Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Part 23: Mostly Raula

I have SO MANY thoughts!  SO MANY!  And you probably won’t agree with them based on what has already been said in the comments.  But that will just make it more fun for all of us! (Full index of JHMS posts here)

Previously: Almost the entire film happened.  Anushka and Shahrukh were traveling together through Europe, he was officially the guide her family was paying to keep her company while she looked for a lost engagement ring, but within a day of traveling together they had begun to be more than that to each other.  Now, they had survived a dangerous experience, in the middle of which Anushka found her lost ring.  But she hide it from Shahrukh instead of telling him.  And when they went back to the hotel, they almost had sex.  But Shahrukh stopped just before a kiss, because he didn’t want to do it “like this”.  So instead Anushka just held him until he went to sleep.


I mentioned in the last section, or the section before last (I’m confused) how we have been primarily within the minds of both characters simultaneously.  What I mean by that is, for instance, when they are meeting Karla, Shahrukh and Anushka are thinking different things, but we know what both of them are thinking.  They are both onscreen together, the camera shows their reactions and the dialogue gives us a clue as to what they are each feeling.  But there was a break in the last (or before last) section when Anushka found the ring and didn’t tell Shahrukh, keeping herself outside of him for the first time.  And when Shahrukh briefly loses track of Anushka after he is attacked and panics until he can see her again.

And now we have another break.  We are with Shahrukh as he wakes up.  He is huddled in blankets and pillows, still in the clothes from last night, but rumpled.  His phone goes off, he reaches for it, disoriented.  We can tell that he slept, slept well, for a long long time.  I mentioned at the end of the last section that this is the first time Shahrukh has slept in a bed.  The other two times they slept together, Anushka had to get down on the floor to join him.


(I didn’t notice before how he is lightly touching her hip.  Just to make sure she is still there)

Remember, Shahrukh has been in the habit of sleeping for shelter.  He admitted that he just finds “someone” at the end of a tour to kill a few weeks until the next tour starts.  And we saw in “Safar” how he gets thrown out of one woman’s bed, and goes to sleep on a train bench.  Being able to sleep safe and warm and comfortable is a luxury for him.  And Anushka has given him that, brought her into her bed and asked nothing from him in return.  Made him feel safe and loved and happy.

And now he wakes up and sees her, with this glow behind her.  She is fully dressed, moving around, packing, in front of  the window.  She sees he is awake and informs him that Mayank has sent tickets for Frankfurt, but they have two hours, plenty of time.

The safeness and the love from last night, when she embraced him, it is still here in the morning.  This is why he could sleep so late, because she was still taking care of him.  We can fill in the blanks, that she crept out of bed without disturbing him, arranged his blankets and pillows around him, got dressed without making noise, called Mayank from another room, and now she is packing for both of them.  It’s the little things, the wifely things, the “I am doing this not because it is my duty, but because you had a hard night and this is the give and take of love and life” things.

And then there is one of the best interactions of the film.  Shahrukh looks at her, all rumpled with sleep, registering that she did all of this for him, and gives her a sexy “come over here”.  And Anushka has this tender smile that flicks in and out of existence before she switches to a bigger brighter smile and a casual “Oh fo!  Anywhere, any time! Tch!” and turns and walks away while Shahrukh smiles after her.

This is the start of their true married life.  They are past the insecurities over sex, they are past flirting and being nice to each other, Shahrukh can give her a casual come on with no hang ups, he has the right to ask her for sex whenever he is in the mood.  And Anushka can turn him down with laugh and a joke and go back to packing his socks.  And Anushka is so tenderly proud of this.  So proud that Shahrukh is treating her like this, feels comfortable treating her this way.  And so proud that she knows how to respond now, she knows what will make him happy.  Not the awkward fumbling before, and not the eager response that would put pressure on him, but a laugh and a turn down, because sex isn’t all she wants from him, isn’t all she needs him for, and isn’t all she can offer him.

And we go right from this scene to “Raula”.  There was a mention in the last scene about how Frankfurt is where Mayank’s engagement is happening, a little reminder for the audience in case we forgot.  And now we are at the engagement.  Anushka is running around everywhere, one of my favorite touches is that she is still wearing the old pants she had on when she was packing underneath her fancy Kameez.  She is coordinating the candles, bossing everyone around, rushing out to greet Evelyn Sharma when she and her parents arrive at the venue.  And she isn’t doing it in an elegant “I am a beautiful graceful marriageable young woman” way.  She is doing it like the sister-in-law of the groom, the woman in the background of all those “I am a beautiful graceful marriageable young woman” songs, the bossy one who is trying to get the heroine to focus and hang marigolds or whacking her on the knuckles when she tries to steal sweets.

(Very different from this.  The Anushka in this is that white woman in the background in “Raula” with the odd twisted sari, the sexy young woman flirting around.  And the Anushka in “Raula” is one of the older women who are sitting in the background doing the food and stuff)

That’s one of the best parts of this sequence, that Shahrukh and Anushka are showing the kind of romance we don’t usually get to see in films, Indian or otherwise, the married couple who is in love, but has a lot of other stuff going on in their lives too.  It’s a partner with SRKajol in “Bole Chudiyan”, or “Aye Meri Johra Zabin” from either Waqt or DDLJ.  So, Anushka isn’t in her perfect sari with her perfect hair at the beginning, she is in her old pants because she still has too much to do.  And the first time she interacts with Shahrukh isn’t a perfect flirtatious couplet, it is to boss him around and get him to light candles.  Only, with a big smile just for him, just because they aren’t having a beautiful poetic wedding moment doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.

