Jab Harry Met Sejal Part 20: Portugal and India

Finally!  The good bit again.  And then a bit of less interesting.  But good stuff first! (full index of JHMS coverage here)

Previously, the whole movie happened.  All you need to know now is that Anushka and Shahrukh have fallen in love without admitting they are in love and are facing the reality that they may have to say good-bye the next day when they finally get the ring that was their excuse for traveling together.  They are expecting to pick it up from a fellow desi, who Shahrukh had a pleasant meeting with earlier that day and promised to give it to them the next day.

 

And now they have one last night to spend together, and it will be different from all their other time together.  Deeper, more meaningful.  And there is SO MUCH here for film analysis too!

I’m starting with the establishing shot.  It’s a tiny little sign in front of a tiny little door in a tiny little street.  This isn’t the castle cafe in Budapest, or the can’t-spell-it museum in Amsterdam, or even the cafe they were just at to meet “Gas”.  This isn’t just not-touristy, this is almost invisible, a hidden gem just for people who truly want to find it.  We can picture immediately Shahrukh stumbling across it on a previous trip, keeping it secret and special for himself, and now finally finding someone he wants to share it with.  Or Shahrukh finding it on this trip, knowing how to get to know the locals and find the really good place in every city, only for once wanting to bring someone with him on this exploration.

It’s also not the kind of club he went to in Amsterdam or followed Anushka to in Prague.  Those were “touristy” in a different way.  I live in a city myself, and there are kind of 3 levels to a city.  There is the top level, the place where everyone meets.  The Art Institute in Chicago, for instance, is a world class place, if you are in town with a tour group or on a family trip with your guide book, you will go there.  But you will also go there if you just live here, it’s a nice place to go.  And you might go there if you are on more of a kind of wild weekend trip with some young friends, not a tour group, like in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  But then there are the other places, like say the nightclub “Berlin” where my friends perform sometimes.  It’s kind of gritty and a little hidden under an El track.  Not a tour group place, not a place you would find in most guidebooks.  But a place that is kind of like any other place in any other city, if you want a gritty nightclub, this is it.  You will find young people from Chicago there, and also young people from New York or in town for the weekend from Milwaukee or any other city.

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(I may be overselling it.  It’s not THAT gritty.  A little more like this.  But still different from a little storefront hidden gem)

And finally, there are places like the little storefront theater Theo Ubique around the corner from my old apartment.  My grandfather who grew up in the city goes there, I go there, most of the people I know who have lived in the city for a long time know about it.  But it’s not something I’ve ever heard a tourist mention, or even one of those young people who just likes to go to Berlin.  Places like that, you only notice if you walk the streets everyday, if you really live here, if you want somewhere that is just about quality, not about show.  Anushka’s tour group, Shahrukh just took them to the top level places.  Sure, beautiful and wonderful and all of that, but nothing outside of what everyone would be comfortable with.  When they started traveling together, suddenly Anushka became aware of this second tier kind of place, the gritty clubs that Shahrukh would visit that are the same in every city.  But now, for the first time, they are sharing something hidden and special, something that is beyond appearances, something that is just there to be experienced and enjoyed.  Thus, establishing shot of the sidewalk.

And then we go inside.  The light in this scene is completely different from any other scene of the film.  It’s all red and shadowy.  This whole Portugal sequence is amazing for how the light shifts.  We started in that brilliant amazing sunshine.  That’s, I am sure, why Imtiaz wanted to film in this order in these locations.  Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam, they are all kind of the same in terms of light quality.  Nice northern European places, a little overcast and a little chilly, a sort of “grey” over everything.  And that was backed up by the locations, lots of grey stone and metal.  And lots of night time shots.  The only really bright part of it was “Radha”, yellow stone and bright sun.  And I am sure that was not a coincidence!!!  Part of their return to “real life” after “Radha” was a change in color tone, back to that sort of clear mixed grey sort of color.

