Since his 2005 debut, 46-year-old Imtiaz Ali has directed seven movies. In his first film, Socha Na Tha, the female lead meets the male protagonist, shares a quirky and profoundly life-changing few days with him, and eventually ends her existing long-term relationship as a result. Sorry, did I say first film? I meant ALL his seven films! Every. Single. One. (Tamasha being peak Imtiaz, because the boring guy who gets dumped and the fun guy from the vacation are both the same character.)
Now, obviously, this is a very reductive view, and a joke that's been around for years. Despite the use of this one (admittedly major) trope, his films do all deal with varying themes. Of course they do! But, having said that, if you've chosen to pay a homage to yourself (Jab We Met, in the case of his latest – Jab Harry Met Sejal) not even 10 films in, there is a very real case to be made for people calling you hackneyed and a parody of yourself.
I don't know if Imtiaz Ali fell in love with a quirky pixie while travelling in his youth. I don't know if said quirky pixie didn't dump her boyfriend for him. I also don't know if his resulting heartbreak is why, instead of making seven different films, he's made the same film seven times over, as some sorta wish-fulfilment fantasy. What I do know is that he needs to move on from this story arc toot sweet.
Speaking of refusing to move on, hello, Shah Rukh. To you, I have only one thing to say – no! Have some respect, yaar. Even Salman has played a pot-bellied, middle-aged father now. No one should play romantic leads who are still "finding themselves" at age 51. Just, no.