, I can make it work sort of. But i still think it was a stupid interval cliffhanger scene.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes the interval structure works, and here is really doesn’t. The theaters I go to don’t even break at the interval, so it doesn’t work for my needs, either! Maybe they need to lose the interval and just go for a shorter movie?

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        • The Indian theaters really insist on the interval, because snack sales! and the audience is used to it i think, because snacks! I always blame the writer/director when the interval isn’t used correctly. It’s not hard, you just build your film around it right from the beginning, and then it doesn’t feel like an interruption. This time, it feels like a last minute “oh wait, we need an interval point! Oh well, I guess we can squeeze something in somewhere”. There were so many other natural cliffhangers, the girlfriend proposal scene, or the moment a little later than this when they are leaving on the train and look at each other after Anushka says “don’t worry, once we find the ring i am gone”. So frustrating that they just picked a random point halfway through the film instead!

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    • A little different vue on this scene
      Sejal asks Harry to come down the stairs and lead her to the cafeteria acting like a real boyfriend; “feeling it” she commands! Harry knows all to well how he feels about her after Radha, and the gazing game on the train.
      He is no more the scruffy sexy seducer of days ago. On top of the stairs, neat and confident he raises his chest and head and makes the riskiest choice; whith a lovely ecstatic adolescent smile Harinder, the farm boy takes Harry’s place and his face glows seeing Sejal (what subtle acting of Shahrukh in this metamorphosis) With a tender respectful loving kiss on her forehead he embraces again his culture and recovers in Sejal his lost homeland.
      Then with floating moves he opens their way to the cafe, his sustained gaze on her builds step by step a bridge to bring her to him; but Sejal, the diamond girl, although breathless, spoils the moment erasing her Radha experience. She wants to take home these feelings actually “buying” them from Harry: “lets give Rupen classes on love making”
      When Harry faces her with their falling in love she realizes how this can shatter her adamant life. Then she reverts to the spoiled rich girl and becomes mean and cruel. “Come to my marriage and see what a proper couple we are, and this is for your daring high hopes”
      This breaks Harinder heart but Harry the defying survivor assumes: “Sweetie you don’t know me; let’s see who has high hopes” and their bet starts.
      I think this poignant scene is perfect before an interval; one needs take a breath before start following again the perilous search for the ring because, as you so well said there is a real regression in Sejal. Again Harry must patiently take her by the hand an follow her useless search until the moment she becoms a fully awakened woman at the view of Harry’s blood flowing for her.
      Yes; now she can find the ring!

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      • What a wonderful interpretation! I love the idea of Harinder and Harry existing together. And Harry, in some ways, “protecting” Harinder as needed. I wish there was a similar naming option for Sejal, but falling back on Sejal 1 and Sejal 2, I think she also has two personalities. For Harry, it is rediscovering a person he was in the past. But for Sejal it is leaving behind the past. Sejal 1 is what I called the “fresh from the factory” version, spoiled and unaware and uncaring, what she has been forced to be by the expectations of her family around her. Stunted, her real personality left in her argumentative attitude and independence that is constantly criticized by her family. But Harry brings for Sejal 2, the woman she is meant to be, still “childish” as her family would consider her (her joy in “Raula” for instance), but mature and able to speak her own mind and make her own decisions and stick with them.

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        • Wonderful idea! What about a game looking for Sejal 1 and 2?
          Sejal 1- irritant arrogant spoiled girl blackmailing Harry to keep him at her service.
          Sejal 2- disguised in Sejal 1; the woman that spotted sexy scruffy bitter Harry and won’t let him go until he delivers her from her golden cocoon.
          Sejal 1- imposing her will on the Punjabi “servant” throwing herself in dangers to be rescued, uncaring, as you say, for his safety.
          Sejal 2 – having an exhilarating glimpse of life as Radha with her Krishna for life.
          Sejal 1 – in silly family chats showing what a well behaved modern woman she is
          Sejal 2 – in Budapest drawing her waves in Harry’s sneakers; literally at his feet because he lS for her.
          Sejal 1 – leaving Harry because HE doesn’t want her humiliation
          Sejal 2 – leaving poor sweet Rupen to avoid humiliating HIM by some day cheating on him.
          Then one night sitting in the Garden of Eden we find
          “Pure Water Waves”
          The name that from the beginning she wanted to spell.
          Waiting for her man, no rings attached!
          A real modern woman.
          LOVE THIS FILM!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes! Your point about Sejal 2 being disgusted by Sejal 1 is spot on. Because we have all been disgusted by ourselves in those sudden flashes, and yet unable to fully change our behavior. Sejal 2 is trying to come into being, but is constantly hampered by Sejal 1. She goes out at night in Prague wanting to be someone different, to connect with the world, but then can only react to Harry’s concern by snapping at him, reverting to Sejal 1 against her will.

            And I had never caught before the significance of her drawing the waves on Harry’s shoes. I saw it from his side, that he was allowing her to put her stamp on him, but I missed that she is literally indicating a wish to live at his feet.

            On Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 3:24 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


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  2. I like this DDLJ connection. I never thought of it! Wow. Imtiaz you genius.

