Jab Harry Met Sejal Part 13: Klara Appears

Welcome back!  Kind of a double post, partly because my viewer numbers are telling me that people are losing interest (I know, not most of you, but some of you), and I want to crank through this thing while most of you can still remember the film.  And also partly because the last section felt like it should really lead straight into this one (full JHMS coverage index here)

Previously, whole first half of the movie happens!  Anushka and Shahrukh are stuck together because he is the tour guide her family hired to “babysit” her while she traveled around Europe looking for her lost engagement ring.  On the surface, Anushka is an innocent sheltered girl who is fascinated by this sexy older man.  But there is something else going on as well, a strange connection they both feel which makes them follow each other, stare at each other, try to puzzle out what is happening.  They are playing with fire a little bit and decide to pretend to be girlfriend-boyfriend, that is, be friendly and familiar with each other instead of keeping the strict “hands off” policy that would normally be in place with the kind of sheltered girl Anushka is.  Post interval, they had a wonderful song showing how this works, they have fun together and laugh and do silly things, it isn’t sexy or dangerous, it’s just friendly and happy to be together and feeling like they fit somehow.  And then, song ends with a great example of a great relationship when Shahrukh helps Anushka find a bathroom by going into a fancy restaurant.

 

One thing that just occurred to me now is that one of the reasons they set this up with the bathroom situation is that this is not the kind of place the version of Anushka and Shahrukh we have been watching would go to.  They are enjoying talking and being with each other and goofing around.  They don’t want to go to a fancy “grown-up” type place where they have to dress right and sit up straight and be elegant.  This isn’t an Anushka kind of place, it’s too old for her right now.  And she has made Shahrukh young again, so it isn’t a Shahrukh kind of place either. Part of his discomfort with the upcoming situation is the space they are in.  He entered it as an outsider, just stopping by to help his girlfriend go to the bathroom.  And now he is being reminded of a previous version of himself that used to belong in places like this, that liked the superficial elegance that protected him from real feelings.  That wouldn’t have a girlfriend who came running in to use the bathroom, but one who belonged here too.

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(Looks kind of like this place.  Where I have been several times and greatly enjoy their hot chocolate with lots of real whipped cream, but also feel uncomfortable trying to fit my knees under the little tables and not spilling on the elegant chairs and all of that)

And then Klara shows up!  Shahrukh goes into the restaurant to wait while Anushka uses the toilet and glances around and immediately sees a woman sitting at a table and turns around looking for a place to hide, saying “oh shit”.  She comes over to him and says “Yes, that’s right, ‘shit'”.

By the way, have I mentioned that I minored in German in college?  And am TERRIBLE at it?  Because I have absolutely no facility for languages to the point that I can study something for 8 years straight and still not learn anything?  And like really study!  I got straight As and graduated with honors and everything!  And yet, I can’t understand a lick of it any more.  So, for this conversation, I am going to rely on Claudia’s translation from the comments (Hi Claudia!).

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!)

Now, when I was watching it with my 8 years of intensive German study, what I got from the scene was “shit”, “Frankfurt”, and “deal machen”.  Truly, tuition money well spent!  I thought he was saying something about why he left Frankfurt, that he had a deal on back then.  But knowing that it is future tense is way way more interesting!

See, he is trying to protect Anushka from Klara.  Which totally went over my head until I got this translation.  I thought he was trying to protect himself from Klara, or was embarrassed for Anushka to see him like this.  But this is something different, he is ready to meet up with Klara later and take his punishment, do whatever she wants, so long as he can get Anushka out now.

And when Anushka appears, she looks like she needs to be protected.  Confused, in her little pastel outfit, with her fresh face.  She doesn’t seem ready for this scary elegant older woman.

And let’s take a moment to look at Klara!  We see Klara, we see the woman in the club in Amsterdam, there are the kind of women Shahrukh usually goes after.  European, very experienced, and not “soft”.  He wants a woman that he doesn’t have to worry about hurting.  Yes, Klara is angry with him here.  But she is angry, not crying or scared or depressed.  If he had treated someone like Anushka like he treated her, he would have ruined her life.  That is what he is afraid of, that he will let himself go and bring Anushka in as much as he brought in Klara, and would really destroy her.