And then the song starts.  First with Shahrukh carefully putting on his turban, not just a wedding turban, but a real one.  He does it seriously, we know this is a big deal for him.  He is regaining part of his identity.  One thing I noticed on a rewatch and forgot to mention in my last post was that even “dream” Shahrukh of “Yaadon Mein” (whether it is Anushka’s dream of him or his projection of himself) is still wearing his steel bracelet.  It is that much a part of himself.  And getting back the turban, that is a big deal too.

And once again, just like in that morning scene, Anushka has the perfect reaction.  He comes out kind of shy, she sees him, sees on his face that he feels shy, and instead of making it even more uncomfortable for him, even more of a deal, she consciously overreacts, pretends to faint, makes it such a big deal that it becomes no deal at all.  While still acknowledging that it is a deal for him.  This is why Anushka is perfect for him, he needs that light/heavy touch.  He needs someone to make fun of his angst while still letting him have it.

And then he comes out and taps the microphone into a rhythm before he starts to sing.  This is the one song of the film done by Diljit.  I find it fascinating how many singers worked on this soundtrack.  There is almost a pattern to it.  Arijit is the voice of Shahrukh’s inner self.  He sings “Safar”, he sings “Hawayein”.  But then he also sings “Beech Beech Mein”, which is also partly a “real” song!  And then Shahid Mallya only does “Radha” and Diljit only does this.  And Mohit Chauhan does “Ghar” and “Phurr”.  And there is a whole different crew of musicians who come in for “Butterfly” and “Yaadon Mein”.  I think it’s because this is such an incredibly deep soundtrack, and they wanted each song to be presented in the best possible way.  And the film situations allow for that as well, Shahrukh has his internal voice, his disco karaoke voice, there is the voice Anushka hears through her headphones, the voice he uses to sing to her just for fun, and now, here, his performing voice.  Which is why it is so great to use Diljit for this. He has a natural light voice, a voice that isn’t just for playback singing, but sounds good outside of a studio.  And he also doesn’t sound super complicated, super practiced.  This isn’t Arijit’s crazy complex presentation of “Hawayein”, or Mohammed Irfan’s soulful long notes in “Yaadon Mein”.  This is something you can believe a young man from a village would have taught himself, and would still be able to do years later with no practice.

Plus, the song itself is right.  Yes, in the context of the film, the use of “Raula” has all kinds of meaning for these two people.  But remove that added layer, this is a simple song that could be easily used for any occasion.  We can picture Shahrukh singing it dozens of times as a boy in his village for every major celebration, and in the early years in Canada when he was hired for weddings.  And then setting it aside for over a decade, only to find, after some initial hesitation, that he can still perform just as good as he ever could.

What really makes it, again, is the interactions with Anushka as he sings.  He starts, she smiles (because she always smiles when he sings) and then one of his first lines references “Lal dupatta” with a little wink in her direction.  And she gives a big reaction all “Oh my gosh, you mentioned me!”  A sincere reaction this time, not a purposeful overreaction like before, but she is sincerely delighted that he thinks she looks pretty.  A good sign for their married life, 20 years from now she will probably still be delighted every time he tells her she looks pretty.

What makes it a “married” moment, is that after her reaction, she turns away to give more directions about seating and stuff.  And comes back to dance for him not just because he is singing to her, but because she is trying to get the rest of the people to dance.  Yes, he is singing to her, and she is loving it, but they are also aware that they are hosting this party, that they have to make sure everyone has a good time, it isn’t just about their love story, it is about their love story as part of a bigger world.  They are taking the love and support they give each other and giving it out to the rest of the world.

(Am I the only person who kept thinking “well of course she knows how to work a wedding crowd, she had all that experience from back when she was a wedding planner”?)

They get everyone up and singing and dancing, and then the song shifts, they are still singing to each other, or at least hearing the song in the background, but they have moved on to routine tasks, setting tables and putting out flowers.  This is the rhythm of life now, happy and bouncy even if it is just everyday things.  And flirty too, soft flirting while setting the table.  It’s a nice pairing with the end of “Beech Beech Mein”, once again we see that they have the kind of relationship that makes something as everyday as setting the table into a game.  This is supposed to be a movie about traveling through Europe, but in fact they have the most fun when they aren’t doing the exciting travel things, but just the regular life kind of things.

And then, my most interesting bit, the money stuff!  Towards the end of the song, the caterer arrives, Shahrukh has his hands full with bags, so Anushka grabs the receipt, then signals to him she needs his wallet, digs in his pocket for it, pulls it out, hands over the money, then teases him and holds the wallet away for a bit, before tossing it back to him.  This is the culmination of all the money-money-money moments that have come up between them in the rest of the film.