Red has always been a little in the mix.  Anushka’s red coat in her first scene, the slightly reddish brown tinge to the boat where they have their argument about whether Anushka has had sex with her boyfriend yet, the red of the “Radha” dress.  But red was blown out after “Phurr”.  We go from the dark almost black of their hotel room, Anushka dancing for him, into brilliant brightness.  Everything is white and clear and sunshine all of a sudden.  Even when Shahrukh has to go inside, to talk to “Gas”, it is still white, the walls and floors and ceilings and everything around them.  And he goes back outside to Anushka, still in her white.

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(See?  Even in the evening shots in Portugal, “white” is the overall tone)

But now we are back to red.  A deeper darker richer red.  A red you can sink into.  And it is all around them, the light tone of the room is red, red with touches of black.  And that is Shahrukh and Anushka, Anushka in her deep dark red, not the same red as her Radha dress but something richer than that, and Shahrukh next to her in his black.  Shahrukh has lost himself within Anushka at this moment.  He is lost in her red, just a small spot of black on top of it.  He is surrounded by her aura, drowning in it.

And Anushka is drowning in herself.  She has finally fully woken up.  “Phurr” started the process, bringing her into a dream state where her maturity and awareness of herself could blossom.  The meeting with “Gas” and the knowledge that she and Shahrukh are about to part, that started the process of thinking about what she would do with all this maturity, feeling it in relation to the situation and the man beside her.  And now, with the music around them, in this intimate but beautiful place, she has suddenly discovered a depth within herself that was never there before.  It’s Shahrukh that set it off, but it is her own self that is hypnotizing her, crushing her, surrounding her right now.

And then there’s what’s actually happening in the scene.  Which I have had described as “cheesy” “stupid” “obvious”, all kinds of things.  But the thing is, it’s SO cheesy and stupid and obvious that, for me, it swings back around to subtle.  The woman singing translates what her song is about, saying it is about a woman whose lover is a sailor who has traveled to distant lands and now she is calling to him to come back to her, come back from India.  And yes, this seems way way way too perfectly about Shahrukh and Anushka.  A traveler, come back from India, and so on.

But, the thing is, this is also something that makes perfect sense in the Portuguese context.  Portugal is a seafaring culture, and they are in a port town.  India was one of the biggest trade routes and most dangerous journeys you could make.  I am sure there are many Portuguese folk songs about calling lovers back from India.

(and now I know it is a musical genre unique to Portugal called “Fado”, which makes it very cool that the Hindi song in a few minutes will be in that same style)

And there is probably a Portuguese couple who have been married 20 years and could have come to this same cafe and be fighting over her going to visit her mother every other weekend.  And they are listening to the song thinking “yes!  It’s about us!”  And there is an exchange student from America there alone listening and getting homesick and rushing home and calling their mother in tears saying “there was this amazing song that felt like it was just about me!”  We, in the audience, feel like it is ridiculously obvious, because we are in the heads of our particular characters.  And that’s how it feels to them, like it must be about them, like she is talking and singing for them alone.

Oh, and one final thing that we have to remember.  This is not the first couple to come from India to Portugal or vice versa.  Shahrukh is dealing with a complex identity crisis, but it is a crisis that has been happening for hundreds of years.  It’s easier now with the airplanes and all, but the ties between India and Portugal, and Europe and India, and India and everywhere else in the world, and everywhere else in the world with everywhere else in the world, are so much older than we like to acknowledge.  And that’s part of this time in Portugal.  It’s a totally different place, but it is also a place that has a strange bond with where they are both from.  In the same way that a homesick Portuguese person would feel a strange jolt in India when they stumbled into Goa.  Or that I felt a strange jolt when I was in India and landed in a Pizza Hut.  And so, when we call it “convenient” or “cheap”, we are minimizing hundreds of years of history and sacrifice and pain that have tied together these two countries, long before these two characters happened to stumble into this nightclub.

And that is all the weight that is coming down on them now.  The beauty of the music, the intimacy of the club, the historical weight of this story in the song, and the pain of longing that it is giving them.  And we see all that in a silent exchange.  They have become so wrapped within each other that there is no need to speak any more.

