Director Imtiaz Ali revisits his own film and tries to give it the touch of today but fails miserably
Just one question. What was the need of this film 11years later when all Imtiaz Ali could give is the same thing without any freshness whatsoever? Love Aaj Kal (with the exact same title as the 2009 flick) doesn’t serve its purpose. But is there even a purpose at all?
Zoe (Sara Ali Khan) is an aspiring event manager. She hooks up with Veer (Kartik Aaryan) randomly and sparks ignite. But she doesn’t want a serious relationship. She gets connected to Raj (Randeep Hooda), the owner of a cafe which she frequents. Raj tells her why she should consider Veer and how he himself was similar to Veer. Cut to flashback. And then, back and forth.
It is Imtiaz’s writing. One word- sheer disappointment. Talking of the writing, get it straight that it’s the same. With almost the same elements. The Golden Gate Bridge becomes a Water Harnessing project. Rishi Kapoor becomes Randeep Hooda. The film goes back and forth, just like the original one.
You have pin pointed Imtiaz Ali’s films for not carving female characters strong enough and only aiding the male protagonist in finding himself. Here, he takes a different route. Although both females here have strong opinions on why they do what they do, it is still not convincing enough. Infact Zoe is made to behave like Ved from Tamasha. Ditto. This works in two parts- you see that it’s the mental turmoil. But why at all? The reasons for her mental disturbance aren’t real. It all works in a very superficial way.
The film deals with ambition and career, love life, hook up culture and what it takes to hold on to your ground. Interesting ideas, like all of Ali’s signature. But the film never really makes you believe in any of these.
If you have been Ali’s fan lately and by any chance if you have watched his films closely, you will be able to identify scenes in particular that resemble greatly with those in Tamasha, Highway, or Rockstar. In the way they are choreographed, they remind you of these classics.
What works for the film- something that you tolerate the film for is its nuanced production design and an ever charming Randeep Hooda. His character binds the film providing it the depth it occasionally needs. But, hold on… If there’s graffiti on the wall or some other art form, it should have stayed. It just passes in a split second. What point does it serve if it is only to please Imtiaz Ali’s creativity?
Just 15mins into the film and you are bored. But you keep your spirits high thinking only of Ali. But it is his direction that disappoints the most. The film goes haywire everywhere. Right from the start till the end. Only part where it grips you to some extent is the layer given to Hooda’s Raj.
Kartik Aaryan is sincere, more in the ‘Kal’ part. That’s about it. He does reasonably decent.
Sara Ali Khan overacts. It is her character that’s edgy. But she annoys you big time. Not that she hasn’t tried. But her struggle to get it right shows on screen, again making you remember Nargis Fakhri from Rockstar.
Arushi Sharma debuts with this one. As a woman who’s innocent, lovable, and strong, she has done a good job. She has a clear road ahead, it seems.
Randeep Hooda rocks the show. Although it’s a simple character for an actor like him to play, he infuses it with his own dynamic energy.
Simone Singh has a brief appearance. She is just fine.
Music by Pritam does absolutely no magic. You expect substance, for sure. The songs don’t connect you to the plot. They sound okayish. They just keep coming here and there. Even lyrics by Irshad Kamil do no magic. So at a time when Imtiaz is known for creating music that lingers and stays long after you’ve seen the film, songs here are confounding. You have critically analysed songs in his films. Have found deep meanings. Here, nothing happens. The score by Ishaan Chhabra is good and tries well to give the film a root.
Cinematography by Amit Roy is jarring. The camera shots are too direct in your face. Unnecessary low angles and a feel of futile noir is also seen. Production design by Suman Roy Mahapatra is amazing. Visually, the film is stunning. Lighting, sets, colours, elements in the scene- they should be noticed with keen eye. Infact, you can even watch the film on mute only for it’s aesthetic appeal.
Editing by Aarti Bajaj, a respected name in the fraternity also disappoints. The cuts are abrupt. May be they match the extended vision of Ali as the director. But for the audience, they don’t do good.
You know exactly how the film will unfold and eventually end. The ideas never really come across. Imtiaz Ali better makes his next a pathbreaking film. Or else, the audience who hitherto held him in the highest esteem will surely put him down.