Hero and heroine meet, date, kiss, dance, sing, breakup, miss each other and get back together finally. Haven't we seen all of this together and in bits n pieces in a million hindi films. So what's new?
Jai (Saif), an architect of sorts and Meera (Deepika Padukone),a fresco artist live in the United Kingdom. Jai meets Meera at a pub, asks her out and they click instantly. For two long years they stay as a couple. Its time for Meera to move to India to continue with her work and Jai has this vision of going to San fransisco to work on the Golden Gate project. They decide to breakup but continue to keep in touch with each other. They decide to move on with their lives with Meera developing a liking for her boss Vikram (Rahul Khanna). Saif starts dating a phirang who decides to travel to India on a holiday. Jai and Meera meet up, no sparks fly, no I-missed-you happens and they merrily go dancing around Delhi. Predictably, Meera feels that its time for both of them to move on genuinely and not keep in touch though Jai the casanova really doesn't care about these 'lauvvv' talks. After a year Jai flies down for Meera's wedding with Vikram and... - does Jai get married to Meera just when Vikram is about to do the saath pheras with her? NOOOOOOO
Veer paaji [Rishi Kapoor] runs a restaurant in London . He meets Jai at his restaurant soon after he breaks up with Meera and insists that he [Jai] go to the airport to see her off. When Jai wonders why he takes so much interest in poking his nose in others' [his and Meera's] lives, Rishi says that he(Saif) reminds him of his younger days - the dashing Panju dude Veer who was after Harleen the typical silent chamattu Punjabi kudi in his locality. He starts narrating his story from the time he followed Harleen wherever she went right from the lanes of Delhi to Kolkata and then back to Delhi... Rishi is more the Love Guru of sorts who 'enlightens' Saif on saccha pyaar.
Pyaar... Ishq... Mohabbat
This movie oozes romance - be it the ekdum fullon fun that Saif and Deepika have or the 1960 type - silent, no-talking pyaar of Saif and the girl who plays (Har)leen..
And thank you, Imtiaz Ali for not using terms like Saccha Pyaar , Mohabbat ka bulandi, Ishq ki darwaza, Dosti ki dulhan etc anywhere in the film.
What works for the film are the treatment, pace and the dialogues . Even before you realize, Saif and Deepika have met, kissed, partied and broken up. And broken up with a smile, for practical reasons. The dialogues are very today and lingo not over the top. No "mujhe maaf kardo Rahul..Saccha pyaar ki imtihan" kind of dialogues. The breakup scene is a delight to watch.... actually a lot of scenes are like the one where Saif and Deepika post their breakup talk, chat and SMS each other about what they didn't like in each other which they couldn't say when they were together. Even the 60s is very mellowed down except for the bit when Leen's family opposes the entire relationship - slightly filmy I thought.
Not once do you see Leen fluttering her eyelashes - a la 'Love birds' types or putting that bun kondai running around trees only to put an official stamp to the retro bit.
Post Meera's wedding ,the pace slackens and how. For our junta who's used to hero coming to the wedding and getting married to the heroine in the last minute, this one, honestly is a downer. A huge dip from the jet speed of the film till then. The entire San fransisco bit gets maha boring with repetetive shots. Even a KK-Pritam song couldn't lift the pace and the spirit of the film.
Deepika Padukone is easily the best looking actress in Bollywood now. Thank God they didn't cast Kareena Kapoor for her role though Saif was the producer. Kareena would have butchered the role with her pout and that stupid grin of hers. Deepika is perfect as Meera and no Kareena-ing of Jab we met - I meant over acting.
The role donned by Saif is very Saif-ey - Casanova, care-a-damn about relationships, asattu dancing etc. But honestly he looks old. Time to wiggypedia dude! Would have preferred Ranbir. Ranbir would have been best as Jai and as Veer [Rishi's younger days].
Special mention to the girl who acted as Leen. Perfect looks, expressions. I mean, even a bit of an extra reaction would have killed the character. Even her dancing bit was very ordinary and not Farah Khan-ish.
Rahul Khanna joins the league of former boyfriend / to-be husband / morai payyan for which Abhishek Bachchan used to be the perfect choice in most Yashraj films. Kunal kapoor , you have stiff competition from Rahul Khanna for those 'guest' appearances.
Rishi paaji is okay and you see the ultra slim Neetu Kapoor also, in a scene.
KK and Pritam's magic that worked in all their earlier films doesn't, in Love Aaj kal. Their combination just goes past without a trace. Ofcourse the other songs - Twist and Chor bazaari are already chartbusters. But my favourite is the last song 'Aahun Aahun'. And this song reminds me this Vaadhyar's song . Pritam has taken a world tour from copying Azerbaijan, Turkey, Antarctica tunes,he's back to Kollywood. Just kidding - Its the raagam I guess!
Nutty , Editing and costumes
Nataraja Subramaniam's camera takes you on a joyride tour of London, San Fransisco, Delhi and old delhi. Delightful!
The film goes back and forth from '09 to the 60s time and again when both stories run parallely. Commendable job by the editor. But in bits and portions the to and fro is kinda painful.
Deepika's tight jeans churidar and Anarkali kurti is Linking road's next fresh maal, mark my words.
You may see traces of Jaane Tu... in a few scenes and the story but Love Aaj Kal is refreshingly different. No Kal throwing on this one. Your weekend majaa guaranteed from director Imtiaz Ali!
Love Aaj Kalakkal - 4 out 5