(This isn’t Klara, I can’t find her name in the credits.  But this is the woman who is in the club in Amsterdam)

And yet, even with someone like Klara who has recovered (except for lingering anger), he still feels some guilt.  He is a womanizer but, like he said in that first honest-but-not-entirely speech to Anushka, the women can leave and he is the one who suffers.  He takes on a weight with every woman he “does wrong” and can’t seem to shake it, no matter how he tries.  The women can blame him, get mad, go back to their lives.  But he has no life to go back to, and doesn’t know what emotion to use to deal with the end of things.  Doesn’t really have a clear emotion for these women, which is part of his guilt, that they were always just ways to fulfill his needs, he never felt anything for them before during or after the affair.

Anyway, Anushka is here now!  And Shahrukh keeps trying to “save” her.  She comes up and asks, open faced and youthful “Who are you?”  Klara says “Who am I?  Who AM I?”  And Anushka turns to Shahrukh and says in Hindi with kind of put on “how strange is this woman?” “yes, that is what I asked her, isn’t it?”  Shahrukh is trying to get out of this whole thing and looking increasingly uncomfortable, and then Klara says to Anushka “Who are YOU?”  And Anushka gives a big smile, grabs Shahrukh’s arm and says “I’m his girlfriend.”  Shahrukh immediately tries to get her out of it and says “No no, she is just a client”.  Klara looks at her in disgust and says “You are not his girlfriend.  He cannot have girlfriends.  He is just doing you.”  Anushka’s smile doesn’t waver and she says confidently “That to!”

(Go 40 seconds in to see this bit)

Okay, pause!  Let’s look at this from 3 angles, Anushka and Shahrukh and Klara.  Klara first because we care about her least.  She can see immediately from how Shahrukh is reacting that he cares about Anushka, that is why she zeroes in on her, and the more Shahrukh tries to get her out, the more interested Klara becomes in her, because of how clear Shahrukh’s concern is.  And then there is the way Anushka drops into Hindi, sharing a little private joke with Shahrukh, something Klara probably never did.  Not just because they didn’t share Hindi, but because they didn’t have that kind of private conversations about other people sort of relationship.  That’s when she asks “Who are YOU?”  And Anushka makes it between the two women, looking her dead in the eyes and grabbing Shahrukh’s arm to hold him to her as she says “I’m his girlfriend.”  With the exact right amount of pride and confidence to most infuriate a scorned lover.  That’s what disgusts Klara, this innocent declaring her power over a very non-innocent man.  Klara wants to break through her confidence, puncture her fantasy.  And so she says the crudest thing possible, wanting to scare Anushka away.  And it doesn’t work, Anushka maintains eye contact and immediately accepts it “That too!”  It is Shahrukh who is scared.  He is still trying to keep Anushka out of it, redirect Klara’s anger.  But he is also a little unaware, he thinks the fact that he is having sex with Anushka is what will make her angry and “ruin” Anushka.  He doesn’t realize that Klara is more angry at the “girlfriend” idea.  And most of all angry at the way that Anushka is preening over being his girlfriend.  Anushka clearly doesn’t see Shahrukh as someone who is just “doing” her, she is proud to lay claim to him.  And nothing Klara is saying is shaking her from that.  Which, I think, is making Klara even angrier.  She has been furious with Shahrukh, and seen him as a garbage person who was only good for sex, for the past 2 years (or maybe 4 years, including when they were together).  And now Anushka is showing through her behavior “No, you are wrong, he is a catch and you can’t convince me otherwise.”

Okay, now Shahrukh!  He just wants to get Anushka out of there.  When she appears in the background, looking like a little kid with her sweet little jean jacket and fresh face, his instinct is to try to distract Klara.  When Anushka grabs him and declares herself as her girlfriend, he is horrified and terrified and tries to get out of her grasp and explain away their relationship. He can’t resist looking at her and responding a little to her Hindi “that’s what I asked her, isn’t it?” because, I mean, she is his girlfriend.  He likes the little private in joke asides as much as she does.  But when she says “Yes, that to!” about the “Doing you” comment, that’s when he has enough, is absolutely shocked and kind of embarrassed in an adorably old-fashioned way.

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(Very similar to his adorable embarrassment when Alia talked about dating on Koffee)

Shahrukh thinks of Anushka as this fragile person on a pedestal.  And in a lot of ways, yes, she is.  We have seen all along that he literally just needs to look at her and she will come running and do his bidding.  She knows nothing about sex, nothing about romance, nothing about the world outside her tiny little world of family, family business, and family-approved boyfriend.  She needs Shahrukh to do everything for her, including just now getting her a bathroom.  And so when he sees this woman he is terrified of coming for her, he snaps into “protective” mode, tries to get this little baby girl out of the line of fire.  And most of all, he tries to protect her “virtue”.  In a very old-fashioned older Indian guy kind of way!  Even the hint that he is having sex with her is shocking to him, that could ruin her “sharam”, she is a nice girl who shouldn’t even be spoken of in that way!  It’s adorable.

