Filmmaker Imtiaz Ali has brushed aside criticism that his “touch” was missing from Jab Harry Met Sejal, saying he never wanted praise for himself while making the movie.
“I am sure that a lot of people do not think that Jab Harry Met Sejal is an intellectual masterpiece, but I did not intend it to be one,” Imtiaz Ali, a respected auteur known for his work in Jab We Met, Rockstar and Highway, told reporters at the film promotion here on Saturday night.
The Shah Rukh Khan-Anushka Sharma starrer rom-com has drawn flak from reviewers who have called the flick mushy and churned out from the same oven having typical “SRK romance” and bereft of any storyline.
Imtiaz, whose movies have a central theme of relationships and their vagaries, said he has never belonged to the “intelligent club” and always aimed at making this film for the masses.
“Some said you really need to be intelligent to understand an Imtiaz Ali film. For me that was a blow. I feel that I have never been part of any intelligent club. I wanted to make a very simple film with all my heart,” Imtiaz said.
“I have not made this film for praise. You know I would like to be the director who can make different kinds of films. This one is made to reach the maximum number of people. Not to just get praise for myself.”
“I have been a veteran at this. When Tamasha released, a lot of people praised the film but the film was not reaching the audience,” Imtiaz added, answering a question about the reviews the JHMS has got since its Friday release.
Shah Rukh, who worked with Imtiaz for the first time, echoed his director, saying the magic of Jab Harry Met Sejal will take time to latch onto people.
“I have not seen Imtiaz Ali’s previous work. I have always believed the film should go beyond the subject and create some magic. I also believe people come with preconcieved notion that they have seen already,” the 51-year old actor said.
“I am speaking on his (Imtiaz Ali’s) behalf. I think sometimes the bigger feeling is to try something new. I have been in the business long enough to try a formula film and to try a film with no formula.”
“Succeeded and failed at both. So, I understood that I can’t even try to recreate the magic. Take ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge‘, for example. I have worked with Adi (director Aditya Chopra) again. Me and Anushka have (in ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’). But there will never be another DDLJ,” Shah Rukh explained.
“So every writer or director does not want to go back to the same magic because he/she does not know how it was created.”
“Some critics have talked about the magic being missing. I think he would not like to recreate that magic that he has done in the past. This one has a new magic. It’s a new trick. Maybe just the newness of it is going to take some time for people to understand the magic of the film. Working with Imtiaz was quite magical,” he added.
The two-hour-twentyfour-minute film revolves around the two characters and how Sejal (Anushka) bumps into tour-guide Harry (Shah Rukh) and together they set off visiting the exact same spots that she and her family visited — in the hope of finding her lost engagement ring.