Love Aaj Kal Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and a half stars!)
Star Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Randeep Hooda, Arushi Sharma
Director: Imtiaz Ali
What’s Good: When you thought Imtiaz Ali is done with love, he shows you how he has just started
What’s Bad: It gives you no time to get ready for what’s coming next because the ‘next’ is already there since the beginning
Loo Break: If you’re in despite reading everything about the film, you won’t need it
Watch or Not?: I’m the same guy who also gave Jab Harry Met Sejal 3.5 stars & I still stand by it, so please choose your movie-watching preference wisely
To an extension to Imtiaz’s universe, Veer (Kartik Aaryan) and Zoe (Kartik Aaryan) are one of the most complicated characters he has ever penned. They aren’t complicated for what they do, they’re for what they don’t. An always confused yet true to his heart Veer isn’t your run-of-the-mill hero, he’s just your routine person who believes true love exists. He feels Zoe, a girl with a plan set until her retirement, is his soulmate and decides to stalk.
Raj (Randeep) is the owner of a cafe in which Veer and Zoe meet. Raj helps Zoe get close to Veer by sharing some real-life incidents. Incidents from 1990 when we had a simple version of love. With each of the incident Raj narrates, he brings in some notable changes in the couple’s life. It’s about how stories from both the eras have one thing in common ‘a knotty maze’ which aids the characters to define their version of love.
You know it’s pure Imtiaz when the film starts with a quote from Rumi. What’s interesting is Imtiaz uses half of the quote, “The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you…” The other half of this quote is, “…not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.” Completed this quote because this is what the script is. It’s just another Ali’s way of looking at how love could be. It unfurls a different layer emotional depth which is still new even for Imtiaz.
The problem emerges when all starts getting serious even for Imtiaz level. Under the bright, quirky graffiti walls, Imtiaz stuffs the dark-undertones which explodes together. It’s one of those movies which I’ll cherish forever but find it hard to recommend to anyone whom I don’t know well. It’ll be emotionally exhausting for many.
Just like his character Kartik Aaryan wanders through Ali’s narration. He’s lost but knows the destination and hence surrenders himself completely to the director. Kartik breaks every single rule set by him and the vulnerability around his character diminishes the restrictions he had for himself. As every Imtiaz Ali hero has layers and so does Kartik, he tries to peel them off but there are times when he comes across trying too hard.
You give Imtiaz raw & rustic charm, he’ll return you, Heer or Tara. We watch Sara Ali Khan grow as an actor with every passing scene. There are some hits and some misses but we see her playing around the range many are afraid of even after years. Sara takes a brave and bold decision to be Zoe and proved to be much more than just a beautiful face.
Randeep Hooda’s presence is way much than a cameo. He holds the most important aspects of the film and rightfully so. In a way, he’s the whole purpose of the film and his staggering presence justifies his act. He successfully tackles everything that Imtiaz throws at him, only to present it in a way it should’ve been.
Arushi Sharma is natural. Under the burdened of such layered screenplay, it becomes tough for first-timers to understand every nuance. She not only fits in well but also confines her screen-space making sure it just belongs to her. A terrific debut!
Imtiaz Ali takes this a level ahead & I’ll explain how. Till now problem was to build the love around the story, but this one’s already a love story, what now? He, yet again, masters the non-linear storyline keeping things neat and uncomplicated (timeline-wise). Ali uses a bit from each of his films, few traits from Rockstar’s Janardhan, a sprinkle of Cocktail’s Deepika, another way of narrating stories in a story after Tamasha & much more. The problem with Imtiaz’s direction is, he knows the route he takes might not be the most travelled but still he opts for it throwing us into the unknown.
Songs in an Imtiaz Ali film serves more than just melodious track with a soothing voice. To avoid the all-dialogue scenario, he gets his lines moulded into songs to continue the conversation. More than what Arijit Singh, Pritam have done to this album, this is “(Irshad) Kamil Ka Kamaal”. Parmeswara from the unreleased takes gives you the Chali Kahani vibes & the rap in it is a deal-breaker. Jubin Nautiyal croons the reprise version of Shayad and there’s a huge surprise by Mohit Chauhan. It’s an orgasm of an album.
All said and done, Love Aaj Kal is yet another wild ride taken by Imtiaz Ali in the quest to give a new meaning to the old love. Watch it along with your broken heart.
Three and a half stars!
Love Aaj Kal releases on 14th February, 2020.
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