    As for Sejal playing catch-up to Harry’s already extravagant emotions, she is the more practical one, she is the one who wants all the fun while being clear that its gonna end, and he is the one who warns that the fun itself should not happen or its gonna end up a mess (raula!). He is the extroverted person who actually feels every single thing happening to him to an extreme degree (which is why the way people treat him in his tour guide persona annoys him so much, Mayank for example sees it as just a job), while she is the out-of-touch with her feelings introvert trying to play act at being fun (that is most upper middle-class Indians BTW) who maybe doesn’t want to care who gets hurt as long as she’s having a good time. I really wanted to hate her but Imtiaz does a beautiful job of humanizing a woman like her, I have seen many like them all my life and I always thought they were spoilt brats with no inner life or meaning and no respect for anyone outside their immediate circle/tribe.

    In a sense you can say this is the reverse Tamasha, she is making all the rules (lets play act like I am your girlfriend) where in that one Ved says lets play act like we are completely different people and the more mellow, more emotional, more spiritual Tara/Harry just play along because they like this person and they want that person to be happy and seeing them smile makes their universe a better place.

    There’s a scene where Tara asks Ved if she can hug him and she closes her eyes, it means so much to her, but Ved immediately breaks the moment and says, oh we can do this too, but don’t worry, I wont cross the line, he is showing off about the control he has while he knows she’s losing it. Very similar to the way Sejal enjoys what Harry does but shows off to him that she is in control, but because of their class difference she can be extra cruel to him, reminding him of his place, that is all.

    Actually even Ved, come to think of it is very aware of his class, he asks very middle class(nosey, curious, aunty type) questions to Tara when he first visits her home. “Are there 4 apartments like this in this building?” and later screams at her, “You could have told me that I am not of your “level” that I am not of your class! Not good enough for the likes of you”

    Even there Tara has been thinking of him for 4 years unable to get him out of her mind, she has accepted it, that this is how she is going to feel now, but she also pursues him when the time comes and tells him how she feels. Very much like Harry taking that decision and flying to India 🙂

    The set way of behaving like a girlfriend, like its a job, is very similar to the way Ved treats his job and later the way he “dates” Tara, oh, here are flowers, because I had to get them, here let me say I love you very mechanically while on the way to a movie, cause thats soooo romantic….let me propose marriage to you in a restaurant with all our friends “romantic proposal”…

    Its Harry and Tara’s patience and extravagant love and *expectations* from them that make Sejal and Ved become more in touch with the feelings they deny, with the emotions they have kept frozen cause that is what parents teach us out here. Be practical. Emotions are for losers etc.

    I saw it again last night, and this is what came across to me. That she is more mechanized, even for example in her search for Rupen’s ring, she is not emotionally attached to him or to his feelings for the ring, she does it because she doesn’t want him to crib about it the rest of her life (she says this to her sister on the phone!).

    She is a child acting at being an adult, just like Ved. She has to learn that to be truly an adult you have to grapple with a lot of raula (mess!) 🙂

    PS: The line you don’t remember is him saying “Look, there is going to come a time when you have to leave, just do that then ok?” And she’s like “oh you’re thinking I wont go, I’ll stay here…”

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      • Thank you for this, P! I really think this was Imtiaz’s attempt to gender flip his “man-child” themes, and Sejal’s character makes so much sense as a “woman-child”. He really gets how that journey, from woman-child to adult woman who knows what she wants and is prepared to take risks for it, would be different for an Indian woman than for a man. I’m kind of in awe of his grasp of hetero-romances from men’s and women’s perspective. I think Shah Rukh has been saying that in the promotional interviews too.

        And, BTW, I really liked Tamasha. 🙂

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        • I am quite amazed at Imtiaz too. He just GETS women like no other director since Yash Chopra (and I am a HUGE Yash Chopra fan so thats saying a lot a lot a lot!!) and I saw SRK make that comparision too- though in a different context, and of course he gets men too, especially Indian men he could not have written and made Ved and Mahabir and for that matter Harry if he didn’t know them!…He’s a very pure creature and I am glad he exists in this industry though everyone seems to want to stamp him out 😦

          Liked by 2 people

          • Yash Chopra is such an amazing director of women! Adi is too, but not as consistently and of course doesn’t have as long of a filmography to show it.

            I am still made about the way Imtiaz fell down on the job and made Dips in Tamasha so less interesting than Ranbir’s character, but then there’s Highway and all the way back to Ayesha in Socha Na Tha, all these variations on the good Indian girl who is so much more than that.

            On Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 12:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • I am gonna have to disagree with you on Adi. I think his female characters are not a patch on Yashji or on Imti.

            And I adored Tara! I identify with her soooooo much! I think we got just enough backstory about her to make the story about Ved. Just like JHMS was all about Sejal!


          • I’m just super in love with what Adi did with Kajol in DDLJ. Although that was also with his father’s close supervision, so maybe that’s where it came from.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, that was hugely under papa’s influence. I loved her as a kid but I always found her to be not supportive enough of Raj.


          • If you ever get bored and feel the need for another even more detailed scene by scene, check out my DDLJ posts. When I started doing screenshots and line by line discussions, I found a lot of really interesting things happening with Kajol’s character.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I didn’t see those! But thank you! Will see it all! I don’t watch Salman Khan movies on principle these days but I would still be interested to read what you have to say on Sultan 🙂


    • You have almost made me like Tamasha. Almost. I think the class stuff is really interesting, and the generational stuff in Ranbir’s family that is just hinted at (his grandfather started a business, his father ran and expanded it, but Ranbir doesn’t really have a place). However, the “ooooo, I am such a sensitive artist!” stuff just made me want to shake him and yell “grow up!!!!!” Well, both Ranbir’s character and Imtiaz the director.