Way way way back at the beginning, Anushka was pushing Shahrukh to take her back to the hotel, to take responsibility for her.  He finally agreed because he had to, and she translated it as “It’s always about money!”  As in, the poor servant class only cares about money, he was just holding her up for more, he doesn’t have anything else on his mind ever.  It’s so dismissive and infuriating on all kinds of levels, that poor people have no inner lives beyond greed.  And that attitude of “why can’t they just forget about money?” which is something only people so rich that they have never had to think about money think.

Later, when Shahrukh is trying to get rid of her, he offers to buy her a coffee, he will pay, it is free for her.  Trying to speak her language, give back the money she is offering, and she rejects it.  Casually, without thinking, only getting the message of “coffee”, which she dismisses as having caffeine, not the message that he is trying to put them back on an equal footing by offering to spend money on her like she spent money on him.

And later in that scene, Anushka brings it back to the money, saying he should accept the job of escorting her, she will pay him daily wages for very little work, it will be like a paid holiday for him.  She doesn’t understand that offering any money at all makes him an employee, and that is exactly what he is trying to escape.  She just keeps offering more of it, and that’s what makes him more and more reluctant.


Once he takes the job, money doesn’t come up again at all for a long time.  In a kind of surprising way.  He is organizing hotel rooms and tickets and she is going shopping, and we never see money change hands or even a credit card.  Which means that, most likely, she has given him control over her money.  He is technically her employee, but he is also using her money (or more accurately, probably her father’s money) to pay for both their hotel rooms, their tickets, their food.  This is probably what Anushka is used to, as a rich girl she would have various employees who just “organize” stuff for her, invisibly.  She most likely doesn’t think about money beyond knowing that it is a way to maintain power over people by giving it to them.  And now Shahrukh is one of those people who invisibly control and use her money, a trusted employee, but still an employee.  And, I am guessing, this is also something Shahrukh is used to.  Having an open line of credit while working for these kind of people, saving receipts and submitting them for reimbursement, living a good life so long as he is with them, and then falling back down to homelessness once the tour is over.

But then Karla appears.  And suddenly Anushka switches into professional mode, where money has meaning for her.  And when it comes up, she orders Shahrukh to pull out his wallet and give money to Karla, even takes it from his hand when he is reluctant to hand it over.  Money isn’t unlimited or meaningless here, she is showing an awareness that Shahrukh has a limited amount of funds, but also an awareness that she has a right to order him around over what to do with them.  Well, order in a limited way.  Money has gone from being how she controls him, to a sign of his growing control over her.  She went from thinking of him as someone who only wants money to thinking of someone who has money that she wants from him.  She is giving him that power over her that she used to have over him.  And in a much greater way than simply accepting a cup of coffee from him.

And now, at the end of “Raula”, the money dynamic has completely shifted.  From her offering unlimited funds for him to use for tickets and hotels and his own salary, now she is expecting the same from him, taking the bill, grabbing his wallet, paying it, all without him even seeing the amount.  And teasing him about giving the wallet back.  It is no longer “her money” as it was at the beginning, or “his money” as it was with Karla.  Now it is “their money”.

And I can believe that “their money” was enough to put together this event.  That’s the other part of this sequence, showing how happy Anushka is in this tiny little middle class party.  Heck, she is the one who put it together!  It’s not just that she is happy there, it is that this is her dream, this is what she wants, this is what she designed.

It’s in a nice room, but a small room, just the right size for the small party they have put together.  The performer is Shahrukh.  The waiters are Shahrukh and Anushka setting the tables.  The chef is the take-out restaurant who brought the dinner over.  And Anushka’s outfit is gorgeous, a bright pink Kameez and gold Salwar, but it isn’t perfect and fancy.  It isn’t even that fitted.  And she can move in it, and does move in it, she is dancing Bhangra for Shahrukh, crawling on the floor with the kids, having a wonderful time.

Now, jumping ahead, this is very different from the wedding Anushka would have had in Bombay.  There is no big staff to greet the guests by showering them with perfume, an elegant receiving line for formal wishes and gift giving, showy professional decorations.  That is what Anushka is “supposed” to want, the big impressive wedding.  But she doesn’t.  This is what, in her heart of hearts, she always wanted.  She just didn’t know it until now.  Didn’t know that the reason she always felt uncomfortable with her fiance, with her family, was that she didn’t belong there, she belongs here, where she can be loud and bossy and in charge, she can wear jeans and play with kids, and not worry about being perfect all the time.

It’s a cliche that the “poor little rich girl” is happier once she married the poor man.  But it’s also, in some ways, kind of true.  At least, what is true is that leaving the class you were born into can make it easier to figure out who you are outside of what you are supposed to be.  And for this particular character, the freedom available to the wife of a educated globe-trotting middle-class Punjabi man is a lot greater than what would be available to her as either a proper daughter to a wealthy father, or a proper wife to a wealthy husband.  Not saying marrying some random Punjabi farmer would necessarily give her a better life, but this particular man, this aggressively free-thinking man, he can give her a whole new life.

