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Love Aaj Kal movie review

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Love Aaj Kal

Cast Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Neetu Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor    more...
Director Imtiaz Ali
Romance / General.

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The Love Aaj Kal Movie Review

Best romantic film in years
By N K Deoshi
Rating: 3.5/5

It’s the best romantic film to have come out of Bollywood in years

The mighty mysterious love, which has remained unexplained even after tomes of literature has been written about it and tones of celluloid consumed, finds a delicate, touching expression in director Imtiaz Ali’s film Love Aaj Kal. Through two parallel love stories, both equally moving and relatable, the movie tells its audience that Love Aaj is no different from Love Kal (yesterday) even though the way of expressing it for today’s i-pod generation may be different from that of the lovers of yore when just the meeting of eyes or passing of a smile could throb a heart more than a rocking bed on a one-night stand.

London 2009. Jai (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera (Deepika Padukone) click on their very first meeting in a pub and end up sharing their first kiss the same night. They don’t realize they are a couple until their friends point it out to them. And just when it seems they would walk hand-in-hand into the sunset, rears its head the modern-day monster that has doomed many love stories - Career! He has an American dream of clinching a job in Golden Gate, San Francisco, while she wants to make a career out of restoring the old monuments of Delhi. Clearly, their ways are separate, and, like any ‘practical’ couple, they mutually decide to split and even throw a break-up party.

But, can the matters of heart be resolved so easily? Is it so easy to snap the heart strings and move on?

The answer is given through the love story of a London restaurateur (Rishi Kapoor).

Delhi 1965. Veer Singh (Saif, again) is left thunderstruck when he first sees Harleen (Giselle Monteiro - a beautiful newcomer whose name was strangely withheld). It’s a love mostly expressed in stares and suppressed smiles. But then, she goes away to Calcutta, leaving Veer lifeless, until he listens to his heart, and, driven by his love, overcomes the many odds piled up against him, to make Harleen his.

But will Jai go the Veer way?

Imtiaz Ali has crafted the film superbly by not just juxtapositioning the love stories of Jai and Veer but also following a non-linear route to tell each story. The dots are connected in an aesthetically beautiful way to give ‘Love Aaj Kal’ the structure of a complex origami that makes complete sense when all its segments come together to unravel a pretty design. And a fat share of credit for this should go to the editor, Aarti Bajaj, who does an incredibly good job.

To top it, Saif Ali Khan gives the best performance of his career. Unlike the painful performances we saw in Tashan and Race, here’s a Saif who is subtle, polished and spot on in his dual portrayal of Jai and Veer. There’s a scene where Saif is nonchalantly telling Rishi Kapoor that Deepika, from whom he has split, will move on in life, have new friends and new relationships. It’s quite a sight to see how his expression and tone changes from being dismissive to painfully sad by the end of the same long dialogue. It’s the stuff only seasoned actors can pull off.

Deepika Padukone is an image of grace in a role that requires her to talk more through the eyes than words. She doesn’t ham, nor is there any apparent effort on her part to underplay her character. Rishi Kapoor is good, but a special mention ought to be made of the girl who plays Harleen. She’s a pretty, delicate damsel who gets just two-three dialogues in the film but still leaves her image in your mind. Rahul Khanna, playing the new man in Deepika’s life, has a very small part which he plays convincingly.

Imtiaz Ali, whose forte is love stories, surpasses his previous two films Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met to touch a new high in ‘Love Aaj Kal’. The movie not just has an interesting structure and form, but a throbbing soul that reaches out to a viewer and sucks him/her in. Yes, there are a few sequences in the second half when the film slows down, particularly when Saif begins to date the blonde bombshell (Florence Brudenell-Bruce). But these hitches are too minor when compared to the impressive picture put together by Imtiaz.

Sprinkled throughout with light humour and songs that are hummable (thanks to Pritam), ‘Love Aaj Kal’ is a heady love potion strongly recommended to both the believers and non-believers of the ‘Heer-Ranjha’, ‘Romeo-Juliet’ kind of ‘janam janam ka saath’ stories.

Go watch it. You won’t be disappointed. Rather, you’d be left wanting to fall in love, if you are already not in it, that is.

Rating: ***1/2

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23 Aug 2010
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