      But yes to Sejal’s mechanical search! This is why I think she likes disco. She likes knowing what she is supposed to do, having rules to follow. Because inside, she is very insecure. She knows the “rules” of being a good girlfriend for Rupen and latter for Harry. She knows the “rules” of looking for the ring. She wants to be more than that (because everyone does), but she is afraid that she will be rejected if she steps out of line. Which we see is true in the case of her family and her fiance. But Shahrukh has to convince her that he isn’t just putting up with her because she is a client, he really does like her, it’s okay to break free with him. That’s I think why Beech Beech Main is so important, it’s not like anything big happens during it, but it is both of them loosening up and losing their roles and coming to realize they can be happy and like each other even when they aren’t playing a role.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I adore Beech Beech mein! and I love your explanation for it! Its the song that got hoots and screams from the audience, I am hearing that after a long time for an SRK film 🙂

        oh I dont expect anyone who doesn’t know ordinary Indian men to get Tamasha, so I am not surprised by your dislike! hehe.

        People like Ved they have grown up with PTSD, intergenerational PTSD you could say. His grandfather ran across a newly formed border, they are essentially what in any other country would be called refugees 😦 ;( and they now have no hometown, no ancestral place they can return to, they form completely new lives, in their case in shimla, his grandfather is said to have worked in a lumberyard to make ends meet and then started his own business, its possible that they were very rich back in Pakistan and had to leave everything to run away with the bare essentials. So that pain and fear of losing everything drives them all, which is why his father keeps referencing it.

        Tara on the other hand has grown up in a relatively safe, rich family that has probably had that tea estate and business for generations. She could never (nor could you or anyone else) understand the ramifications of the kind of decision Ved would have to take. And of course he’s built it up in his head, but then that’s par for the course in such a situation.

        The thing with him is that he REFUSES to be a sensitive artist, he wants to be a mechanized robot doing as is OWED to his family and the legacy of his ancestors horror. He doesn’t give himself a chance to be a sensitive artist.

        His outburst when Tara rejects him and then advises him is similar (though much more long winded cause they have reached and gone through a longer journey) to Sejal telling Harry to keep his advice to himself when all he’s telling her is how to live with the decision she’s taken. :/

        sorry, dont want to turn it into a tamasha thread but yeah 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is so interesting! I tend to read Indian films through my own cultural lens (don’t we all!) and when the setting is Europe and they are wearing western clothes, I think I am less likely to notice cultural differences like the ones you describe. Thank you for the insight!

      Liked by 2 people

      • oh thanks! 🙂 I can understand about cultural lens. Like when I first saw My Best Friend’s Wedding my greatest upset was she didn’t get the guy? And the back up guy is gay?! I cried for days over her fate. I had never seen something like that and it was so upsetting. hehe 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. This section works for me because I see their falling in love (and lust) as being more in sync with each other. And it is happening under two pretexts now: her looking for the ring, and now Harry and Sejal being “boyfriend/girlfriend” in a strictly defined way. On the train, she is teasing him, being playful, but also exploring and loving her ability to get him to react–just learned in Radha. He is, as you say, noticing his reactions to her, puzzled and concerned (for her more than for him as you say), but also can’t help going with it.

    In the courtyard, I think Sejal’s flapping around looking for the ring, and the loud tourists, is just to dunk us, the viewers, in ice water before plunging us all the way into the warm romantic bath of the rest of Hawayein. Harry just follows his impulses–I think the whole sequence is a seduction, not just after they are on the bench. Maybe he’s getting a little impatient with the “looking for the ring” pretext–after all, he already saw through it at the cheese place in Amsterdam.

    I have some thoughts about Yadoon Mein too, and how it’s purpose is different than Hawayein, but I’ll wait till you get there in your scene by scene. Which I’m loving so much

    Their interactions on the bench, from Sejal’s breathless, “Yeah.”, to Harry’s “Your lips are softening, it’s very pleasing”, are by far the sexiest moments in the movie for me. With the end and the hotel room in Lisbon being close seconds, of course! Thanks for pointing out the alliteration–will look for that on the re-watch.

    And FINALLY on the 3rd re-watch with joyomama, the “challenge” just before the interval made sense to me. Sejal irritates Harry by going back to the “looking for the ring” pretext, so he does the, “all hell will break loose” thing. She is unimpressed, irritating him further. So, when he stands up from the bench, leads her over to the wall and starts his “whatever happens between us, you must go” speech, he has stopped being real with her, only this time, instead of snapping into “tour guide” mode, he’s snapping into “serial seducer” mode. And that really infuriates Sejal–so she hurts him every way she can think of. And it really does sting him.