(Amisha probably ended up with a freer life too, but that’s just because her father was Amrish Puri, under normal circumstances marrying traditional farmer Sunny probably wouldn’t have been the freest life for her)

That’s also, I think, why Evelyn Sharma’s family has to be white.  This is a Punjabi wedding party, but with a twist.  Anushka and Shahrukh can put it together however they want, because the guests won’t know any better.  And it isn’t anything that fits into any established rules, because this is a situation outside of the rules.

It gets more rule breaking at the end of the song once they get back to Shahrukh’s apartment.  They are having chai, but chai in miss-matched cups, without enough chairs, with the bride’s white family.  But everyone is happy, and that is all that matters.  There is another wonderful moment here, while they are making chai, Shahrukh looks at Anushka and is suddenly overcome with love and blows her a sweet sexy kiss.  Anushka takes a moment and then, again, she knows that the overreaction is the best reaction.  So she blows him a big smacking kiss in return and he pretends on overreaction, and then the moment is over and they return to their guests.

The thing is, this is how Shahrukh expresses love.  He is just naturally sexy when he does it.  Especially with Anushka, both because he knows she is starved for that kind of affection, and because he likes seeing how easily he can throw her off with it.  But Anushka can’t respond in kind.  It’s not in her nature.  But she has learned that she doesn’t have to change her nature, she has found a middle way, big enthusiastic response, her way of showing love.  It’s an odd back and forth, a super sexy soft kiss with a big smacking childlike kiss in return, but it works for them, because they know that the same love is ultimately behind both gestures.

And then they bring the chai, serve everyone, have a small moment when they realize there are too few cups and make Mayank and Evelyn share.  And finally, photo time, Anushka fusses and pulls the towel off Shahrukh’s shoulder at the last minute, and then drops into her photo face.  But a different photo face.  A “Bhabhi of the groom” face.  A dignified smile, not a shy one or a soft one, a mature happy big smile.  This is what Anushka should be, a confident mature woman running her own household.  And this is what she probably would never have been allowed to be with “Rupen”.  Not with all the sisters and mothers and everyone else in his household, all the people she was worried about nagging her over the ring.  This is another reason that Shahrukh is a better husband for this “poor little rich girl”.  He is at a level of society where it is easy to lose track of relatives, to end up striking out on your own.  And Anushka can strike out with him, so long as her husband is happy with her, she doesn’t have to worry about anyone else.

At least, she doesn’t worry about anyone else until she is shocked awake from this dream and shocks Shahrukh awake too.  But that is for another post.  I’ll be back with that tomorrow (or today?  Depends on what time zone you are in and how fast I write it).

44 thoughts on “Jab Harry Met Sejal Scene By Scene Part 23: Mostly Raula

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

  2. There is an Indian cultural thing at work here. She is being a total wife in a way that is completely recognizable to any Indian watching.

    1. in the morning in the bedroom she says “aap bhi na, kahi bhi shuru ho jaate ho!” Its not a repeat of her anywhere, anytime line from before, but a very Indian thing that maybe we have heard our moms or aunts say. Especially that “aap bhi na”. Its such a Mummy speaking to Pappa moment 🙂

    Its like how all Indian aunties used to call their husband as “Suniye” and never by name. My mom used to call my dad as “Listen” (english translation of Suniye! LOLMAX!). For the longest time as a kid I thought his name was actually Listen! 😀 Now post JHMS, I think if someone young called their husband/lover as Suniye it would be extremely romantic in a very old-fashioned way 🙂

    Second, that taking his purse thing, that is also a very mom-dad sort of behavior. Dad never give their purse to mom, and of course he is the person who makes the monetary decisions, but sometimes when his hands are full, mom knows exactly which pocket of his has the purse 🙂 And then once she gets the purse in the hand she teases him about not giving it back and spending it all on some shopping spree. She does that in the movie- where after paying the caterer she runs ahead throwing the purse up and down and he runs behind her trying to get it back. CUTIES!

    Third, that photocall when she takes off his towel from his shoulder. God, thats so classic mom. The number of times my mom has done it. And my dad just fake protests that she likes to look “perfect” for photos 🙂 AWW!

    I love Imtiaz for giving me so much nostalgia of my parents and all Indian parents. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think Sejal’s kiss back to Harry was very sexy and sexual. But she has an exxagerated personality while Harry has a calm, suave personality. That part of her personality is not childish per se. Its her earlier approach/reaction to things that is childish. Now her sexuality is expressed through her exxageration.

      Its like Poo in K3G. She’s no child. She’s very sexual. But she’s exxageratedly sexual because that’s just her. I don’t see her as a caricature I just think she’s adorable! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agree, p…her being sexual is such a joyful feeling for her…it’s like those bubbles in champagne that almost makes you dance through everything you do…

        Thanks for your input about some nice traits of Indian family life 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • It goes back to that moment in Radha again, where she started to do the sexy strip, and then gave up and just went back to herself. She can try another way, but it isn’t natural to her, and that makes it less sexy than her big over the top gestures that do come naturally.

        On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 3:37 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


        Liked by 2 people

    • What I love is that all those interactions, even without the context, feel like a long time married thing to do. And then the specifics of the Indian culture just make it deeper. That’s my favorite kind of touch, where it makes sense even without context, and then more sense with it.