It starts with both of them watching.  Shahrukh is watching Anushka more than the singer.  Anushka is only watching the singer, lost within herself, and her face is trembling, literally trembling with pain.  Shahrukh gently leans towards her, angled towards her shoulder, it feels like he is about to drop a comforting kiss on her bare shoulder.  But he stops himself, and she turns towards him sensing his closeness.  He makes a slight face of concern, and she twists up her mouth and gestures towards the stage as in “obviously, this is so affecting, I can’t help myself!”  Shahrukh makes a small face of “sure sure, I understand”.  And then he turns back to the stage and reaches out and wraps his arm around her.  And she reaches up and locks her fingers into his, pulling his arm down and herself slightly tighter against him.  And they both look at the stage as tears run down her cheeks onto their clasped hands.

This exchange is just so brilliant!  It’s got so many layers to it.  As many as their own emotions.  Part of it is that this evening is exactly what they want to be doing, exactly what their life should be.  After all the exploring and experimenting, they have reached journey’s end, found what they should be to themselves and each other.

Let’s talk clothes again!  I mentioned way back how Anushka’s different evening outfits show her evolution and this is the culmination.  It’s that rich deep red, not the childish bright red of her Prague outfit, but something mature and womanly.  Her make-up is womanly too.  Subtle smokey eye and nothing else.  Someone who feels herself to be beautiful and knows how to highlight her beauty.  And then there’s Shahrukh.  Who hasn’t changed because he doesn’t need to.  He is in black, with a leather jacket, and his beard and wild hair.  But they fit together.  He isn’t trying to be a “bad boy” any more, isn’t preening himself for other women, or sneaking around like he is ashamed of himself.  He is there only for her, and his look is because he knows it pleases her, and it pleases him, not for the world.  When we look at them in this club, we see how they are meant to be.  A beautiful woman who likes dressing up for her husband and feeling beautiful with him, and a man who is comfortable in himself and who he is and glad that he can offer it to his wife.

And their interaction here, it is very spousal.  The silent making faces at each other in a club, even going to a club like this, where you know it will be a lowkey evening of beautiful music, not a wild night of crazy adventure.  And the physical connection here is also spousal.  There is no excitement like the tickle fight in Budapest, or her flirtation during “Phurr”.  This is just reaching for each other because during moments of great emotion, you want to have a physical connection with the person who means the most to you in the world.  It isn’t even that sexual, it is nothing anyone else in the club would feel uncomfortable observing, it’s just normal natural love touches between a couple who have been together long enough to be past the early infatuation, but are still very much in love.

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(It’s not like this.  It’s less fantasy love and more every day love)

Well, spousal with a slight holding back.  He wants to kiss her shoulder, but he doesn’t.  She wants to just be affected by the music and share that with her husband, but there is more than that happening.  Their hands are clinging together at the end because they are trying to cling on to this moment just a little longer, this moment when they are together and love each other and everything feels right.

This is our glimpse of them as they will be after the movie is over.  A couple who goes out for date nights and holds hands and he watches her crying when she hears something beautiful and it becomes more beautiful for him because of her tears.  They moved in some invisible way from boyfriend-girlfriend to husband-wife somewhere between Prague and Portugal, and now we are seeing them as a husband-wife who have been married for years.  Not on their honeymoon any more, but just happy together in their marriage.  And then the song ends.  And I should jump ahead to the next scene on the beach, but instead I want to finish my clothes thoughts.  So I am jumping aaaaallllllll the way ahead to the next time we see them on the street at the start of “Yaadon Mein”.  Which is finally on youtube in an abreviated version because Sony music is on the same schedule as me.

 

On the street, we get another glimpse of them as a married couple.  She has a coat on over her dress, a beige coat.  Practical, simple.  With flat shoes and a shoulder strap on her bag.  It’s not sexy or even that attractive really, especially compared to her other two evening outfits.  Which tells us two things.  First, that beautiful woman with the smokey eye and the red dress, that really was just for her husband.  She isn’t putting herself on display in the street, she is covering herself up.  And secondly, it is a sign of how comfortable she has become with her own body.  She knows she is sexy, knows Shahrukh desires her.  And so she will wear flat shoes and an easy purse and a simple coat.  And her sexy dress will be loose and simple and with a longer skirt.  It’s what makes her happy to wear, what she feels like herself in, and now she knows that is enough.  Even if no one else likes it, she does.  She doesn’t have to try any more, she doesn’t want to try any more.