    This is one of the things I love sooooooo much about this movie. Harry is so worried about Sejal the whole time, but in many ways she’s the stronger person. She’s not lying when she says she is selfish and manipulative (“I can control, boss. Anyone, anywhere, anytime.”). I think Sejal has much more power to hurt Harry than vice versa from early on. Good thing, as you say, that his happiness and well-being are all she wants. She is his Radha after all!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Which raises the question I have had from the beginning about “all hell will break loose” translation. HATED IT! It is SUCH a cliche and so jarring every time it came up in the subtitles. Can someone give me a better sense of what they are saying?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that Sejal is the stronger person, I think she figures out early on, on some level, that Shahrukh is in real trouble. She doesn’t fully understand it (“lonely!”) but she knows it is there. She is unhappy with her life, but in a kind of abstract ephemeral way. She still has the strength to change things, if she had someone to show her the way (which is what Shahrukh does). While Shahrukh is just completely warn down, doesn’t even have the strength to try to make things better any more, or the hope that they could be better. And so in her own awkward unplanned unknowing way, Sejal is trying to save him, to wake him up, to make him notice her and then notice life in general. Which goes back to the Radha song, he is singing the happiest version of his womanizing life style, and she just is not having it, insisting on him accepting her as his Radha and breaking him out of that pattern.

      On Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 9:14 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

    • They translated it as ““Your lips are softening, it’s very pleasing””


      He says saansein narm honth garm, acha lag raha hai na?

      meaning, yeah, your breath is becoming warm, and your lips are softening, and this feels good right now

      par ye jo dhak dhak karne laga

      but this heart which is beating so fast (also referencing the song)

      and you got the rest 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

          • What about the “all hell breaks loose” line? As American slang, it has no romantic or sexual connotation at all. More like “and then everything fell apart”, as in chaos, and argument, or a fight.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Hi @joyomama,

            I didn’t watch the movie with subtitles, but I am guessing that you mean when he says

            Sejal, ab aur aage gaye to raula pe jaanai

            which means,

            if we go ahead, its gonna get messy/its gonna be a big mess.

            which is by the way Imtiaz’s fav way of describing the complexities of love,

            Deepika says it in both Love Aaj Kal and Tamasha.

            Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m surprised you didn’t like this part too much as it was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Harry is playacting for her here as a boyfriend/fiance but it’s also our first real indication of how much power he really has over her. When he actually turns it on, she falls into the spell pretty quickly. Up to now, he has been very actively resisting but with her pushing all this ‘girlfriend’ stuff, wanting him to put his arm around her, asking him to act like her fiance, making her stare at her as she poses, etc., his resolve also seems to be slipping.

    He tests out the “dhak dhak” line and again she seems to fall for it, leaning into him, until he breaks it himself and almost starts lecturing her that whatever happens with them, she still has to go back to India and not hesitate. He really does think he is bad news and will end up causing her pain and problems and is warning her once again. That’s why she reacts so strongly, almost with cruelty, that he is a nobody (just a tour guide) and she is not so foolish to drop everything to stay with him. She’s outraged that he’s basically boldly saying that he knows she will fall for him but even after she does, she better be strong enough to return to her old life in India with Rupen. She pretends she’s very worldly-wise and nothing will effect her and only he will be hurt and not be able to handle her wedding. Here again, he seems to be telling her the truth in opposition to her bravado that she’s very naive and lots of people more mature and sophisticated than her have gotten messed up by love. He tells her that she doesn’t know what she’s getting into no matter how falsely confident she’s acting. Once again he gives a very explicit warning, “You don’t know me, Sejal.” He has kept himself very in control with her so she hasn’t yet seen the guy women swoon over and screw up their lives for and he really doesn’t want her to end up like one of them. A part of it is that Harry really does know himself and he knows women too unlike Sejal who barely knows anything. Not only has she never dealt with a guy like Harry before, she’s hardly even in touch with her own self. She is living in her in own la la land where she is some seductress who can play house with a guy and then take off unhurt and unchanged back to her real life. I think Harry already knows she’s playing with fire and also knows she doesn’t recognize what she is getting into. We seem him throughout the movie telling her again and again “you have to back” because I think he genuinely thinks it’s better for her to not get into a mess with him that she won’t be able to handle.

    She taunts him again with her “high hopes” line that she used before to which he responds “High hopes, huh? We’ll see.” I don’t even think it’s a challenge on his part because he still isn’t actively trying to seduce her. It’s just that he’s smart enough and experienced enough to know that Sejal isn’t going to be able to handle it the way she claims. He is expecting that she *will* fall for him and then there will be “raula” which is what he keeps trying to avoid by constantly warning her again and again so that maybe she would wake up.

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    • Your making me think about this scene in contrast to the last scene between them before she leaves. That time she is pushing for him to admit what he wants, that he wants more and isn’t as under control as he thinks he is. And his response is “it will sting a bit, but you will get over it.” He is the naive one then, not believing what she is saying about how this isn’t something they can just get over, and he has to tell her what he wants.

      I do like the idea of him thinking “okay, fine, I’m turning it on” and then being scared for her by how easily she reacts to him. It’s so different from the “Yaadon Main” moment when he isn’t actually doing anything, and she comes to him anyway.

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      • Ironically, even at the end, I think Harry still doesn’t want to make her stay. Of course he loves her and would love for her stay with him forever but I don’t think he wants to persuade her of it. Harry’s always known ever since the beginning that he has a power over her if he wants to use it and she won’t be able to resist. He could have charmed her into doing whatever he wants very early on. Even at the final scene in Frankfurt, if he asked her stay, I think she was ready to stay. I think he even knows this but still resists. I think he genuinely feels it’s probably better for her go back to her own life that she knows, surrounded by her family and work and business. He’s a complicated person with a complicated history and how will they live? What will they do? How will they mesh their separate lives and make it work? Even he thinks there is a fantasy aspect to this that may not work and he will end up breaking her by making her choose a life that may not be as good or stable or comfortable as the one she had. He even asks Mayank, “would it have been right for her to leave everything for me?”