      On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 3:33 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 2 people

        • I am working on a blog post of my own on this question. An expansion of my comment on an earlier thread that people who think this film is shallow are just looking in a mirror. Will post a link when it is fully baked.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Strangely I would not like to ‘admonish’ anyone… I know it is impossible to be told by everybody, but I would like to hear/read the HONEST personal reason why there wasn’t a connect. I could assume a lot yet when it comes to real people I don’t like to do that.
            I know for a fact that word of mouth was manipulated and that it influenced people to not watching the movie…and I know that also a lot just rehashed what others had told to others without having watched the movie…and then there are those critics who just play out their power to damage, to hurt…
            Do you imagine that there are people who feel such a personal connect to ShahRukh that they feel betrayed when he does things that hurts their morality or feelings in general? And will not ‘forgive’ him…

            Liked by 1 person

          • For the sample size of two that I know who did not like the film (one of whom I saw it with and one I didn’t), they had different reasons. One friend is not a Shahrukh fan, but is a big fan of Indian film and very knowledgable about it. And she absolutely hated this movie. She felt like it was a wasted opportunity, it could have been a big happy film of the 90s style, she spent the whole movie thinking about how it could have been different.

            And the other friend who I did see it with, the one who found it “cheesy”, she is a Shahrukh fan but not a movie person in general, and I could see her interest drift in the second half as it changed from fighting and big dramatic moments to smaller shifts. If you are only looking at the surface, seeing it as a standard romance, it could be “cheesy”, hearing a love song together in a cafe and all of that isn’t exactly original.

            The first friend, she saw it opening night, so she wasn’t influenced by critics or word of mouth. But she was influenced by the promotional campaign, which had promised her something she didn’t get, and therefore she HATED what she got. I mean, I don’t think she would have liked it much anyway (we saw Highway together and neither of us much liked it), but I think she might have hated it less if she didn’t feel like it was so different from what was promised.

            The other friend, that was my fault, I sold it as a super sexy SRK romance. And it is sexy, but it isn’t the big starry SRK film she thought it would be from my description.

            the other 4 people I took to see it, I primed them in advance that this was going to be kind of a deep character study, they had to be prepared to pay close attention and really think about the unspoken emotions and everything. And they enjoyed it.

            On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 8:14 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

          • It won’t be critical of folks who didn’t like or get it, just more of an analysis of the reasons for changes in reaction. I am less snarky in my professional writing, I promise!

            Liked by 2 people

      • Indeed. It’s something anyone could do but it’s so specific to our childhoods watching mom and dad. It’s like dhak dhak karne laga. It makes sense even if ithout the song reference but with it is so much richer. And Imtiaz is an auteur and genius. I don’t care what anyone else says. I never thought I would love a movie more than Tamasha and bad honestly very low expectations going into jhms but it surpassed Tamasha.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love the dhak dhak reference, because it is this whole complex thing. It’s an appropriate song reference, but it also indicates the exact age of Shahrukh that this would be his reference. And the age difference with Anushka, because she plays it like she may not recognize it. And it brings Shahrukh suddenly back into this Indian realm, we can picture young Shahrukh watching this song on satellite TV in his village, a more innocent time in his life when this is what “sexy” was.

          On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 10:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 2 people

          • Took me 3 viewings, but I finally caught it too. Late August 1980, so he is 36 coming up on 37. And Beta came out in 1992, figure a lag time in it being available in his village/played on repeat on TV, then he would have been 12-13 when he first saw it. And thus one of the many many many young men for whom Madhuri Dixit is always associated with sexual awakenings.

            On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 10:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 2 people

  3. What a wonderful beginning of a working day 🙂 (or not-so-much-working-day)! Adding a comment to the last scene-by-scene and getting rewarded by a new one…the next one…and somehow I don’t want to get to the last one (which will be soon) 😉
    Thanks again for your blog with such a panoply of possibilities to engage oneself in Indian cinema!

    Well – as usual – it taks me time to put my thoughts on paper…but that’s what the love for something/someone makes almost redundant – the time one needs …

    Raula…again I simply like what you write – and how you write it 🙂

    The first thing that intrigues me is the multiple meaning of this punjabi word (that would correspond to the hindi word “shoragul”, I read) – it depends on the context. For me, it is obvious that the Raula song has not the same meaning than the raula used in the dialogues. Through all that liveliness, happiness and excitement, it is more the gentle hullaballoo I see here…the ‘mess’ will come later.

    Everything you describe, I see in the same way … I would emphasize even more the playfulness and the humerous interaction they frequently had since Radha. That underlines the harmony of their love, the connecting on so many levels. Okay, they have fallen in love and after that ‘reassuring’ night – the third one we witness – there is a kind of serenity in them…for the time they have a common task.

    I just thought that they could have put the lisbon-lovemaking scene also here in Francfort…that would not have changed…only the next morning, Sejal would have packed for going back to India…
    Btw, there are nights we don’t see them spend together, just glimpses like Sejal’s phone call or her sexy dance. Three nights are just what we need to know…btw. did you ever sleep with someone peacefully on the floor with just a blanket? It says a looooot about their first night spent together… (the next time, it is already a matress they sleep on…and frankly, it doesn’t matter any more if it is the floor or the bed…as you wrote, Margaret (it was you, wasn’t it?), what matters is the degree of feeling comfortable with the one you share your sleep. And the bed the third time?…it’s simply the usual place to sleep…for the lovemaking, it would be of no importance.

