Love Aaj Kal - Review

Saturday, August 1, 2009

There is a cruel law of the nature that’s called the law of averages. If you are good one day, you are bound to be bad the other day to keep it even. Imtiaz Ali, it seems, is an exception to this rule. After Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met, Imtiaz’s third film Love Aaj Kal promises to hit the bull’s eye yet again!

Right from the first shot, Love Aaj Kal builds up the tempo and the interest doesn’t wane till the end credits are shown. If you have seen all of Imtiaz Ali’s films, the one thing you would note besides his excellent directorial skills is that all of his protagonists remain “confused” about love and then discover it in the end. In the whole confusion, there is this poor third angle who suffers. It was Abhay Deol’s catholic girlfriend in Socha Na Tha and Anshuman in Jab We Met. This time it is Vikram, played by Rahul Khanna, in Love Aaj Kal.

Talking specifically about Love Aaj Kal, it is a story about a careerist Jai and practical Meera who break up their relationship to pursue their individual careers. They celebrate with a break-up party and decide to keep in touch because in the era of communication, no one’s far enough. The day Meera leaves Jai, he meets Veer Singh, a die hard romantic (played by Rishi Kapoor) who becomes a friend to him. Veer Singh tells him about his hopelessly romantic days when he took a pratigya (oath) to marry Harleen Kaur, or whatever her name would be in her rebirths, in every birth he took. Jai finds all of it amusing but impractical and illogical. Both he and Meera declare each other out of their lives after meeting different people but the status quo is not maintained. They meet each other while Jai is on vacation in India, start missing each other when they go back to their lives only to meet again. The flip flops do make it an improbable love story but lets give it to the writer as it is ONLY a story afterall. Interspersed with their story is the story of Veer-Harleen set in the 60s-70s which is equally captivating.

Imtiaz Ali has an uncanny ability to bring out natural mannerisms from his actors effortlessly. To aid him are his very simple but intelligent dialogues and choice of characters who seem to be the aam junta, the ‘Mango’ people. He is equally brilliant in his execution of scenes. There are not many words spoken between Veer Singh and Harleen but you don't mind that. Imtiaz beautifully creates a scene that convinces Veer Singh to keep pursuing Harleen even after she leaves the city. Note how Harleen shifts positions in the train so that her eyes meet Veer’s. No word was spoken but the moment captured it all. There are several other scenes that are out of your life and mine that make you break into a smile every now and then. A job well done for Imtiaz Ali. Towards the end, when Deepika gets married, there is an element of fatigue in the story with the flip-flops I mentioned earlier. That's a dampener. However, the 90% opening for the film should ensure that Love Aaj Kal goes on to become the first authentic super hit this year in the true sense of the word.

Coming to its actors, Saif Ali Khan is outstanding if you keep his dancing aside. He gets to portray different shades in the double role that he gets to play and he is convincing in both the parts. Saif’s naivety and resolve as the die-hard romantic Veer Singh is endearing while his focus and career centric outlook to life as Jai is reminiscent of the times we live in. Yes, he does have the support of good script and dialogues to help him sail through but you cannot take the credit away from him for the portrayal.

Deepika has natural expressions as an actor. There is a scene in the climax where she breaks down when Saif comes back. It came out naturally on the screen. She might not be the best of the lot and has a lot of rough edges but she certainly gives a sprightly performance despite being so very boring in her interviews and other media appearances. Her character, to some extent is an extension of her character in Bachna Ae Haseeno.

Rishi Kapoor’s presence is symbolic of the times he represents. The lover boy of 70s is here to tell you about his impossible love story with Harleen and believe me, you would want to believe him.

There are a few other characters as well but they are not developed. Rahul Khanna makes a guest appearance but can at best be called a filler. He is not at fault I would say. There was not much scope for him to do anything. Gisele makes a debut as Harleen. She looked beautiful but could not convince with her acting abilities. I had hopes from Vir Das but he doesn’t even get a proper scene.

As much as I hate to admit it, Pritam has the ears for good music. A copy cat to the core, he still manages to get the best of the world for his films. Almost all the songs of the film have gone on to become chartbusters. Mohit Chauhan’s Ye Dooriyan lingers in your mind, Aaj Din Chadhya beautifully ushers in a bright morning in the romance of Veer-Harleen and finally Aahun Aahun draws curtains on the film.

I can rant some more about the film but will let you decide it for yourself. If you liked Jab We Met, you will love this one too. My ratings for this one - 4 out of 5.


Piyush Agarwal said...

Good review and I must say, I agree to all of it...
Loved the last scene of deepika where she breaks up. Though the story was very much predictable after the 1st half, the excellent direction, writing and acting made it up..

Catch up this movie people if you haven' will equip you with a feeling that lingers

Sensible Garbage said...

@piyush: Thanks for commenting and also for agreeing :) The lingering feeling still lives within me. My Ipod has stuck on the Ye Dooriyan song for the past 5 days!

Ram Chandra said...

Could you please also review the new Nasser Khan starrer "blockbuster" Shadow.

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