Love Aaj Kal Hindi Movie Review
Sometimes the pleasure of watching a film can be purely in discovering the evolution and growth of a filmmaker. Love Aaj Kal is evidently the work of a deeply self-conscious and self-critical artist, and while it might be flawed, it's great to seeing Imtiaz Ali mature, and more importantly- not rest on his past success. The Jab We Met albatross hangs heavy on his shoulders, but like Jai (Saif Ali Khan) and Meera (Deepika Padukone), Ali tries his best to move on.
Ali's biggest strength, of course has always been his writing and he starts out with a bold (even if just by Bollywood romance standards) screenplay style. Boy meets girl, and after just in a span of about fifteen minutes that charmingly delineate different points in their relationship, we have the couple breaking up. It's written and executed in a remarkably matter of fact way, and it's flummoxing to see how Ali later falls in the trap of long-drawn melodrama. Like Jab We Met, the screenplay suffers from a strong second half syndrome where there just isn't enough dramatic tension to drive the film effectively to the end, and that hurts more here since unlike Jab We Met, this is more complex and sombre material.
Still, the dialogue is especially witty and smart- relatable and relevant- except in a few parts where it tries too hard, desperately trying to keep a 'Hinglish' tone. So 'I'm going out with her' becomes 'Main uske saath bahaar ja raha hoon'. The casting is extremely smart, and casting Deepika as Meera is a masterstroke. Not the best of actresses, Deepika does however have a natural, down to earth 'normal' charm, and a nice elusive quality to her personality which Ali uses well. She does, however stumble badly in a few dialogue heavy scenes, especially in one instance where she nearly reduces an emotional moment to bad comedy. Saif does well (though in a predictable way) as Jai and as the younger Veer (who is played otherwise by a heart warming Rishi Kapoor) in the parallel retro track where he struggles with his uneven Punjabi accent.
On the technical front, Nataraja Subramaniam's frames are gorgeously mounted, and the film sharply benefits from Aarti Bajaj's editing.
On the whole, despite its inherent flaws, Love Aaj Kal is still rather enjoyable and has more than it's fair share of nice moments. So while the whole doesn't match up to the sum of its parts, I still reccomend you watch Love Aaj Kal. Just remember to leave Jab We Met at home.