    Reading through many opinions about the movie there were some which complained about Sejal’s inconsistent characterization…I think those viewers only got the ‘back-and-forth’ but not the evolution (which more often than not needs the ‘back’)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Expanding on the “raula” meaning, all along Shahrukh in his darkness has held it over her as kind of a threat, that it means something terrible, that he will loose something terrible within her. But then it happens, and we discover Shahrukh was wrong all along, “raula’ has happened, but it isn’t terrible or dark or shameful, it is joyful and clean and good.

      On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 3:55 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m left nearly speechless (a very unusual condition!) by your insights and explanations. They’re making what was already an intensely enjoyable & unforgettable film even more significant for me & for your other readers. I love this story so much & having someone with so much understanding go through it so thoroughly, not dissecting but rather examining it, is bringing me a manner of closure I haven’t been able to achieve till now. As well as even more appreciation.

    I watched JHMS, enthralled, 19 times in my local theater and was heart-lost (to use your expression) when I couldn’t see it again. Part of that need to keep seeing it was the complex simplicity of the story; part was its beauty; a large part was the way in which the camera just adored SRK in every frame. But the biggest part was that there was no one for me to really discuss the film with.

    My best friend saw it with me once~she’s a big SRK fan and she loved it but she was content with seeing it as an entertaining love story & a great opportunity to see SRK onscreen looking hot & not dying! You’ve managed (along with your followers) to fill the void for me of having no one to share it with who actually gets the richness of the story.

    Again~am amazed at SRK’s performance. He has always been able to speak volumes thru his eyes & with the slightest gesture but he has recently attained a level of restraint that makes everything he does or says onscreen gem-like far beyond the hotness! And in Dear Zindagi, in Raees and in JHMS the camera really does worship him! And justifiably so. There’s a light that shines from him and it shines even more brightly now. But Imtiaz hasn’t let that light outshine his story! They were in sync here and it shows.

    Thank you for this~especially for these past 3 installments!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am fascinated by the varying reactions to this film. I saw it only 4 times in theaters, once by myself, once with my closest friend who is also a die hard SRKian, once with a friend who is another SRK fan (of even longer standing than me) and her husband, and once with two friends who I only recently introduced to SRK. And the reaction to the film seemed completely unrelated to their degree of fandom. My closest friend loved the sexiness of SRK, but overall found it “cheesy”. The other friend and her husband, who had also seen and loved Highway, loved it as a film, separate from the SRK part of it. And my two friends who aren’t big SRK people liked it but didn’t love it.

      In the end, I think it is a film that will work for you or won’t. If you like SRK, you will find him sexy and intriguing and enjoy watching him onscreen here. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the film will work for you. And if you don’t like SRK, you can still enjoy the film because it is so much more than just him.

      On Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 4:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

  5. Really happy, Erica, to read you hear…spreading the link and meeting here (not only on twitter) is a great joy.

    I think that he has found a kind of serenity tht does not only shield him from negativity but also intensifies everything sensual he is able to give. When I watched Imtiaz and ShahRukh (and also Anushka) together, there was an understanding on the emotional level that translated in the way the shots were done…and Mohanan, the cinematographer, is immensely skilled in capturing the inner light and the mood (he did the cinematography for Raees and JabHarryMetSejal).

    Liked by 2 people

  6. From the time Harry wakes up in bed til the time Mayank asks “What’s the scene between you two?” is just pure happiness and fun (with touches of romance and heat as well). Kind of mad at Mayank for asking, but our poor lovers still had some growing up and into each other to do, so something had to break the dream.

    Sorry to be repetitive, but I’m loving everyone’s comments again. Echoing Ericablueyz comments that its so nice to have a place to discuss JHMS in depth. No one in my day to day life has the slightest interest. 🙂

    Margaret, such a great point that this is about what their relationship is and will be like in the broader context of friends, family, and community. The goodness, joy, and also just great teamwork that they share, will bring so much richness to the people they know! And I love the related point that they both flourish in a context where everyone makes the rules together–in a not so constricted social scene as an upper class, rich, conservative family–or possibly a small village, farming family.

    I really love the moment with the “not enough tea cups”. Sejal has slipped so beautifully into that teasing sister-in-law/brother-in-law relationship with Mayank. And the thing with her taking the towel off of Harry just in time for the photo was a real touchstone moment for me–reminded me of my grandparents, who were farmers in Ohio. Imtiaz is some kind of wizard! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Shahrukh can give her a casual come on with no hang ups, he has the right to ask her for sex whenever he is in the mood. And Anushka can turn him down with laugh and a joke and go back to packing his socks.” I loved that moment because he isn’t really asking; he’s play acting and he knows it. Her rejection is also play acting. They are as you say playing loving spouses who might jump back into bed but can’t cause they have two hours till their flight. This is part of the pretending to married. My favorite favorite part is when he throws the blanket over his head when she walks away. Reminded me of the moment in Jab Tak Hai Jaan when he thinks he’s married to Katrinka and she says no to sex ostensibly on doctor’s orders and he makes a similar gesture. I think in this film, Harry does it with a laugh out of a real sexual frustration but one that actually makes him happy. The girl he can’t have sex with is the one he can love. But, that little moan is from the real man who’d like to.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was traveling yesterday by bus from Portland, Maine to NYC and had wifi which allowed me to read but I couldn’t submit a comment. Frustrating!