And then there’s Shahrukh.  He hasn’t tried to be anything different than he is in years.  Even now, with all his demons slayed, he is still dressed and looks the same.  But he is acting differently.  We never saw him quite like this before, even with her.  It’s similar to “Phurr”, she is lost in her own self and needs him to guide her.  Only this time she is lost in her own heartbreak, and is even more fragile.  And he is even more caring, very gently guiding her through the streets and keeping his hands and arms on her the whole time.  His leather jacket and everything else doesn’t matter, he isn’t trying to look good or look “bad”, he is just wearing something to cover his body while his whole being is focused on Anushka.

Here’s a happy thought!  Speaking of this as a glimpse of them as a future married couple, this is what he is going to be like when she gets pregnant, isn’t it?  Shahrukh said in that interview that he pictured 3 kids for them.  And this is what I imagine he would be like, incredibly focused and caring and worried.  While she was lost within herself.  Expand it, any time she is in trouble, this is what he will be like.  If her father gets sick, if she has a fight with her sister, he won’t necessarily know exactly what to do or what to say (because he has such a hard time breaking through his reserve), but he will be there, watching her, watching over her.

And I will leave you with that nice thought before we go to the next scene, at the sea coast.

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27 thoughts on “Jab Harry Met Sejal Part 20: Portugal and India

  1. Wow, what a chance for me to read you after such a short span ot time after my comment on the previous scene…I’ll just have to go to finish my washing work to profit from the sun outside…then I’ ll come back to display my thoughts 🙂 (even though I may not be the first any more to respond to this analysis 😉 )
    ….
    Back I am 🙂 (Should I admit that I feel kind of addicted to your scene-to-scene analysises??? – although JabHarryMetSejal is the first I actively involve myself…I bet it is because of my rebellious mind that does not accept the response to this movie)

    There are some observations you did I really love…the colours, the intimacy, the Fado-location, the clothes…still there is a lot I perceived (and still feel) in another way.

    The colours: I mentioned that I think of Portugal (Lisbon + the stunning Capo = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabo_da_Roca ) as a ‘virgin territory’ when it comes to both of the characters, assuming that Harry has never been there before. Imo, it was the perfect place to give them the possibility to admit to each other to their love (keeping it still ‘virgin’ in a certain way). The warmth even at night, the mediterranian feel of vacationing, the open sea, the bright colours, discover a place in common…the sheer joy of life and being together… t h a t is simply Sejal’s honeymoon (so-to-say) – at least a honeymoon one could easily imagine for a couple deeply in love. (It was so so so revealing that she used this word three times in her conversation with her sister) She did not admit to be bound to Harry like a wife…not yet…she needed to clear out the past…but her happiness told her that she had found the perfect match.
    So, yes, the coulour white would be the most used…

    The intimacy: Harry and Sejal had already established an a-sexual intimacy as friend – friend. In my eyes it was the most ingenious approach to their finally coming to terms with their love Imtiaz did. The most secure love, the one which reaches the deepest, the one that gives to love-making a long-lasting and always enjoyable fulfillment is the feeling that you can talk to the other person on a friend-friend level…never a fear to admit shortcomings or to utter preferences, never the weird feeling of hearing confessions, without inhibitions being able to be playful, silly, quirky…whatever…having the same humerous level, the same understanding about life, the same wish to let the other be/to give space to the other that may only be for him-her.
    As I consider JabHarryMetSejal as the most mature of Imtiaz movie’s about (‘modern’) love – somehow a kind of closure – I am immensely happy that he did it with those two characters…and those two actors. ShahRukh as the actual Hindi-cinema-epitome of love/romance (matured in years and perception) and Anushka as the one of his heroines he shares a carefree friend-friend relationship (no sexual inuendo involved).
    Okay, this said, I still don’t think that Sejal is – consciously – on the ‘wifey’ level. ShahRukh’s caring for her is – since rather early – on the husband level…she has to see him threatened for life to get at the same caring level (which will be put into the background of her heart because of the fact that she had the ring with her all the time …oh Jeez, what a setback to her happiness, what a plunge out of her honeymoon).

