Saturday, August 01, 2009

Love Aaj Kal

Rating : 6/10
Release Date : 30th July, ‘09
Time : 130 minutes
Director & Writer : Imtiaz Ali; Music : Pritam
Starring : Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Giselle Monteiro, Rishi Kapoor, Rahul Khanna, Raj Zutshi

What keeps this film going is the dialogue – its very natural, not filmi, relaxed and very Delhi types lingo. What doesn’t are the character developments, especially in the second half and the situations (which unfortunately were a bit filmi), again, especially in the second half.

Life is a lark for Jai and Meera (Saif and Deepika). They’re based in the UK, they’re young, beautiful and together, all is fine with the world. One day though, they decide to break up. For purely practical reasons. Meera’s job and passion is taking her to India and Jai’s is probably taking him to San Francisco. And they both know long distance relationships don’t work. So, rather than become a mill-stone around each others neck, they decide to be sensible and break up right away, so that they retain good memories of each other. Heck, they even throw a ‘break-up’ party.

Jai now meets Veer ji (Rishi Kapoor), who’s seen the two of them together at his coffee shop and insists Jai is doing the wrong thing by letting her walk away. He tells his story, a kind of flashback, of his courtship in the good old days, when there was shame and modesty and true love. Jai doesn’t really understand the emotion, is not sure what is love, but listens to the story anyways.

Their – Jai’s and Meera’s - lives move on. They date other people. They chat with each other. But the true question is, can they move on from each other, make a new beginning ?

What I liked is that the fun and the sense of humour never really stopped. It never became too serious or too soppy. And Imtiaz Ali clearly knows the pulse of the Punjabi’s – the funny nicknames (Sunny weds Pammi), the obligatory booze in the dickey (boot) in all weddings etc. I loved the advice Jai and Meera gave each other shortly after the break up – they felt free to talk and no longer hesitant to share stuff like ‘your red shoes, which you think are great, are actually terrible and everyone makes fun of them’ or ‘be careful how you use that smile – it can cause havoc in the opposing person’. And the Veerji romance with Harleen Kaur was well depicted, made you smile, was quaint and cute and cuddly.

I also cant fault any of the performances. Saif has this unique ability – as the lovable ruffian / rascal – to really make you believe he is exactly the character being shown on screen. He wins your trust and gains your credibility. Deepika, I felt, performed a lot better than lot of people give her credit for. Not just a pretty face, this babe from Bangalore. Rishi Kapoor reminded us, why he was the original lovable ruffian. And Giselle (curiously not even mentioned on the official website), as Harleen, got her simpering and modest glances down pat.

But I don’t think I really understood what the characters were feeling. Especially Jai. And to an extent Meera. Never understood the thoughts going on inside their head. Some of their reactions came as a bolt from the blue and that didn’t feel right. Some of the situations felt unnatural and that didn’t feel right.

This film suffers from the ghosts of some of the other great ‘romantic comedies’ like Dil Chahta Hai, Jab We Met (Imtiaz’s earlier film) and Hum Tum. And unfortunately, while it has shades of each of the three, it never rises to their level. I don’t think any song has shown the angst of separation as ‘Tanhai’ did in DCH. Or the now on, now off situation like Hum Tum (or ‘When Harry Met Sally’). And the very natural plot construction of ‘Jab We Met’, where you understand the characters and none of their choices seem forced. Its also supposedly borrowed a concept or two from a Taiwanese film ‘Three Times’.

In this one, you feel a bit incomplete when you walk out. It was fun and frothy to an extent. And nice, and charming, and quaint. But not all the way…


Divya Prakash said...

In Second last stanza you captured the spirit of the movie ..I enjoyed watching Punjabi version of SAif ali khan

Meena said...

I just coudlnt stop ignoring or running behind wherever Saif's nose went. It was way too prominent and he looked OLD! Someone save kareena.