Love Aaj Kal … And Hopefully Never [Movie Review]

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I made the mistake of reading reviews before going to watch the Imitiaz Ali directed Love Aaj Kal. I mean, that’s a huge taboo in my book, to be honest. Because you see, movies are very personal experiences. In most cases, your understanding of a movie will not align with that of another person’s. So, I was actually ready to absolutely hate it and come back and rant about it here. But boy was I surprised by my reaction.

Jo Tum Naa Ho

Love Aaj Kal is a movie that spans two timelines, 1990 and 2020. And the 1990 love story was my absolute favorite. It was actually what made the movie very tolerable. Aarushi Sharma is probably the best part of Love Aaj Kal for me. Her effortless acting and beautiful, quiet demeanor complemented her role as the fiery but very quiet Leena. Raghu and Leena’s love story formed the crux of the story. Randeep Hooda as the older Raghu (or Raj) is also excellent and is the other good part of the movie.

Haan Main Galat

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However, all is not well. Actually, most aren’t. Although the 1990 part was excellent to watch, the same cannot be said for the 2020 part. Veer and Zoe’s relationship is an eye-sore. Firstly, Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan make the perfect cute millennial couple but, as actors, are inept of carrying on their shoulders a movie that has so many intense emotional scenes. I liked Kartik in his previous movies but they probably worked because he didn’t need to invest much behind emoting different emotions. Veer is, in a way, like Joe Goldberg, but more awkward. He will give you serial-stalker/killer vibes from the moment he starts stalking and perusing Zoe relentlessly. At one point, I was expecting him to take her to the secret lair under his house – complete with a glass cage. Also, what is it with him telling Zoe that she is “special” and thus he cannot have sex with her? it’s 2020 – that is not a thing anymore! However, he is tolerable as Raghu and his bumbling acting seems very genuine.

Galat Ho Jaa Tu Bhi

Sara Ali Khan is another ball-game. I mean, I don’t even know where to start. There was just too much acting. Normal people do not react the way she reacted to situations, and her shrill screams did not help with the affairs at hand. By what little idea I have of acting, I think the whole point is to not let the audience be immersed in the story. However, I was aware of Sara’s every reaction throughout and thus constantly hindered from having that experience.

Rahogi Meri

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All, however, is not lost. There were a lot of parts that I genuinely quite liked. The entire 1990 part, obviously, but especially the dance sequence between Raghu and Leena is very close to my heart. Apart from that, the Rahogi Meri song’s picturization is so beautiful (Raghu and Leena in the train! I cannot!). Also, Veer and Zoe’s last scene where she finds him after searching for him all over Himachal – absolutely amazing. Simone Singh is quite nice as Zoe’s mom who is very abusive towards her – not physically but definitely mentally. The way she put all of her problems on Zoe’s shoulders from a young age and basically molded her into a very disturbed individual is something people don’t usually pay attention to – but definitely should.

Par Rahena Chahiye Kya?

With all things said and done, the entire conflict that Zoe and Veer have is entirely in Zoe’s mind. Veer is somewhat of a puppy, who will come running to Zoe whenever he is called. It’s quite pathetic and annoying. There is no conflict because right before any conflict can arise, Zoe overthinks and messes things up – it’s quite underwhelming. At one point, she has a complete meltdown at Veer’s house, in front of his parents. That scene was so cringy that it made me angry. Zoe gets a job in one of her dream companies in Dubai and decides to not go there because she wants to stay close to Veer. That’s great – her choice. She then proceeds to insult Veer because she decided to not go… and tries to portray it such that it is his fault – where he didn’t even know about this entire episode before this point. Throughout this entire sequence, instead of sympathizing with the protagonists, I just wanted them to shut up.

In Conclusion

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Love Aaj Kal is an entertaining watch if you have nothing to do over the weekend. The songs are the best part of the movie and every single one is amazing. The direction and costumes are great and if the acting was better, you could probably be able to salvage something. It made me yearn for Deepika and Ranbir’s pairing because the film gave me such Tamasha vibes. If, however, you have high expectations from Imtiaz Ali, give this one a skip.

You can read more of my movie reviews here.

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Archi Sengupta
Horror Movies + Cats > People

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