    The Fado-location: that could very well be also a touristic location (the sign outside, the singer singing also in English)…Fado is a touristic attraction in Portugal/Lisbon and the locations generally are like this. Fado is sad, intimate, longing, touching, melancolic, not done for brilliant light (that is fandango/flamenco).
    I liked your observation of Harry refraining from kissing Sejal’s shoulder…he was right, it would have been out of place because she was not involved in Harry and his presence but in the mood of the song…he did not even touch her slightly only having the arm on her chair showing his togetherness with her. It was his leaning forward, his eyes on her, his slight mouvement in her direction and his retraction that made her looking at him…she just had felt that he wanted to convey something but did not. But somehow her reaction, the silent exchange of thoughts gave him the signal that closeness will be okay…a very reassuring one…for both (their hands together reminded me of the finger-intertwining after the love-making in KabhiAlvida…it’s the most close two people can get baring tight hugs, lip-kisses or intercourse). At that very moment I thought that both will make love afterwards.

    I was genuinely surprised that they did not…but then we would not have gotten this goosebumps-giving shouts…and that would have been a pity!

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    • One thing with Anushka not being quite a wife to him yet (which I agree with), is that she hasn’t had the opportunity. That is, in his position as tour guide AND as the older partner AND as the man, there were many situations in which he would naturally act in a husbandly fashion. Carrying bags, escorting her in and out of places, buying tickets, arranging hotel rooms, etc. etc. But she hasn’t had that opportunity to turn around and take care of him really, not until after the fight. At which point she immediately steps up and takes that role. I think she needed something to trigger it, and I wonder if that trigger had happened earlier, if she would have grown up faster.

      On Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 6:15 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • A caring feeling that would give her the feeling of being his wife/woman who belongs to him??? no, I think there wasn’t any situation before Gas threatening him with the weapon.
        It needed the fear for his life to make her realize that Rupen was in no way the man she would like to care for.

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  2. Brava, again! I wondered if you noticed that Yaadon Mein is out. 🙂

    Reading about her red jacket at the beginning reminded me, the more times I watch the movie, the funnier it gets that her shirt at the beginning and in the first hotel/restaurant says “Offline” in a big red stripe–across her heart, across her breasts. A bit on the nose, but still pretty funny.

    The scene in the club with the woman singing Fado is so moving. Anushka beautifully conveys that feeling you get sometimes in the first flush of love that you are raw, no defenses. And the knowledge of soon parting intensifies everything. You want to experience every moment to the fullest because the moments are limited, but then you realize that feeling is changing the present moment, so you try to forget again for a bit. And from Shah Rukh’s point of view, there is protectiveness and care, but also he’s moved that she’s moved by the place and experience he’s brought her to.

    It reminds me powerfully of the scene with Cher and Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck when she agrees to meet him at the opera, and then is moved to tears by La Boheme. And Cher’s even wearing a similar red (and she’s engaged to someone else, and this shot shows her engagement ring). I’m not saying Imtiaz borrowed anything, just that, as you say, many of us have felt these feelings, and deep red is a good color for conveying them.

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    • Why not take ideas from other movies…basically there may be nothing that wasn’t already expressed through books or movies…so much variations on the same theme which exists since (and until) feelings for another one exist 🙂

      Yes, I noted the “offline” part…that’s why I thought that there could be the deliberate decision of Sejal to get off the line (or off-line = separated). It is one of my ‘variations’ which would not forcibly end with Harry and Sejal getting together (although my affection is very much into a happy ending).