    Margaret, I think you are right on the money in your interpretation of Harry and Sejal’s interactions here. I especially liked the turban part. I didn’t really connect to how it was a big deal for him the first couple of times I saw the movie but realized later that of course it was just huge for him. Which is why Sejal’s reaction is so perfect.

    I love that Diljit sang Raula, and your understanding of the different singers doing playback for Harry gives me more to think about. The only false note, for me, was the opening of Radha. I just thought Shahid Mallya’s voice was too high for Shah Rukh. The rest of the song worked for me but that was a bit jarring.

    The changing meaning of raula is also interesting to me. I think Harry has held it over Sejal as a kind of a threat because it always has been terrible for him. He apparently felt a sense of freedom and happiness after a breakup (remember that breakup scene Sejal witnessed their first night together? When Harry seemed so happy and carefree as he approached the hotel, even tossing his key in the air and catching it?). But I don’t get the feeling that his separations from the women he slept with were easy or simple. They were hitting him, or tossing his bag and clothes out of their apartments and yelling at him. With Sejal, it is not terrible at all, and the “raula” doesn’t cause her to separate from him (yet), and that’s the difference.

    I also really like the shifting attitude towards money that you describe so well.

    Thank you, P, for enriching this part so nicely for me. I agree with Margaret that these scenes work even without the context or background but they are so much better for the things you’ve shared with us.

    Erica! Welcome here! So nice to chat outside the twitterverse!

    I keep thinking, especially when looking at this last part of the movie, about what would have happened if Sejal had never “lost” the ring and returned to India with the family as planned. Aside from not having a movie (!), I think she would have married Rupen as planned. But I think that even without Harry to wake her up to herself she would have eventually recognized that she never “fit” that role that was expected of her. And I think that would have made for an unhappy life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’VE TAKEN THAT BUS!!!! I’ve written a blog post on that bus! Okay, not THAT bus, but the Portland-Boston one. Also, it is a shockingly nice bus line, compared to the ones I’ve taken to get between cities in the midwest. We need to up our bus game.

      Fascinating point about the break-up meaning freedom for him. I am writing the next section now, and one thing that struck me is that I don’t think he really knew how bad this would be for him. He started out sad, but “fine”. He was worried about Sejal, not himself, in their good-bye at the airport. He had that moment of self-reflection, but it wasn’t “worry” exactly. And then it took time for it to work it’s way on him, for him to realize that this isn’t the same as the other break-ups.

      I keep thinking those same thoughts. And I am leaning more and more towards the ring giving her an excuse, and Shahrukh changing a lot of things, but there could have been something else too. Not just from Sejal’s side of things, clearly her fiance wasn’t that committed if he was willing to break up with her over a ring AND do it in a messy public way in front of his entire family. That hurt and horribleness is what drove her away, but once she was in the car with Shahrukh, suddenly already she was so much happier and freer than before. I could picture the same thing in Bombay, she wears the wrong sari to a party, her fiance yells at her and humiliates her, she goes outside in tears, and then goes to a roadside stall and has street food for the first time in her life and feels happy for the first time ever, and starts to think “maybe I shouldn’t marry that guy and have that life, maybe there is something else out there for me.” Or, the fiance keeps it together for the whole engagement, they get married, and have a fight on their honeymoon, and she has the same thought but by then it is too late for her.

      And all of this is WHY her family has kept her so carefully sheltered from self-examination. They have taught her not to think or feel, because if she does think or feel for herself, she might discover she doesn’t want the things they have planned for her.

      On Tue, Aug 29, 2017 at 12:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      • It is a great bus service. Easier than driving or flying, and roomy and wifi and snacks and coffee, etc. but as I discovered the wifi was limited. If I time it right I can often get in two downloaded Hindi movies, since it is a 6-hour trip!

        What you say about the fiance is true–it could have come from him. I just would imagine that Sejal at some point would have an “awakening” or realization that this life isn’t for her. Probably triggered by something like a fight with Rupen, or his mother/sisters being mean or the like.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Absolutely! This isn’t a story of Sejal being created in Harry’s image, it is a story of Sejal finding herself and fully realizing how different she is from what she has been trying to be. And that would have happened someday no matter what, she was never just the simple rich girl on the inside.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Harry reminds me of some guys I know in the real world. They want out a relationship but really dread doing the breaking up themselves. They’re too afraid of the crying and sadness from the girl, feeling guilty for doing that to someone that doesn’t deserve the pain they’re causing her. So instead they start distancing themselves while in the relationship, deliberately not being a good boyfriend, acting detached, not returning calls, etc. It gives the girl enough time to get tired on her own and feel empowered by breaking up and kicking them out. It might result in anger on her part but that’s still very different from sadness and depression.

