Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Rishi Kapoor, Rahul Khanna
Music by: Pritam
I am rather confused as to whether I should recommend Love Aaj Kal to people or not. It’s not as if I don’t know how I feel about the movie, I just feel that this particular film is likely to produce rather different reactions in different people. Imtiaz Ali is an interesting director who has earlier provided us with the well directed Socha Na Tha and more recently the very entertaining and highly acclaimed film Jab We Met. However for me Love Aaj kal fails simply because it tries too hard. Perhaps the film crew too should have taken the leading lady’s advice in the movie where she advocates looking cool precisely by not trying too hard.
The movie begins with the lead couple breaking up, which is quite the departure from Bollywood tradition. Jai (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera (Deepika Padukone) throw a break- up party prior to her moving to India for her work dealing with art restoration. All is peachy and light when suddenly an emotional Sardarji insists that Jai is committing the biggest mistake of his life by letting Meera go to India. Enter Veer Singh’s (Rishi Kapoor) own love story which runs parallel to the Saif- Deepika saga giving cues at every love realization junction. The parallel track is a sepia version of Calcutta which is infinitely more fascinating and charming than the done to death locales of London.
A Sikh Saif Ali Khan plays the role of young Veer Singh, which is rather interesting as Veer points out that Jai reminded him of himself in his youth. We see an innocent (but not much else) love story where boy paddles behind girl in a rickshaw, travels a thousand miles to see her and stands below her balcony hoping to catch a glimpse. The two stories unfold side by side keeping the movie from turning utterly insipid.
What begins as a decidedly different movie soon turns into an age old offering of bottled romance peppered with humour. The most bothersome aspect of the movie is the dialogue delivery which is in such a mish mash of English and Hindi that the viewer finds it difficult to relate. Deepika Padukone is hilarious in the most dramatic moments of the movie- “Galti ho gayi” while her accent is just plain annoying. Saif Ali Khan acts well as the gabru jawan Veer Singh, but his horrendous command over Punjabi makes his character a little comical. The actress portraying the love interest of Veer Singh, Harleen Kaur, seems to be only capable of one wide eyed expression throughout the movie, giving her a perpetually surprised look. Rishi Kapoor is adorable as ever though he seriously needs a change of track in his recent character repertoire. Rahul Khanna has the most unfair cut of all; his character had a lot more potential and he could certainly be given more screen time than the Swiss Joe that is seen hanging off Saif’s arm. The songs are immensely enjoyable but their timing is haphazard. This movie is a long roll of potential good moments.