When I was younger, I considered Imitiaz A li to be a magician. Remember films like Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal (2009 version). They were sheer magic. But then, I took up this job of watching movies to sustain myself. I don’t know if I have changed or this man has, but I haven’t enjoyed his films with the same fervour anymore. (Case in point, I had only watched Jab Harry Met Sejal after I started watching films for a living). It would be wrong to say that I had walked inside the theatre to watch Love Aaj Kal starring Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan with massive expectations, but I had this idea in my head that Imitiaz is after all a magician. But honestly, this film too is a failed magic trick.
The problem with this film, what I feel is, it’s kind of hollow inside. And this, coupled with bad acting, and loose grasp on the part of the director, makes it bad. I can never say that an Ali film is unwatchable, but this one is disappointing. He weaves a fantastic tale of the 90s but when he comes to the millennial dating scene, it is flawed and twisted to say the least.
The film is stuck in problems. Firstly, the acting ruins the experience to an unthinkable level. Sara Ali Khan, who had impressed us with Kedarnath, is super OTT and soooo loud that it hurts. She is trying way too hard to fit into the shoes of Zoe Chauhan, so much that the effort sometimes even strains her face. What Kareena Kapoor effortlessly did as a loud Geet was an epic failure for Sara Ali Khan. Yes, characters like Zoe exist, but this character was kind of ruined. There’s problem with the writing of this character and it is mainly because of the problems with Zoe that the films hangs loose.
Kartik Aryan is good as Raghu, but is terribly inconsistent as Veer. But he is also a revelation here, as he breaks from the stereotypical roles that we have seen him in! His earnestness is commendable. Arushi Sharma is the surprise here. Even though she has less screen space, she is brilliant in it. Randeep Hooda is good. But Kartik’s prosthetics in the latter half of the film to make him look somewhat similar to Randeep Hooda is distracting.
Most of my problems with the film is with how the character of Zoe has been written. She is a self proclaimed bitch, a feisty, headstrong and ambitious woman who wants to explore her options before she settles down and has her entire life planned out! But why does this woman get the man to pay the bills on her dates? Is work-life balance such a big deal really?
There’s the 'cutification' of stalking once again, that is being redeemed with, ‘tumhe jab bhi lage main tumhe tang kar raha hoon, mujhe bata dena, main chala jaunga’. Nope! In fact, Imitiaz Ali gets stuck in the clichés that he tries to break in his other films in this one.
The film fails to suck you in the narrative. While the then part is beautiful, the aaj could have been so much better. While the cinematography is nice, we can’t say the same about the editing part! You would know it when you see the part where Zoe faces acute inner conflict! The music and the songs are one of the biggest USPs of the film. Just to give a hint, KK and Mohit Chauhan have lent their voice in this film!
All in all, we hope Imtiaz Ali takes notes from this one and redeems himself soon.