The ApunKaChoice movie review of Always Kabhi Kabhi. For the kids who never got a chance to study in a school but got literate enough to read this review, Always Kabhi Kabhi could have that other-worldly charm that Disneyland may have for a Martian. But those who have lived and loved the school life to the hilt, Always Kabhi Kabhi is not even a trip down memory lane, back into the school campus and corridors when you secretly eyed the girl or boy you had a crush on and, if lucky, went on to win their love.
Director Roshan Abbas’ film Always Kabhi Kabhi deals with the issues that every teenager has grappled with: parental pressure, first crushes, teen anxieties, insecurities, follies, and the eventual stepping into adulthood. And all this is done in such an old-school way that despite the myriad topics the film tries to touch upon, it merely skims the surface without making any impact. Putting succinctly, it speaks much, says little.
With the exception of the Giselle Monteiro’s gentle Aishwarya, almost every character is verbose. Leading the bratpack is Nandini (Zoa Morani) the bull, or the bully who none wants to mess with. She is a rich spoilt girl with strained relationship with her parents. On the opposite end is Tariq (Satyajeet Dubey), the geek encumbered with stifling expectations of his father who wants him to top the school and enter MIT. Then there is the ‘who-cares?’ dude Sameer (Ali Fazal) caught up in a mess with corrupt cops. And there’s the sweet and beautiful Aishwarya (Giselle Monteiro) whose mother wants her to be Miss India some day.
The film revolves around these four characters, as they fall in love and come to terms with parental pressure as well.
Director Roshan Abbas’ amateurishness shows through many sequences in the film: like the suicide sequence or the twist about Nandini’s pregnancy. Abbas sticks to safe clichés and doesn’t really think out of the box. Songs keep popping up in the narrative from time to time, and pretty much nothing happens in the first half. In the second half, the director realizes that and squeezes in more than the script could have handled. So we have the teenage angst and love complications being handled against the backdrop of a Romeo and Juliet play that culminates with a climax so ineffective that even Shahrukh Khan’s gyrations don’t perk you up.
In performances, Zoa Morani is the find of the season. She’s every bit the firebrand, the hot-tempered yet vulnerable girl she’s supposed to be. She shines out in the pack along with Ali Fazal who’s charming and at ease playing the part. Giselle does weave an aura of mystique around her, but that’s more because of her unconventional beauty than performance. Satyajeet Dubey shows the promise but doesn’t deliver anything extraordinary.
In a nutshell, Always Kabhi Kabhi falls way SOE. That's the acronym for ‘short of expectations’.