But what of Anushka?  This is one of the best scenes for her character.  Yes, she doesn’t fully understand a lot of what is happening.  But she understands the most important part, this woman is attacking Shahrukh and he needs her.  Because he doesn’t know how to protect himself.

And oh boy have I been in this situation!  Because, well, boys are stupid.  There’s a certain kind of attack from a woman that only another woman can see.  Not like I have rushed in to protect the dark dangerous sexy man I love from a former lover.  But like a customer at work has yelled at my boss, and I’ve been like “oh yeah, I can handle this for you.  I know what she wants to hear.”  And I’ve also listened to male friends talk about interpersonal stuff and thought “yeah, she’s playing you.  But I can’t say that because you aren’t ready to hear it yet.”  And then the guy leaves the room, and all the women look at each other and say “Poor baby, she’s playing him and he doesn’t even know it.”  Only Anushka actually has the woman in front of her, and feels the right to defend her man, so she doesn’t just have to sit back and stay quiet, she can actually jump in and act.

One of the female only weapons is making the man feel guilty and he doesn’t even know why.  And Shahrukh here is particularly susceptible to that, always ready to take the emotional blame for any situation, it’s what he has been doing with Anushka all along.  And also always ready to believe the worst of himself.  That’s what Anushka is defending him from, aggressively.  Nothing Klara says about him or to Anushka can shake her clear faith in him.  She is redirecting Klara’s anger towards herself, away from Shahrukh.  And also sending a clear message to Shahrukh that is kind of the anti-Klara, “I believe in you, I am proud of you, you are a worthy person.”

And the thing is, Anushka doesn’t need any special knowledge or experience to do this.  This is why she is the perfect woman for Shahrukh, she just needs her purity and faith and, well, Radha-ness.  And her youth is what gives her that, the strength to defend him and the pure faith that he is worthy of defense.  Shahrukh is trying to protect her “innocence”, but in fact it is that innocence which is protecting him.

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Dang, 2 thousand words!  Oh well, next scene will be coming shortly.  I’m thinking about skipping the new movie tonight (for once, going to sleep before 2am on a Friday!  Such a luxury!), so I’ve got loads of time.

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27 thoughts on “Jab Harry Met Sejal Part 13: Klara Appears

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

  2. Without having seen the movie, just reading your take on this scene, I totally get it. Sejal is in protective mode (for Shah Rukh). She is letting the other woman know she has his back no matter what. I think it’s sweet that Shah Rukh is trying to be the protective one, but it looks like Sejal is in control of this situation. She may not understand all that this woman is implying, but she will make sure the woman’s attack does not hurt him. In this situation, I think Sejal is showing that she is growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Looks like I’ll end around part 20, so sometime middle of next week. But you’ll still get your Malayalam and Tamil stuff no matter what!

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  3. It’s clear for all three that Harry is in a weak position…so Klara tries to let him feel her anger and to belittle him and Sejal tries to strengthen him in not being affecting by what Klara says. Harry does not really have a say there but it’s okay, it’s a ‘women thing’ (men most often try to avoid drama).
    It’s the first situation where Sejal is in a position to help Harry and she does it in a very focussed way…her practical sense and being a lawyer gets displayed for the first time (since being with Harry) to get him really out of disconfort (not like this strange indemnity bond). It’s without any doubt her being protective and strong…what a leap onto the next level of her way to maturity…and what a non-judgemental behaviour towards Harry (for whom this reaction relative to his ‘womanizing’ – the second time – oviously comes as a surprise).

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      • It’s really a perfect example of unconditional love. Which I don’t think Harry has felt since he left home.

        On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 5:50 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Harry’s posture in this scene is so similar to the way he is shown in the opening song as he slinks away after being thrown own of various apartments. Crushed, diminished, waiting for the blows he deserves. Whatever happened in Frankfurt, he left Klara secretly, to avoid that kind of scene. Yet since then, he has stayed long enough to be “punished”. This speaks volumes about his mental state.

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      • Excellent point. And again, makes me wonder how big of a turning point Klara really was for him. Has he been waiting and fearing this confrontation, and taking punishment from other women, because of what happened with Klara?