      There still is a lot of innocence in Sejal…her reaction with the “Queen-sized-bed”, leaning on Harry and her emotional reaction to the Fado song are very pure…

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  4. Cannot wait for the next installments! Your blog is as exciting as the film. Am loving the growing intimacy between Harry & Sejal; it’s so logically fueled by external forces which have led to internal growth & awareness on both their parts.
    JHMS is at the same time both a very simple film & an extremely complex & layered one. But the complexities are so well & subtly integrated that I can see where at a casual first watch it might come off as under-developed. Like life (and live itself) it makes you work a bit to fully get it.
    I saw it 19 times before it was yanked out of my local (Tampa, FL) theater enjoying it more each time. There’s very little about a love story that isn’t actually a cliche because everything about love is so universally true. But the director has managed in my opinion to present a fresh take. That’s interesting because it’s the 3rd time SRK & Anushka have given us a new take on romance.
    I think this was only possible because they are themselves complex & introspective people as well as amazing actors. Hats off especially to SRK who, contrary to the opinions of obviously blind & emotionally stunted reviewers, keeps coming out of himself to inhabit each new role & make it iconic.
    One of my favorite aspects of the film is the way both Harry’s & Sejal’s restraints & perceived limitations are giving them the time & space to be able to reach that type of love you keep mentioning: husband & wife in the best possible sense because it comes out of friendship & mutual appreciation.
    Have I mentioned how incredibly hot SRK looks as Harry??? I laugh whenever I read someone’s stupid & plainly jealous assertion that he is too old to play a romantic hero! He has gone from being a truly beautiful man-child (more beautiful than most of his heroines) to emerge as an extremely handsome man. Usually the first 3 or 4 times I watch one of his films I’m simply staring at him!
    Again~thanks so much for this insightful & always entertaining step by step analysis of JHMS. Keep it coming, please!

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    • 100% agree about SRK’s looks. His age has helped transform him in the last few years from being adorably boyish to downright handsome with the kind of gravitas he didn’t have before. It was so overpowering in Dear Zindagi that it takes the viewer out of their element because the rest of the movie recedes. He is almost too big for the screen.
      In JHMS, he was the clearly the one providing the sex appeal which is pretty rare in movies. It’s usually left to the leading actress but here, even in scenes like the one where Anuskha is pole dancing, it’s SRK sitting all blase on the side who is really the sexy one.
      I think most of the ‘professional’ reviews of BW movies come from men so they are oblivious to the appeal. Or maybe they do see the appeal which may be more infuriating for them since I don’t see the anger towards all the other actors who work opposite younger girls. SRK has sort of emerged into having a more threatening sexuality than the others in his age range.

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      • I love this comment. I’ve always felt that Shahrukh has a kind of threatening sort of masculinity, in his comfort with his feminine side. While most male actors feel the need to apologize for being romantic leads, or sex objects. Or to justify themselves through action roles or serious drama, Shahrukh has always been firm about his willingness to be a sex symbol, to take second place to a heroine, to not look down on romance.

        And you’re right, as he has aged that has just become more and more apparent. He did “Dard-E-Disco” at age 43! And he’s just gone on from there in his willingness to use his sexuality to please his audience. With the younger actors you can explain it away as “they’re young, they are trying to get noticed, they will grow out of this” but with Shahrukh it is clear that this is his choice, and that it is working. He is gaining fans every day, even if his box office has dropped off, his public appearance and brand ambassador fees keep climbing. And when he is opposite a younger actress onscreen, I am sorry that he isn’t with an older actress because I think his interactions with women close to his own age are richer, but I don’t find it unbelievable or disgusting or unappealing to see them opposite each other. In the same way I would with his contemporaries, or even younger than him. Hrithik in Mohenjo Daro, for instance, I found somehow more distasteful opposite an actress just 10-15 years younger than him, than Shahrukh opposite Anushka, over 20 years younger than him. He wears his age and male power lightly, it doesn’t effect him and therefore it doesn’t effect me watching him. And i can believe that is disturbing for a male audience, just like it was disturbing to watch him in the bathtub in a lux ad or getting naked for the camera in Dard-E-Disco.

