Fenil and Bollywood

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Very rarely do you come across a film which fulfills all your expectations and in fact, provides more than expected. This year, however, we were mostly bombarded with some pathetic flicks. But behold as Love Aaj Kal has arrived! The film sees love and relationships in a new light but what works big time is its terrific execution and smart storytelling. Love Aaj Kal is surely one of the most refreshing romantic flicks to come out of Bollywood!

The story of the movie: Jai (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera (Deepika Padukone) is a modern-day couple based in London. They are always together but are clueless whether they can be categorized as ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’! Meera gets an opportunity to move to Delhi which she doesn’t want to miss while Jai is soon going to be at San Francisco. Jai and Meera conclude that their long-distance relationship won’t work and thus, decide to break-up (happily). At this point, Jai comes across veteran Veer Singh (Rishi Kapoor) who is shocked to see how Jai treats relationships and break them so easily. He is of the view that the present generation can’t understand love. Love is that trap in which he got entangled 4 decades back when he was the dashing and cool Delhiite Veer (played by Saif again) and when he came across Harleen Kaur (Giselle Monteiro). Jai laughs at Veer as to how he had travelled thousand kilometers from Delhi to Calcutta just to catch a glimpse of Harleen.

Jai-MeeraVeer-Harleen-both these ‘love stories’ were poles apart and of different generations. But love is the same as it was 4 decades back. Jai soon realizes that he’s having the same feeling and experience that Veer must have gone through when he fell in love with Harleen!

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The opening scenes give a strong indication that Love Aaj Kal is a different and unique film. During the opening credits, the glimpse of the scenes to follow is shown but yet, you won’t be able to guess what’s going to happen in the film! The execution and editing really works wonders in this film!

The first half of this film is very interesting and surprising. The way the couple break-up was indeed hilarious! Jai and Meera keeping in touch with all modern-day means of communication (sms, call, internet, Mobile Internet) makes you smile. And the eternal Jai-Harleen cute love story also flashes a smile on one’s face, albeit for a different reason!

Telling two stories that run parallel in a film is not easy but Imtiaz executes them with élan and even intersects them wonderfully, a la Rang De Basanti style! Also, the film, especially in the 2nd half reminds one of Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na.

The film gets slow and drags at few places in the 2nd half. But the final 30 minutes compensates for the cons. The film manages to show a true picture of today’s confused individuals who fail to think rationally before taking big decisions and denounce and detest love.

When it comes to performances, each one is brilliant in their place. Saif Ali Khan shines wonderfully and manages to come up with one of the outstanding performances of his career. He had two diverse roles in the film and he performed both of them perfectly. It was a treat to see Saif as Jai getting confused, irritated, sad, shocked-all at once in a couple of sequences. At the same time, he looked like a convincing Sikh and was extremely likeable as Veer Singh too. It’s great to see Saif in another modern and fresh love story (after Salaam|Namaste) and this time, he scores as the producer too. He’s definitely on a roll!

Deepika Padukone was simply outstanding and gives a charming performance. Her brilliant job will surely put an end to all speculation regarding why Kareena was not casted in her place. Deepika was perfect for her role and she and Saif look excellent together. Love Aaj Kal would surely be another feather in her cap. Great going, Deepika!

Rishi Kapoor also manages to impress as much as Saif and Deepika. Everyone will surely love him in the still-young-at-heart role. After Luck By Chance, this is surely another brilliant performance from this actor. The one who enacted the role of Harleen is actually a Brazlian, Giselle Monteiro. Yet, she is likeable as the Punjabi kudi of the 60s. Only someone like Imtiaz Ali can extract such fine desi performance from a firangi! Rahul Khanna is as usual charming. It’ll be great if he gets the role of protagonist too! Neetu Kapoor comes in unexpectedly! Raj Zutshi and others were okay.

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One can argue that songs weren’t necessary in the film. Quite true, since many songs crop up unexpectedly and the film could have been a romantic songless flick! However, although songs at several places weren’t necessary, it doesn’t bore or put a brake on the narrative. And the songs itself are so good that one doesn’t mind! Pritam scores a sixer with this album and is surely one of his best compositions. Also, songs are also very well picturised, esp ‘Mein Kya Hoon’. It was just outstanding and also impactful. ‘Ajj Din Chadeya’, the best song of the film in my view, also brings a smile on one’s face, even though only the initial part of the song is played in the film. Rest of the songs, ‘Twist’, ‘Dooriyaan’, ‘Chor Bazaari’ and ‘Thoda Thoda Pyaar’ are brilliant too!

Irshad Kamil’s lyrics also deserve a special mention. The way he has used some unusual words in songs is extraordinary. For instance, in Chor Bazaari, the word ‘ghatna’, which is never before heard in any song before, is used here!

N Natarajan Subramaniam’s cinematography was flawless. It’s great to see the lensman didn’t show the popular landmarks of the city in which film is shot. For instance, in scenes of London, not even a single scene or frame show Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square or any other popular London landmark. Similarly, Red Fort and India Gate are missing in the Delhi sequences! It is little things like these that make Love Aaj Kal special!

Salim-Sulaiman’s background score, as expected, was top-notch. Aarti Bajaj’s editing was sharp, slick and brilliant. Watch the film and you’ll get my point! Production design was marvelous and eye-catching, especially in the sepia coloured 60’s scenes!

Finally, Imtiaz Ali, the writer and director, comes out with flying colours! His debut film, Socha Na Tha flopped but it was noticed and appreciated by moviegoers. His second offering, Jab We Met, succeeded across the country. And now with his third flick, he has surely been hailed as the one of the finest directors of our country. The way he treated both the diverse stories and found out striking similarities is worth appreciating and extra ordinary! Also, it’s fabulous to see Imtiaz comparing Calcutta and San Francisco. Both the cities have a tram network and if SF has the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Calcutta have the rustic Howrah Bridge! Hats off Imtiaz for your wonderful effort!

Some of the best scenes of the film:

  1. All songs (well shot and picturised)
  2. Jai and Meera’s break-up
  3. Jai and Veer Singh’s conversations (damn interesting!)
  4. Jai and Meera at the airport
  5. All scenes of Veer-Harleen’s love story
  6. Drunk Jai escorting drunk Meera to her home
  7. The New Year’s eve at Delhi
  8. The marriage
  9. The last 30 mins, including the SF scenes!

On the whole, Love Aaj Kal is a very interesting take on the modern relationships and surely emerges as one of the best films of the year. Performances, songs, cinematography rocks but it is Imtiaz Ali’s touch which works wonders! Highly recommended!

My rating-**** ½ out of 5!

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