Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Break Ke Baad: Insipid romance
A day before watching “Break Ke Baad”, I heard director Danish Aslam say in a television interview that he and co-writer Renuka Kunzru worked on multiple drafts of the script, polishing it to such an extent that “there was no way we could make a bad film”.
I want to ask him, how bad was the first draft Mr Aslam?
Because even after multiple drafts, the script is shoddy, the characters are one-dimensional and every scene is filled with bad dialogue.
What could have been a smart, sassy comedy about a couple that needs some space becomes a film about a whiny girl and her doormat boyfriend and suddenly you aren’t that interested any more.
Deepika Padukone plays Aaliya, who after treating her nice-guy boyfriend Abhay (Imran Khan) like a butler suddenly decides she wants to study abroad and “take a break” so that she can focus on her career and “find herself”.
Given that all she does is drink tequila shots, party on the beach and act in college plays, I am not sure if the “focussed” part of her character comes across, even though we are assured many times, by several characters in the film, that Aaliya is a “focussed girl”.
Instead of accepting her decision to break up, Abhay decides to woo his ex-girlfriend, drops everything and comes to Australia and decides to move into the same PG accommodation she is staying in, hoping to convince her of his love.
Throughout the film, Abhay comes across as a weak person, someone who cleans up after his girlfriend, solves her every problem and basically behaves like an over-protective hen.
No wonder she wants some space. Aaliya on the other hand comes across as an air-headed, spoilt brat. These are people who can afford to do nothing in life but live off their parents’ money, think that “focussing on life” means partying on a beach, miraculously get roles in international films after one lousy college play and open several restaurants in a foreign city within year. Why would you have any sympathy for them?
Director Aslam makes sure his actors look great, but everything else seems to be on the periphery. The film is too long-drawn-out and at some point I lost track of whether Abhay and Aaliya were together or had broken up. And I didn’t care.
Of the cast, Imran Khan brings the exact same expressions he had in “I Hate Luv Storys” into this film. Deepika Padukone looks good and seems to be improving in the acting department, so there is a silver lining there. Special mention to Lillette Dubey, who in a miniscule role as Abhay’s much-married aunt, steals the film’s best lines.
Watch this film only if you have a penchant for sappy romance or for the clothes and locales. Everything else is just not worth the ticket price.