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        • Loved this comment … about SRK’s age and working with younger women.
          Seriously there is no one in the industry who is as good looking as him… he is so comfortable in his skin, while others make efforts to look good.. but it comes naturally to him. His beard , healthy hair …his body is also just so perfect, he never gained an inch on wrong place in entire 25 years. He has admitted that he not a very gym person. Also says that its not that he wears special good clothes but the clothes look good on him (thats absolutely true! )
          The only actor as effortless in terms of looks is Ranbir but he is very young..lets see how he carries himself at 52 🙂
          Rest all the actors mainly focus on body building and all because they think thats the way they can look hot and appealing (Varun/ Ranvir / many others)
          Have u guys noticed him when he went to a party with suhana in orange dress and he is dressed in black shirt and pants ! how amazing he looks in this simple attire …. Entire JHMS … he looks so good right from first safar song where his jackets are very different and suit him perfectly ! till the end in black suit … i bet no one on this earth looks so dashing in a black suit as he does. I dont know if anyone noticed this but he is looking one shade darker than his normal self … specially his hands n chest. His chest mostly looks reddish may be due to that tatto printing again and again. Notice this in making video too.. where a makeup guy is putting something on his chest and he opens up hsi shirt for him…. !

          Coming on to the working with younger women … god knows why people dont point this about other actors (salman is of same age as him has worked with anushka last year, jaquline , n whole big lot of new comer girls )
          SRK was asked this in interview n he laughed n said that what can i do if only younger girls are working right now… older ones (most of them) have stopped working … i dont discuss actresses with makers … if they chose alia for a role then how can i say …’ No alia pehle jao n thodi badi hoke aao’ ….( go n grow up first then i will work with u …lol)
          Also on a side note he is extremely comfortable with Anushka as they are great friends… not like him n kajol but still … he brought her on show in which u need to come with your best friend… I am not sure how many of u have seen that program (its in hindi) but it was amazing… their tuning is bang on. She tells how she wants to steal few things from him ( i can share the link if anyone is interested to see this 🙂 )
          He admitted that his daughter is also very fond of anushka.

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          • I noticed that he seemed darker in this film! In a strange way, it felt part of his more natural performance. I think usually it’s not that he is “lighter”, it’s that they are packing on the make-up and the lighting and all to lighten him. But in this, it was just himself.

            On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 12:02 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. I had a four-hour drive through the western Pennsylvania mountains yesterday, and listened to the soundtrack four times, turning the movie over in my mind. I have started playing with different combinations of main characters — not just lovers, but friends, a step-parent and a child, even a human and a stray dog. The beauty of the story is that the same process that leads Harry and Sejal to love could also (I think) lead to other deep attachments. I had been visiting with a very dear friend, a relationship that began when we were randomly assigned as roommates on a women’s retreat. We never disliked each other, but the early years of our acquaintance were marked with some very heartfelt arguments about our different views on the world. But the fact is we really do something for each other that we didn’t even know we needed.

    Which is why I loved the friendships in Dear Zindagi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a fascinating thought! I think maybe what JHMS is showing us, more than anything, is soulmates finding each other. And soulmates don’t necessarily have to be romantic. That shock of connection that they feel is separate from falling in love, it is something more than that and less than that.

      Which is part of the reason it is so hard to get a handle on them, because it isn’t the normal kind of falling in love. It’s soulmates adjusting to that bond and, separately from that, resolving the sexual part of their relationship which is the only thing that is missing.

      On Sat, Aug 26, 2017 at 7:07 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Beautiful interpretation of the kind of love JabHarryMetSejal also show…and as I already wrote, there could be a story (a variation) that wouldn’t end in a romantic relationship between Haary and Sejal. That’s what I see in the title and in some scenes which could lead elsewhere.

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    • I think what makes the difference for me in this being the only truly “happy” ending is that marriage is the only way they could spend their lives together. Like, if they were business partners, or in-laws, or brother and sister, or just good friends, I think that could still be a happy ending, the point is that they need to be in each others lives to be fully happy and fulfilled. But as a young man and woman with the background they have, the only way they could be in each other’s lives for ever and ever is marriage. Does that make sense? If I picture an ending with them saying “let’s skype each other every week and write long emails”, that would still be happy. But they would never do that, these particular people, if they weren’t in a romantic relationship, it just wouldn’t be acceptable for either of them to do that with an unmarried person of the opposite sex.

