Love Aaj Kal movie review: Sara Ali Khan, Kartik Aaryan’s Valentine’s Day offering is love’s labour’s lost
Love Aaj Kal
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Randeep Hooda, Aarushi Sharma
Director: Imtiaz Ali
First thought that comes to your mind after watching Imtiaz Ali’s Valentine’s Day offering, Love Aaj Kal is what could have prompted the filmmaker to tell a decade old story again, with modern characters who are messed up, uncertain and frivolous? Or was it just a mindless decision to cash in on the craze his lead pair - Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan - generated ever since Sara expressed her wish to ‘date’ Kartik, on Koffee With Karan?
Watch Love Aaj Kal trailer here
Irrespective of the reason, with this reboot of his own 2009 film by the same name, Imtiaz once again invites you into the world of imperfect people, complex situations and dysfunctional relationships, and fails to weave it all together.
A visibly off and awkward Veer (Kartik) meets a career-driven, high-on-life-and-booze Zoe (Sara) at a bar and they end up together in bed. However, Veer stops midway, leaving her high and dry because he feels they need to be more ‘serious’ before they make love. He soon turns into a stalker, landing up at the same co-working space where Zoe works, which is owned by Raghu (Randeep Hooda). Now, Raghu is a brooding loner who once gave up everything in Udaipur to be with the girl he loved, Leena (newcomer Aarushi Sharma) in Delhi, but soon turned into a Casanova who hooked up with almost every woman he met.
Back to the lead pair, while Zoe has her five-year plan in place – she wants to start her event management company and only then get into a long-term relationship; Veer, a techie, is not much of a planner. He just lands up on his bike to pick and drop Zoe at her meetings/dates each time an Uber fails to reach her location. After resisting initially, Zoe eventually falls for him and a series of conflicts with each other and their inner selves soon follow.
On one hand, you have Kartik telling Sara that, ‘The day you feel I’ve started to annoy you, I’ll move away from your life’, and on the other, Randeep can’t stop narrating his own ‘fairy-tale’ and becoming the reason why Sara questions her own choices.
Whoever said complex love stories make for great cinema, please wake up and smell the coffee. You can either deal with complex characters or a complex story but mix up both and it’s the audience that ends up feeling helpless and confused. That’s somewhat the emotion I was left with after watching Love Aaj Kal. While Kartik and Sara put their best foot forward as Zoe and Veer to make you believe in their unbelievably complex love story, it’s the tedious narrative and screenplay that ruined it for me. A slow and boring first half is followed by a seemingly predictable second half, making you yawn at multiple places.
Just like the original, this film, too, cut between two timelines but awfully choppy editing doesn’t let you remain invested in either of them. The flashback sequences of Randeep’s story gets interrupted way too often to accommodate the present-day setup. Given that the film is non-linear, a cleaner narrative was needed.
If we compare Kartik’s twin act, he is way more intriguing as the young Raghu, a small town boy with his set of eccentricities and obsession for a girl. I wouldn’t have minded if Imtiaz just played on that plot as a standalone story. As Veer, he lacked that connection somewhere. In terms of his onscreen presence, you see a more mature and sorted Kartik than what we saw in Punchnama films or his earlier big screen outings.
Sara, though she gets a bit loud and over-the-top at times, fits in Zoe’s part effortlessly. She looks gorgeous on screen and well, her wardrobe is envy-inducing.
Aarushi is subtle, simple and lets her expression and face impress more than her dialogues. Randeep looks great with that handlebar moustache and honestly, he is the best thing to watch out for in the entire film. There’s something about his character that sparks an instant curiosity and you want to see more of him. His scenes with Sara are endearing and at one point, you actually think there could have been a spark between them. Also, Sara’s onscreen chemistry with Kartik is cute but in most parts, she looks more smitten by him just like in real life.
As a director, Imtiaz -- once known as the best storyteller in the romantic genre -- clearly got carried again one more time, trying to recreate something that he has already made. The problem is that he actually believed a story like this would work in 2020 where you don’t see people like Veer and Zoe in real life, which is too fast-paced to worry about anything. Also, harping on stereotypes wasn’t really a good move. Showing a woman being indecisive of her relationship because she can’t balance it with her career is something that made sense years ago. Now, you talk of women as multi-taskers. So, Imtiaz needs to refresh his idea of love and romance. Agreed, his tries to go in the depth of things and bring out the insights of his layered characters but you need to understand, a film in totality had to resonate. It can’t just about how you perceive love; it has to be more real and relatable and Love Aaj Kal lacks that.
Storyline aside, the music of the film does a good job in offering support to its narrative. The meaningful lyrics and mood uplifting score breaks away from the monotony of same things being hammered into our minds.
Love Aaj Kal is a film that’s for the millennials only because it’s a modern day love story but even then, it needed a way better treatment. Watch it maybe if you get free couple tickets and have no better V-Day plans with your significant other.
Hindustan Times doesn’t use star-rating system in its movie reviews.)
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