Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Love Aaj Kal: Not very original but it works
There’s one thing about an Imtiaz Ali film — it may not have the most original storyline or cutting-edge techniques, but it sure has the best dialogues. And that, in my opinion, is the USP of his films.
Director Ali is telling you a regular love story, where you know immediately that the two lead characters are going to end up with each other, but his treatment is fresh and the people in the film don’t act filmy (which sounds like a paradox, but isn’t).
“Love Aaj Kal” begins with the story of Jai Vardhan Singh (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera Pandit (Deepika Padukone), who in London and in love with each other, but are “practical” enough to realise that their relationship can’t take priority over their careers.
So when Meera decides to move to India to pursue a career in conservation architecture, the duo decide to break up, albeit amicably. There are no tantrums, no tears and instead of being sad about it, they decide it’s best to be practical, even throwing a “break-up” party to celebrate the event.
In New Delhi, Meera starts going out with her boss (Rahul Khanna) while Jai falls for a Swiss girl called Jo. He also meets a café owner called Veer Singh (played endearingly by Rishi Kapoor) who narrates his own love story to him, which we get to see in flashback.
Saif plays the younger Rishi Kapoor and is noticeably uncomfortable in his role as a Sikh man in love with Harleen (played by newcomer Gisele). This love track lends to some tender moments in the film, especially the one where Saif’s character lands up in front of Harleen’s balcony one fine morning.
Both the stories play out almost parallel to each other, and while both “styles” of love are diametrically different, they end almost identically, which makes for a nice touch.
Like I said before, the story isn’t very original, reminding you at times of “Hum Tum”, “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” and even “Socha Na Tha” and Jab We Met, Ali’s earlier films. But watch out for the interactions between Jai and Meera, they are the highlight of the film and the reason it works.
Saif Ali Khan is pleasant to watch and good at what he does, but he reminded me too much of his character in “Hum Tum”. Rishi Kapoor is great in the tiny role he has and so is Rahul Khanna. Watch out for Deepika Padukone. She is endearing and eminently watchable in this performance. Ali does get the best out of his heroines.
“Love Aaj Kal” is good weekend watching, so I would say go for it.