        It’s not until his conversation with his friend when he realizes that Sejal should have at least gotten the chance to make that decision for herself. He never gave her what she wanted to hear. This is him accepting that she’s an adult and she should at least get to make a choice about her life herself while putting everything on the table so she knows where things really stand. He had to give her that information that he loves her – now she can choose what she wants while knowing all the full facts. He’s instantly relieved when he gets to India and realizes that she cancelled the wedding herself and made her own decisions. I think that part is really important to him. He doesn’t want to be in the position where he’s seducing/charming her into doing things. He knows he can and she would do it but he doesn’t want this relationship to work that way.

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        • I think Sejal would have stayed then and he knows it too. But what he doesn’t “know” yet is exactly how much he will miss her, how much pain he is letting himself in for by letting her go. That’s, I think, what Sejal is trying to get him to realize and he is the naive one who doesn’t see it. Not that he doesn’t know he cares for her, but that he thinks “I am the grown up in this situation, I can handle it, it will be fine”. It’s only after she goes that the starts to see how much she had changed him and he has come to rely on her. He keeps thinking she is the one in the most danger, he has to protect her from himself. But in reality, he is the one who needs her, he is the one in danger when it is over. That’s something I kind of liked about not seeing Sejal really after she gets home, because it is Shahrukh who falls apart and has the harder time post breakup, despite all his warnings to her.

          I really like your reading of his reaction at the wedding! We see him hesitate and almost not go in, and I thought maybe it was because he was afraid of rejection. But thinking about it from your perspective, he was remembering her happy proud description of her wedding, maybe he had one last moment of guilt and fear about breaking that happy life plan she had for herself. Only to learn that she had already broken it without him.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You know, I don’t think Harry was ever actually afraid of rejection! When he decides to fly to India, his friend is flabbergasted at the idea of Harry showing up to her wedding. He questions what on earth he’s planning and what he thinks will happen. Harry has the naughtiest twinkle in his eye as he says he will tell her and then she can get married. More like “let’s see how she gets married after I’m done with her.” I think he’s almost certain that she will break the wedding.

            Which is why it’s sweet that he doesn’t have to cause a scene and make her do her anything in front of all those people. She’s already done it herself to his relief.


          • I think Harry’s problem was that he was so sure of himself, he felt like he had to reject himself on behalf of her. Like, “I am so powerful, I could easily have sex with her/make her fall in love with me/break her wedding”, so instead of actually going to the brink and finding out what she would say in response, he just makes the decision for her since (he thinks) she is so deluded that she won’t be thinking clearly for herself. But of course what he misses is that this “delusion” is actually making her think clearly for the first time in her life, she really does want him in everyway, so much so that she isn’t afraid to forget everything else.

            Liked by 1 person

          • These few exchanges reminded me too that, as others have said, running through all of Harry’s reactions and decisions is the very real self-loathing he feels. Sejal helps him to start healing from that, and I think the colors flooding back to the Punjab when he takes Sejal there, and the scene in the courtyard in Nurmahal with his mother (or older woman relative) hugging him, are further healing moments.


          • I am just getting into that in the “Klara” scene coming up! Which is funny on the first watch, but the more I think about it, the more it tells us about Shahrukh’s self-loathing and how Anushka’s clarity and youth helps solve that.

            On Thu, Aug 17, 2017 at 2:40 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m not that sure, Margaret…I got the feeling that he thinks more that Sejal doesn’t deserve to not getting to know about the person she had become to him…there is a moment when he is about to going back, to not to face the couple…In my memory there is a visible inner debate (when seeing it I shouted “but gooo!”.adding much lower “it’s not her…I’m sure it’s not her”)…so whatever made him hesitate, he mastered the courage to face her – with (un)famous Rupen at her side…

            Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know if this place is right for my response to Anonymous (you will let me know, Margaret, okay?)

          My thoughts about Harry are the same. I would like to go even further because I think he has got a very low self-esteem as for being ‘worth’ to be genuinely loved. First Klara’s words in the Budapest café, then the request for a hug (when they went back to Prague to contact Natasha), his lying on her arm (to spoon with her ‘the other way round’)…that tells me that despite of knowing his forte in charming women he is weak in loving himself…quite a masochist. (I would even doubt that without this whole story he would have survived the next ten years.)
          Going to Mumbai seems to serve two purposes: to respect Sejal’s right to make her own choices with the knowledge of his love—to get a quasi final verdict of being ‘worth or not being worth’ to be loved. (I really prefer to not imagine if Sejal would genuinely have chosen Rupen…brrrrr)

          Liked by 1 person

          • To add on to that, even the decision to go to Bombay was a sign that his sense of himself was getting healthier. He no longer thought he wasn’t even “worthy” to make this offer. He thought she might turn him down, but he no longer thought he didn’t even deserve to say it.

            On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:00 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • Not to worry, I feel lost in space all the time! And I don’t have the excuse of trying to comment on someone’s blog.

            On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 11:57 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

  5. What a pleasure to read all your thoughts.

    As I already mentioned I see this part as level 3 – playacting becomes serious.