      Harry is so happy after getting kicked out, whistling as he walks away, because he’s the one that always wanted out. He’s just manipulated the situation enough that she has to be the one to toss him out. That way he can walk away without feeling too guilty for breaking her.

      I think Klara was the one girl he couldn’t manipulate into doing that because she still wanted him regardless of all the bad behavior he must have been displaying. That’s why he had to run away and sneak out and is afraid to return again to Frankfurt because he might end up having a confrontation with her that he doesn’t want. It seems like it was after Klara that he started sleeping with tour members instead because there was a guarantee that they would be gone soon and he wouldn’t have to deal with all this.

      I also never got the sense throughout the movie that Harry ever felt unworthy. He doesn’t feel lesser than anyone IMO. It’s more that he’s disappointed in himself for his failures because he knows he can do better than this. All those years away from home and familial attachments have also made him dead inside. His relationships don’t work because he doesn’t want them to because he feels nothing in them, not that women don’t want him. It may start as just sex but I think the problems all start occurring because they *do* want more of him than just that. He isn’t cowed by those rich tourists he guides either. Privately he looks down on them as uncouth and uncultured. These are not people who know or care about art, music, architecture, or even food and wine. They are there to prove they can afford a European trip and take selfies to put on facebook to show off. I don’t think there is a simple rich/poor dichotomy between Sejal and Harry either because despite her money, Harry is much more sophisticated than her. He knows about art and music and speaks several languages and makes a living on his own. Sejal’s money is not really hers – it’s more like she’s using her Daddy’s credit cards and they come with lots of strings attached. She would barely be able to survive on her own because she’s never developed the skills.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think Harry absolutely looks down on his tour group, it seems like they fall into the gap between “sincerely excited with fresh eyes and ready to learn” and “sophisticated and knowledgeable about the world”, where they know just enough to think they know a lot. However, I also think on some deep deep level there is some internal self-disgust. I’m thinking about how he always sleeps on the ground instead of the bed with Sejal.

        But there’s a lot of layers to it. He feels superior to them in knowledge and sophistication and work ethic and morals (for most). But there’s something deep inside that makes him feel somehow “dirtier” than some of them. I don’t think he would sleep on the ground beneath most of his clients, but I also don’t think it is something he would do only with Sejal. Does that make sense?

        Oh, and one thing I find really interesting about Sejal is that technically she does have the ability to earn her own living. Only, I bet her family kept her always carefully blind to that fact, that she could quit her job for the family business and is perfectly capable of striking out and getting hired by someone else. I bet there was always some slight hint of “well, you are good enough to be useful in the family business, but this could never really be a career for you.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think him sleeping on the floor is more a cultural thing. An Indian guy and girl would never dream of sleeping on the same bed without being in a relationship. Harry may let go of some of those things that are build into him when he’s in the Western world with Western women but he would never be able to do that with Sejal. In an earlier generation, an unrelated man and woman would not even sleep in the same room. Remember DDLJ where Kajol absolutely freaks out at that idea? It’s just not done.

          Nowadays I think people have become more comfortable with each other to maybe accept spending the night in one room or nearby but it would still never be in the bed together. Harry only ends up in her bed since they are actually planning on having sex. Even though it doesn’t happen, now the relationship is too deep to play games and return to another sleeping spot.

          Liked by 1 person

          • What struck me in that first night before Radha, is that he chooses to sleep on the ground near her, instead of going slightly farther away and finding another bench. Which would still fulfill the “separate beds” requirement, but put him slightly farther away from her, and on an equal level. It’s just a lovely little unspoken character moment, that without even talking about it, he throws a sheet on the ground for himself and a sheet on the bench for her.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Harry sleeping on the ground near her seemed acceptable (even self-evident) to me as he is like a guardien to Sejal…what made me wonder (and disturbed him) the mobile why an Indian young woman with her education would join him on the ground and sleep in such a proximity to him, not even letting go (in her söeep) when he wanted to put a distance between them. Cultural behaviour was obviously underrun by simple human behaviour/needs.


  9. Continuing the role playing of husband and wife, they are hosting the wedding for Mayank and his bride. I think it’s bittersweet when Harry looks to Sejal for approval when dressed in his turban and Punjabi clothes. She, of course, gives him approval – Sejal style. Then he sings and dances and feels free to be who he is because of her. They are a couple who appear to be in love.


    • What I love is that they are one of those couples that is clearly in love, but not in a way that makes them blind to everyone else. They are a couple that is in love, but not in infatuation, if that makes sense.

      On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 6:09 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  10. “not infatuation” makes sense, absolutely. Couple in love, it is, but…but…there is still some thing unresolved: they are a couple in love yet not committed to each other. Hence Mayank’s question, hence the fight leading to the separation. There is still that element of “playing a couple”…

    Nancy, I loved your word “bittersweet” because it reflects what I felt when he arranged the turban (in total contrast to the way he puts his turban later in the movie when sitting on the tractor…ah, finally at home!). Frankfurt is not ‘home, sweet home’ but the celebration is like ‘home sweet home’ and I am sure, it is after a very looooong time that he dons a turban, a festive one as such.


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