      On Sat, Aug 26, 2017 at 1:50 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. The scene in the club is so beautiful, almost dreamy. We’ve all felt as if certain songs speak just to us. Sejal is reacting with so much emotion and Harry responds in kind. They are both in love and yet there is this searing pain of impending separation. Knowing what we know as the audience, we just want to slap both of them and say – speak up and tell each other. But they can’t, not yet.

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    • It feels like, especially in this scene, their emotions are so strong that they aren’t even able to see them themselves. Like, they have fallen in so deep that they can’t see which way is up. This version of “love” is so completely different from anything he has felt with his other women, or what she had with Rupen, that they couldn’t necessarily put a name to it.

      On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 2:50 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. Nancy, that’s why I thought that the following scene would be a love-making scene. But the way Imtiaz saw Sejal’s evolution he decided that it wasn’t yet the right time. In addition, their intimicy should not get a fulfillment with the thought of separation lingering in their minds – apparently a traumatic thought for Harry. As we witness later, she indeed needs first to clear her home-situation to be and feel free to concentrate her feelings on Harry, to be ‘his’ Sejal in every way.I

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  9. This scene is nothing less than magic !
    Seeing this whole sequence n next shouting by sea scene.. just breaks my heart
    How come people can not like this movie 😦
    It has such amazing scenes … i have not seen such romantic emotional scenes in any movie lately.

    read your interpretation and it is bang on… it was nice how u explained about Portuguese sailors and Indian connection…. The song lady was singing make so much sense to me now.
    Songs are so beautifully used and people say that there are too many songs in the movie. Its actually sad.

    Just one thing i wanted to point out as i saw this scene some zillion of times about what she made that strange face … he is looking at her more than the singer in beginning. She is trying not to look at him as she has tears in her eyes and dont want to show it to him. Though he is in same situation and is fully aware that she is crying.
    When he leans closer /forward to her she looks away in opposite direction to hide her tears. Then he comes closer to almost kiss her shoulder she realizes this proximity and turns her face towards him and makes a face which says — ‘ what is this singer singing .. its crap … boring ….(in hindi she is saying YEH KYA HAI? ‘ He smiles and understands that she is just making this face so that she can hide her emotions… but she fails miserably …. and he agrees to her ‘YEH KYA HAI’

    then their eyes meet properly … both see tears in each others eyes and can no longer hold them ..anu is properly crying with tears rolling on cheeks and then Shah adjusts his seat so that he is able to move his arm around her. Such small detailing … makes this so amazing …. anu’s lips trembling… Shah’s throat movements like he has something stuck which is not going in and not coming out…. !

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    • Yes! i’ve watched this moment over and over, and they both do such a good job of crying like their hearts are breaking. It’s not huge sobs, it’s sort of leaking out of them as they try to keep the pain in and it overwhelms them.

      On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 1:03 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. I am surfing through your writings and the comments because vacation + got a subtitled movie (nevertheless I want to buy the DVD for watching the movie with my projector on the wall – like cinema).
    Portugal – India…indeed the song makes sense as Goa was a Portuguese colony.

    turns of the movie: both helping – through their emotional groth and deep (platonic) friendship – to deal with partners they already have/had…Sejal with Rupen (who may love the new Sejal) and Harry goes back to Frankfurt…to Klara…apologizing…maybe they had a connection that got deeper than others and the old Harry could not deal with it.
    The not-lovemaking in Lisbon could still remain just with a little change in the line/dubbing Harry says about ‘not being right’.

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    • Ah yes, and the end of Phurrrr should be another scene because till then none og both has admitted to the wish of making love (the fiancé-scene could very well remain as playacting)…wow, basically all scenes till the end of Phurr could be read in the way of platonic love)

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      • Exactly! It’s a really interesting movie to think about that way, because they all could be read as platonic love, but they could also be read as a romantic love so deep that it feels platonic. It just depends on a few small moments.

        On Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 5:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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