        On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 8:57 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Harry also says, after Klara’s departure, that he’s been avoiding Frankfurt for two years to avoid her. Sejal saves him here, and if he’s been so fearful of dealing directly with Klara, she really gets him off the hook. It is Sejal’s innocence but also her cleverness that saves him.

          As to whether Harry’s been taking punishment from other women since Klara, we also don’t know what/who came before Klara. Surely she isn’t the most important woman in the last 10 years (and by “important” I mean significant, or the one who most affected him).

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  4. Meant to mention: I didn’t see this restaurant as elegant at all. It seemed like a rather casual but nicely decorated bar. Those tall tables where the three of them settle are bar tables, and the booth (I think it is a booth) where Klara is sitting when they enter looks like a relatively casual setting. The chairs at the cafe tables are stools. Unless I just have a different idea of elegant. To me, an elegant restaurant is one where there is hushed conversation, lower lighting than this place, tablecloths on the tables and nicely upholstered chairs with backs. So I’m not sure I agree that this is a place Harry and Sejal wouldn’t go.

    One more thing: I am definitely NOT among those getting bored by these posts. I’m loving every one. I am seeing it Wednesday, for probably the last time in theaters, and want to get as much of these posts before then!

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    • Glad you are still enjoying them! I am too. Although now I am stuck in my least favorite part, it’s all a slog until Yaadon Mein. Well, except for those little moments of goodness that are still scattered in.

      On Sun, Aug 20, 2017 at 10:55 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I am WAY behind in answering these, so forgive me for back tracking. (and I DREAD these posts ending. Because of the radio silence from Shah Rukh, the unfair bad reception in India I can’t bear to think about the current film crop. Take as LONG as you like on this.
    Okay, a couple of things on this section. 1) What do you think happened to the other version of Beech Beech Main? He is wearing a different leather jacket; she has a spangly top and black pants which are fashionable. They seem to be crashing a bachelorette party. Do you think Imtiaz shot a whole different scene, chucked it and did the one we saw? (her in yellow, him in a black jacket with a hood, no party?)
    2) I think the Klara thing is interesting. He was with her for two years. That pokes a hole in the ‘womanizer’, cheap thing. Two years is kind of regular “I’m not settling down” kind of time. When Sejal asks did you have fun and he gives that shrug and Klara smiles, we see it was much more than the woman who we saw throw him out. He had to run far away, not just saunter away Sejal sees him do. I think the really really bad patch has been the last two years when he can’t even go back to the closest thing he has to a home. That triggers all the old feelings that he has buried. At the end he said “Who would have thought Sejal, silly, juvenile Sejal would do the very thing I feared.” and that’s make him miss his real home, Punjab.

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    • I don’t want it to end either, because I am having so much fun talking with you all!

      1) I suspect that much of Beech Beech Mein was improvised rather than carefully planned. I wouldn’t be surprised if they shot a full version at the bachlorette party, and the karaoke bar, and cooking together. Plus the “searching” bits. And then edited together the best parts. I also suspect that someone was tracking the same timeline we were and pointed out that either the Karaoke bar or the party would make sense as taking place that same day, but not really both. You could believe karaoke, searching, dinner, sleep. But you can’t shove the party in there too. So with all of that, in the final edit, they ended up filling in with the other parts instead. Heck, it could be as simple as that the cooking section (which is I think the longest part) really charmed Imtiaz just like it did us, and he decided to keep the whole thing which meant something else had to be tossed. And the bachlorette party was the easiest cut, since you needed the karaoke to kind of set it up and the “searching” bits to show time passing.

      2) I agree! The really bad patch is the last two years. With Klara, she was so angry and he was so, I don’t know, uncaring? He was afraid of her, and guilty, but he didn’t seem to have empathy for her. To me, that said that she was a regular hookup for him but no more. He also talked about being “known” for womanizing and that he should have his own company by now, which makes me think the womanizing has been going on since before Klara, and probably also during. With his traveling lifestyle, I assume she was a convenient fix while he was in Frankfurt, but he routinely cheated on her while out of town. Without even thinking of it as “cheating”, because it wasn’t enough of a relationship with Klara for him to think he had to be faithful. But then, 2 years would be long enough for her to start thinking about asking for more, and him to start feeling guilty and depressed because he really didn’t have more to give. Plus the self-destructive behavior of continuing to string her along knowing that it would just make her angrier and ruin his home in Frankfurt (which eventually it did).