    Let me be your girlfriend is a two way lane, the ‘I-am-a-good-Indian-daughter’ one and the ‘I-feel-free-to-do-what-my-heart-tells-me’ one.
    Sejal wants that the good & happy feeling she got during Radha – the freedom to be close to him – remains…aaaand she can test her ability to be seductive (by flirting/challenging him). She still feels safe with Harry…she can enjoy those strange butterflies in her tummy and learn for her future marriage (She tells her butterflies “yes, yes, yes, I want to marry Rupen…I h a v e to marry Rupen…just finding the ring”…and the butterflies say “okayyyyy “)…the second lane would be a bit speedier: admitting that she has fallen in love – head over heels – with this hot, viril, lonely man, much older than her, about whom she knows almost nothing, stopping to pretend that the search for the ring matters to her, terminate the engagement with that infuriatingly boring Rupen and open a tourist agency with Harry in…wherever.

    I think sometimes you have to make a step (or two or three) back before advancing considerably. The proposal to be his girlfriend (because it’s not nice to feel lonely) is genuine, but she is the one who determines his role as a boyfriend…Harry still serves as…yeah, as what? I think he serves as her teacher on this level. He is already emotionally more involved as he finds healthful (and yet, yet, yet, it feels soooo good to be with that skittish & insecure young woman). When he looks at her in the train with warmth and his own butterflies in his eyes, her decision between the two lanes is something on the white line between: she ‘allows’ him to gaze at her (he is her boyfriend now) – ‘orders’ him to continue – turns looking into the other’s eyes into a play (who can hold the gaze the longest…popular…at a certain age!…). Harry follows suit (probably thinking “oh dear, what are you doing” – meaning both of them).

    I can fully relate to Sejal, to the step backwards she does by challenging Harry to play act like he would be Rupen (definitely more than a boyfriend!) – not satisfied with the first execution. I wonder if she did ever flirt (coquet) except in her mind. And I am so happy that Imtiaz made that whole scene because ShahRukh, the labled “king of romance” of Hindi cinema, had not romanced yet (and we are one hour into the movie!)…he will do it now…but ShahRukh is Harry, and so this play act is serious: if indeed he had Rupen’s position in her life, he would – in this situation – exactly treat her like he does!

    There you are, Sejal! Under the spell, feeling the magic…you still want to marry Rupen? (the butterflies ask her)…Ah, if only Rupen would… (Sejal’s melting mind tosses in). Well, practical Sejal knows that she did something VERY unpractical and that she even e n j o y e d it more than she ever has enjoyed something. The nice play she had in mind had turned into a serious loving emotion for Harry. Forbidden loving emotion. No, no, no, full stop!

    Although Sejal is still rather egoistic (or selfcentered), she feels that she had hurt that man who is so much more mature than she and genuinely cares for her by reminding him his ‘position’. I think she wants to say something nice by inviting him, still oblivious to the depth of his feelings for her. And yes, it is a reminder of DDLJ when he declines…not the words but the expression in his eyes, only that he is not that Raj anymore, so he doesn’t turn away and leaves her pondering about the situation. It doesn’t matter yet if she understands or not…he is okay to keep it at level Friend-Friend. (they both need time…which they get… after the intermission).

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMG. I am getting butterflies in my stomach reading this. This is so perfect. This is a beautiful explanation of Sejal. I think I am like Harry, I am equal parts infuriated by her and entranced by her 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am also enjoying reading everyone’s thoughts! This is the sign of a great story with great characters. It’s complicated enough, with layers of things happening at the same time, that many readings are possible within the same overall arc of events.

    Waiting for Netflix…


  7. Well to me the scene and this build up of hawayee before interval looks perfect. Without over complicating ..here it goes –
    Harry n Sejal faced a tough time together and sailed through. He advises him , she tells him her perspective … belief that what we are searching for u will find it and it will be yours one day.
    Then sleeping next to each other, Sejal hugging him while sleeping with so much innocence. He has been hugged by many girls but just physical hugs while having sex…. but this was something else…… she hugged his soul which made his eyes wet and he cried. opened up about his past life to her. Singing is what he loves, so he asked her to sing along and in a way felt happy with her. Her saying u can assume me a girlfriend and all.. he has not felt such calmness before. He says to the waiter that whats happening to me , with this girl ?? There must b a night in between as they have changed clothes in next scene so he might have thot more about her during night as well which is not shown. then next day they move to next destination. So hawayee song feeling was already building since radha song time. Hawayee is all about his side of feelings not of love exactly but telling that he is getting habitual of her .. is liking her company. (song is like i want to keep u somewhere where there is surety certainty … i like those winds only that have ur name .. dont know where these winds are carrying me )
    After this train sequence, he suddenly, unexpectedly got a change to play her fiance so all these feelings that were built up inside since radha happened just erupted. How beautifully he did this carrying her to the cafe and sits with her on love chair 🙂
    After that she says that teach this to rupen so he became confident that she liked his way of romancing her 🙂 and with his experience of seeing other couples n movies or whatever.. he assumed that Sejal will also fall for him if this ring search and staying together keeps on going. She stands and talks – rupen was here bla bla and he is like let me tell u what happens next — Raula pae jana hai … meaning with all these feelings i have for u … next there will be a chaos in my life and probably urs too !!!
    rauala pae jana is such a small phrase but so deep , its tough to explain it in non punjabi way … Imtiaz is a genius 🙂 he has spent time in Punjab n got these phrases from local people and used them sooooo well.
    She bends down and he says dhak dhak dialogue…. purely cheesyyyy and flirty n in a simple way that she understands …. and she does. So she reciprocates in her stupid malkin (boss) type way again and humiliates him that he is just a tour guide n not worth being left for his rich sophisticated educated fiance. Internally she is attracted to harry likes him but outside she still showing that no no .. m ok .. i hve to go back to my original life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting that “Raula Pae jana” is a very Punjabi phrase. Imtiaz has done that before in movies I think, spent a lot of time getting to know the people and the region that he is using as a setting to add depth to the characters.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Also forgot to add … i dont think they said game on ..game on ..they said in hindi ..chal be …chal ….that does not mean same as game on ! so they have not started a contest that he will try to woo her n she will resist …
    Harry just expressed that he is attracted to her n she replied in bossy manner that u have high hopes…. she is behaving that she is not much affected by him ..she just sweet on face but selfish actually:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw! They still haven’t released the song I am waiting for, Yaadon Mein. So I can share one tiny bit of your frustration.

