Friday, July 31, 2009


Love Aaj Kal

Imtiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal takes a look at the Me generation—self-centred, career-oriented, emotionally retarded. They have break-up parties, flirt long-distance; the guys are proud to be called “khula saand”, girls pretend to be coy only to provoke the guy into action.

Well, this could, without meaning to, be the first definitive 21st century love story, with, as an older character in the film says, about a generation that is all mind, no heart. But then maybe box-office considerations come in, what use is a love story that doesn’t end with the lovers in a clinch? Never mind that they have dithered, whined, hurt themselves and other people—and proved to be very unappealing as film characters.

The city is London (what’s wrong with India by the way? No cool people here?): so there’s the cool-as-as-Eskimo engineer Jai (Saif Ali Khan), who is commitment-phobic (like the dude in Salaam Namaste)/ He is not too deeply affected when Meera (Deepika Padukone), the girl he is not sure is his girlfriend, decides to break-up because she wants to concentrate on her career as an art restorer. He gives her the spiel about breaking up only to discover that she had the idea before him. They decide to part ways amicably, throw a break-up party, promise to stay in touch and go their own way.

He woos Swiss girl Jo (Florence Brudenell Bruce) in London, she dates her boss Vikram (Rahul Khanna) in Delhi. But this is not how love stories are supposed to go, according to Veer Singh (Rishi Kapoor), a middle-aged Sikh restauranteur and Jai’s confidant. So running parallel to the ‘Aaj’ love story is the ‘Kal’ romance, which is like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, with the brave young man (Khan as the younger Kapoor) storming his girl Harleen’s (Giselle) wedding and eloping with her.

The problem is that after setting up the so-cool and contemporary scenario (with the right trendy outfits to match so young people see the film for the clothes if nothing else), the film goes into territory as old and soggy as Devdas. All that pining, weeping, breaking of relationships is so self-indulgent as to amount to conduct most unbecoming.

The film looks good, Imtiaz Ali is an expert enough director to make so many of the scenes crackle with energy, the song picturisations are zingy; For Saif Ali Khan this part is now like second skin, Deepika Padukone makes up with glamour what she lacks in acting skills; Rishi Kapoor is wonderful. So why does the film still give the feeling that something is sorely lacking? If a guess has to be hazarded, may be what it lacks is heart? Not that a silly little heart will prevent this calculated, all-mind film from being a hit.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker