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Thursday, August 06, 2020

Love Aaj Kal movie review: Sara Ali Khan-Kartik Aaryan film is an incoherent mess

Love Aaj Kal 2 movie review: Kartik desperately tries to act as a lover in back-then-Udaipur-and-right-now-Delhi, but the effort doesn’t translate into anything true. Sara is perky and alive.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: February 15, 2020 8:25:20 am
Love Aaj Kal movie review Love Aaj Kal movie review: I came away with a feeling of being comprehensively let down: where has the craft gone, and where, indeed, the heart?

Love Aaj Kal movie cast: Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Randeep Hooda, Arushi Sharma
Love Aaj Kal movie director: Imtiaz Ali
Love Aaj Kal movie rating: 1.5 stars

If you had apprehensions about a brand new film being called by an old name, made by the same director, you were right. If you thought that despite this apparent lack of imagination, this 2.0 ‘Love Aaj Kal’ would fly, you were wrong. Imtiaz Ali’s latest version of romance in this-day-and-that age, is nothing but an incoherent mess.

The 2010 Love Aaj Kal, starring Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, went back and forth in time, giving us two sets of confused lovers. This one does the same, while making an attempt to connect with contemporary ideas of love-shuv-dating-shating, as it follows the tracks of today’s couple Vir (Aaryan) and Zoe (Khan), as well as Raghu (Hooda) and Leena (Sharma), engaged in the same push-pull, in the early 1990s.

It’s one thing to train the lens on the confounded confusions two people straining to understand the thing between them. Each love story is the same-same but different, and who doesn’t love a lover? But it’s quite another to watch a series of awkwardly-constructed confusions unravel on screen: just what is going on, between Vir and Zoe, as they skim over the in bed-and-out-of-it-bits, slaloming between loudly-and-repeatedly stated ‘career’ choices and realising the worth of pyaar-vyaar? They are talky, but there is no frisson. Ali’s movies have always been heavy on dialogue which feels like it is coming from a space inhabited by the glib poet-philosopher-of-the-filmi-kind, but there has to be a limit on how bumper-sticker you want to go, because on that route there is only banality, no genuine feelings.

The last time I saw the messy feelings of pain-pleasure-exhilaration, feelings that touch you and move you, that radiate from true lovers, was in Ali’s most well-realised movie, Jab We Met, and before, in his lovely, underrated Socha Na Tha. He hasn’t managed to capture those emotions since, not in Rockstar, nor in Tamasha, and certainly not in the misfire that was Jab Harry Met Sejal.

But at least those movies had sparkly moments. I’m hard put to find any in this one which has characters playing familiar types. Aaryan is desperately trying to act as a lover in back-then-Udaipur-and-right-now-Delhi, but the effort doesn’t translate into anything true. Khan is perky and alive, but a captive of the flat writing that encases the film. First-timer Sharma does shyness-boldness well, and Hooda is the one I kept watching through the film, because he brings the experience of a lived-life in his character of a commitment-phobic serial-bed-warmer: the story of the older Raghu and Leena is the more interesting of the two, and you wish it had been explored better.

The film ends with a song, the usual medley of the cast dancing as the credits roll, and there it is, the film. Such liveliness, and zest: if only the whole film had the same feel. I came away with a feeling of being comprehensively let down: where has the craft gone, and where, indeed, the heart?

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