      On Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 8:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

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

  10. First of all, Meredith: I love reading your blog and also the comments which are very interesting, so am I allowed give my two cents on the scene?

    You are right, part of it may come across as a little forced in need to bring out a cliffhanger for the interval but I think this scene was very cleverly designed by Imtiaz for two reasons:

    First we get so see SRK in his supreme discipline as a lover ( finally, one hour into the film !)
    And second, most importantly by making Harry playact as Sejal`s fiancé he gives him the opportunity to vent out his built up feelings and live his fantasy ,albeit in disguise.
    The kiss on the forehead is a protective one, reassuring her that there is mothing to be afraid of and reassuring himself to “not cross the line” because it`s been dawning on him for quite some time that he has fallen in love with Sejal.

    The following Dhak Dhak scene was totally Harry himself who could not hold back and seeing her reaction and seizing his power over her, makes him immediately pulling in the reins for her and his sake, because he suddenly realizes how easily he can seduce this innocent girl and mess up her well arranged life and put her in emotional trouble.

    That`s why he insists her to go back to India and don`t look back and he warns her to not fall for him, because he doesn`t want her to be hurt, like all other women before.

    Sejal on the other hand, completely oblivious to Harry`s feelings towards her, first thinking he was playing along and now clearly trying to seduce her, immediately puts her off.

    Can she trust him? She is attracted but also disturbed and irritated, was she wrong about him all the time? With no experience and no insight to human nature her reaction is completely understandable for me.
    She was the one who (seemingly) was under control, set the parameters for their companionship. First client/guide, then “boyfriend/girlfriend”, played with fire. Now she is about to loose control, so for mere self protection she quickly jumps back to known territory, being a modern practical girl and totally in control and as if to remind herself that she is seriously engaged invites him to her wedding. And Harry kind of gives in to her behaviour, reluctantly and obedient as always, holding back his true feelings, banking on time…”we`ll see”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! All of that makes sense to me. I just don’t like how needlessly cruel she seems in how she goes about it, laughing at him and calling him just a tour guide, while he is obviously upset. But maybe on another watch it will work better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Isn’t that the purpose that not-liking-her for that cruelty, that snottiness she already showed at the very beginning at the airport (I think when embarrassed and insecure about oneself, one may tend to have recourse to learned/trained behaviour). That’s why I wrote about ‘retrogade steps’.
        And then – bingo – Harry avoids any sexual approach, any romancing which gives them the time to keep going to know each other better (and themselves) on a not-at-all messy level friend-friend.
        So like Renee wrote we got client/guide (her decision), girlfriend/boyfriend (her decision), fiancée/fiancé (her decision) – intermission – friend/friend (his/both their decision, but more his)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Okay, this will be a rather long post as I have alot to say. Sejal asking Harry to pretend to be her fiancee and take her into the cafe , she says “feel it”. The look in his eyes is “okay, you’re asking for it!” That’s when he turns it on full force. I’m 71 years old and have never seen an actor, Hollywood or otherwise, who can convey this kind of passion with just his eyes. Oh my! His eyes never leave Sejal’s face. He looks at her eyes, lips, then back to her eyes, never losing that connection. I don’t know any woman who wouldn’t want that kind of attention. I’m sure that some of the look is how Harry has successfully seduced many women, but with Sejal, he’s let his emotions run wild. When he sits her down, she says she wants him to train Rupen, the spell is broken. You can see it in his face. That’s when he warns her that they’re falling in a trap. She doesn’t understand, she still thinks she’s in total control of the situation. Now comes the sparring! She makes a joke about dumping her fiancee for a tour guide. Once again, Sejal has put Harry in the servant role instead of the man he is. He tells her she may be wrong and she changes the subject and asks him to come to the wedding. Then she insults him by saying he won’t because it will hurt too much. This is when I feel the gauntlet was thrown down. They start to challenge each other, each feeling their position is the right one. I feel Harry, being the older, wiser one, knows the pitfalls, but Sejal wants to prove that she’s an adult too. (We know differently at this point in time).