      On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 2:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Yes, the cheating on Klara was on the road and the real vagabond life was the last two years, but the years before that weren’t very settled either. Its sort of like the girlfriend in DON2. (on the bridge at the very end) She’s mad about Priyanka and he hugs her and says, “She’s just a bad habit.” Implying that she is home. (and a criminal like him) He would come “home” to Klara but she was never his home like Anushka feels after only a few days.

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    • Exactly. I mean, his underlying issue is whatever has driven him to this life of constant tours and traveling. Which then makes it easy for him to have a “woman in every port” instead of forcing himself to really relate to someone, or else confront the self-hatred inside himself which makes it impossible for him to relate.

      On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 2:16 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. He had a key to Klara’s place, but he also had his own place in Frankfurt. Isn’t Frankfurt kind of an airline hub for international travel? So he would have been there frequently at one point, enough to have his own place. But he also had something going with Klara that gave him access to her apartment, something she evidently took more seriously than he did. As always, our imaginations can supply various back stories, but all we need to know is that whatever happened between then was enough to scare him away from Frankfurt until he and Anushka go there for the engagement party. Instead, he is now working for a company that operates out of other cities.

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    • Good point about operating out of other cities! Frankfurt wasn’t on their tour, and we see that the new arrival and departure hub is Amsterdam. Mayank is still in Frankfurt, but maybe he hopped over from the other company with Shahrukh and enjoys having Frankfurt as his unrelated-to-work home city.

      On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 2:37 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. I love this scene too. Harry seeing to Sejal’s needs. Then Klara! Wow, where do I start? Men get in fights with other men and don’t think a thing about it, but with a woman, it’s a different ballgame. Don’t get me wrong, I love men, but sometimes they don’t have a clue! Sejal recognizes the attack on Harry by Klara and steps in (sort of like a family members who fight among themselves, but let someone else attack and they’re all over you). She effectively goes into lawyer mode and I love the look on Harry’s face when Sejal asked Klara if she had fun. Priceless! From there, she systematically takes care of the issue and threatens Klara with a lawsuit for harassment. Harry can’t believe how easily Sejal handles a problem that’s plagued him for years. When she questions his taste that he would prefer Klara over her, the atmosphere turns playful once again. Enter Mayank – reality hits. The ring!

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    • I was just re-watching this scene, and I love how Sejal is LITERALLY all over Shahrukh! As soon as she begins to grasp what is happening, she is physically staking her claim on him. And then I love how the blocking is in the table scene, with Shahrukh in the middle like the item they are haggling over (which is exactly what he is), and whoever wins the conversation gets to take him home.

      On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 12:12 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I thought “catfight”…the moment Klara said, that Harry cannot have a girlfriend, he would only do Sejal, I saw Sejal bare her fangs. Although I got the feeling that she did not really know what “doing” meant, she disarmed Klara by admitting it and by keeping friendly showing at the same time that she ‘belonged’ to Harry. Oh yes, Sejal would be skilled as a lawyer…intelligent and to the point and seemingly non-biaised.
          Yeah, I loved the banter after Klara left…Sejal proud of herself, Harry stunned, relieved, happy…

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          • I like that description, “bared her fangs”. That really is what she did, it looks like a big smile, but it’s also a bit of a aggressive gesture “stay away, or I will bite you”. Not literally, but it was in there. Along with the way her grabbing his arm was technically just “flirtatious snuggling” but had an undercurrent of “you best not be trying to pull him away, because I have a firm grip on him”.

            On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:20 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. Indeed, she has “a firm grip on him”…and it is okay for Harry (we just saw it in the song before)…his rather meekly “she is only a client” (with which he puts himself back into a position he actually has already left) is a feeble attempt to protect Sejal. However the kind of behaviour Klara shows towards her friend Harry is like a trigger for Sejal to go into ‘practical’ mode…defense!…lawyer! (yes, I think, she has a gift for that) – straight-forward, matter-of-factly (no coffee? tea? juice? this time but getting to the table…sit down…sit down!). Harry has a mix of emotions: bad conscience, unsecure what Klara will tell, spellbound about Sejal’s demeanour, curious about the outcome…then he also starts to see the humour in the situation and begins to admire how Sejal handles Klara.
    I loved her “stop” and her erected finger! One anticipates a moralizing lecture. How much fun it is to hear a whole other thing. I already had a broad smile on my face, now I burst out in laughter…ah, it was like in a screwball comedy!

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