    • I’ve rewatched this scene several times now, because as I said, it is the one I have the hardest time understanding. And I think part of why it feels odd to me is the background music! The way Shahrukh is playing it, there is a sort of wry humor of “I am feeling something here, but I can still kind of laugh at myself and at you because it is so clearly a silly thing to be feeling”. Like he is play-acting. But the background music is all overwrought and emotional instead of light, which makes me think that he actually is feeling something, deeply, and she is just making fun of it.

      On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 10:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • When he returns to the stairs (after she admonishes him to “feel it“) I got the impression that he braced himself into a: “I’ll show you how I would show you my love if I actually were your fiancé”. I felt, it was a multiple layered reaction: your “okay, you’re asking for it”, Nancy, but also a “Rupen is such a stupid guy to let her be on her own” and a “I can dare to show her how much I would like to love her” and a “oh Sejal, you have no idea!!!”.

        As for Sejal, I already wrote that I think she was kind of enchanted and felt things in her tummy she knew she should not feel…but she had been on a flirtatious level, not ready to admit deeper feelings towards Harry. The step from playacting to be his girlfriend because that gave her very exciting tingling sensations and a good girl-woman feeling and an unknown joy of life to really be his girlfriend scared her, not because she did not trust Harry but because she didn’t trust herself. Everything the said was a lie…she feared to lose control…she would have loved to say “ I wish you were my finacé” and did in no way wish that Rupen should learn such things…Rupen had already become a non-entity in her life, the search for the ring a mere look-around…but both, Rupen and the ring helped her to keep control…she was so desperate that she did something she knew would be horrible: remind Harry of his servant-position…that was absolute fake,,,just a life ring. She knew that Harry was right about the mess…she just had put herself into a mess of emotions…she was scared…so she chose what she knew the best to get a grip on herself and the situation – everything that had to deal with her life in Mumbai.
        Still, I think that the invitation was genuine…she wanted to be kind, nevertheless…she did not like herself for having hurt him.

        Nancy, I don’t see a kind of “gauntlet” or challenge or war anymore after Radha. There is struggle, right, but it is for each of them an internal one and about different things. The last “fight” or challenge was when she goes to the club in Prague…there won’t be anyone anymore till the one in Frankfurt – imo.
        Margaret, I feel the music is to the point… he allows himself to feel…no wry humour from the moment he looks into her eyes (putting the arm around her shoulder could still have been playacting, the rest…no…I felt it as genuine)…and his reaction after her mentioning Rupen I found very sincere.


  12. I agree with a lot of what Claudia says but I think challenge is a huge part of the dynamic of their relationship, in a good way. Sejal is constantly prodding and poking at him from the beginning, strongarming him into this whole adventure, making little digs about his love life, asking if he has emotions, later calling him on his loneliness. A big part of his bewilderment is that he can’t keep himself from responding to her provocations. She gets under his skin. That scene on the bridge to me is not about their physical closeness causing sparks, it’s about him being provoked into physically restraining her, which is way over the line. She reacts by telling him not to dominate her, because she always calls him out, but she also backs down enough to listen because she knows she pushed too far. And he immediately retreats back into full tour guide mode, but there’s a moment of frustration because he can’t believe he let her push him into losing control. The whole series of club outings are escalating dares, until the chase scene, where they become allies. By Radha the tone has shifted to gentler teasing, but they’re still pushing each other. Then the girlfriend proposal and the moment on the train where she catches him looking and tells him to look more, harder.

    They’re constantly daring each other in ways that push both of them out of their learned roles and comfortable masks, and that bit by bit make them become better people – better humans, happier, stronger for each other.

    I think I see them as more equal than many of you do. Sejal is not worldly or sophisticated, but she’s smart and curious and has a lot of inner strength. Harry is lonely and lost but definitely worldly – he’s a survivor, and he turns out to be a good person after all. I see his journey as from seeing himself as a failure – the one who left home with big dreams that never panned out – to gradually becoming the person worthy of Sejal, acting as a responsible adult, being able to share some of his acquired worldliness with someone who can help him recover the joy of exploring new places, and opening his heart for the first time. Her journey is much as you’ve described, from rules-following good daughter and fiancee with her life all planned out, to someone braver, freer, more humble, and more compassionate.

    The girlfriend proposal is the beginning of a long middle section where they’re consciously trying on roles with each other, but Harry is very restrained at first. When Sejal makes him go back up the stairs in this scene and do it over, she’s back to prodding him, and he again is provoked into responding. She brings up Rupen as a way of saying good acting! and he reacts by taking it up a notch. I think his response to her going all breathy is sincere, he does see trouble where this is headed and wants her to do the prudent thing, but he’s also needling her a bit. (acting, huh? look who’s acting now.) The wedding invitation seems in character because she’s falling back on her first answer to Harry the seducer – high hopes, my life is settled. It doesn’t seem cruel to me because at this point I think she still believes she will go back, and he knows he is falling for her but still thinks he’s in control enough to send her home before it goes too far.


    • I am so happy you are going back and posting comments on all of these! I love revisiting the old posts.

      I like the idea of Anushka having more strength to her, enough to challenge Shahrukh. Perhaps that is what makes her different from the other women, while she doesn’t have the worldly experiences they do, she has more inner strength and confidence, enough to grab hold and hold on.

      On Sat, Apr 21, 2018 at 12:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • That’s what made me think of those screwball comedies Hollywood was great to do in the late 30s and 40s. The kind of challenges (especially those Sejal somehow forces on Harry) are indeed the ‘motor’ of the movie.


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