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Love Aaj Kal August 10, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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When a film turns out to be a rather unexpected blockbuster it could be that it really was that good or it was just able to to successfully tap into the sensibilites of a large segment of moviegoers. For me, Love Aaj Kal clearly fell into the latter category. Imtiaz Ali’s first two films (Socha Na Tha, Jab We Met) weren’t exactly super-hits during their release but today they are considered to be standout films in what is a worn-out genre.

Love Aaj Kal at its core relies on that crappy Hollywood romcom formula about two people breaking up and taking up the entire duration of the film to realize that they “truly love” each other. In this flick, there is an additional parallel story running in an earlier era where “true love” truly was true. This clever narrative does make the proceedings a lot more interesting but looking back it seems like a substitute for lack of content. There is no doubt that Imtiaz Ali has brilliant writing and directing skills this film too is no exception. His previous films were undoubtedly a lot more fun and had characters you could identify with. I might have enjoyed this film more if the “fun” part overshadowed everything else but it seemed to take itself too seriously which is the biggest complaint I have against this one. Even if it did not appeal to me, I must accept that sitting through this wasn’t a bad experience at all.

Saif is wonderful in both the roles he plays. He is probably a bit too old for a part like this – however you forget about this aspect when you watch him perform. Deepika seems to be a pretty bad choice. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her emoting but her dialogue delivery is always so bland that if you were to listen to her closing your eyes – it  sounds like a sonorous speech where the emphasis is on just getting the pronunciation of every word right. Rishi Kapoor gets another nice supporting role in what seems to be his real comeback year. The much kept-under-wraps Giselli Monteiro is cute but that’s about it. Rahul Khanna is unimpressive in a short supporting role. The visuals are beautiful (the period pieces specially) and add a lot to the film. Pritam’s score fits in nicely though there aren’t any great numbers to watch out for.

If you are a sucker for romcoms in general then you can’t ask for anything better than Love Aaj Kal – for the rest it’s just a pleasant but unmemorable film. Imtiaz Ali might not have picked the right film to make but his solid effort nevertheless shows – I am still eager to know what he makes next.

Jab We Met October 27, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Imtiaz Ali’s highly underrated debut feature Socha Na Tha brought a certain freshness to chiche-ridden Bollywood romances….with Jab We Met he has mastered the genre completely.

The plot is the typical tried and tested romcom formula. The basic premise (more specifically the part until the protagonists meet) seems to have been a bit inspired from Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (another underrated romcom). Aditya (Shahid Kapoor/Kapur – no idea about the correct spelling after he split with Kareena) is a failed businessman who on being dumped by his girlfriend ends up in a train with the intention of jumping out of it and ending his life. On the same train is the motormouth Geet (Kareena Kapoor) who ends up sitting next to him trying to strike a conversation. In this process she ends up missing her train multiple times at various stations and he is now given the responsibility of transporting her safely to her destination. Actually, she is on her way to meet her parents for one last time before she secretly packs off to get married to her boyfriend Anshuman (Tarun Arora). How Aditya and Geet’s journey finally gets them together forms the rest of the story.

As in Imtiaz’s previous film the thing which stands out is the brilliant characterization of the protagonists and the dialogue. Kareena’s lines are absolutely hillarious (some of which you might have seen in the promos). The scenes between Shahid and Kareena will have you in splits throughout. The emotional moments are expertly handled too. Though the purpose here is to thoroughly entertain this is not a dumb comedy. The interactions between the lead pair do make you think at times. The screenplay is so good that even the regular “highly irritating Bollywood Punjabi household” charms you.

Pritam’s score is situational and suits the mood of the film. I especially likes the song “Yeh Ishq Haae” for its interesting musical arrangement. Shahid and Kareena deliver their career-best performances. Kareena’s reputation as an actress has been marred by the kind of roles she’s done in the past but this performance of hers shows why she is one of the best actresses we have. Despite not having the best lines, Shahid holds his own with his nuanced performance and never once do you feel that he is overshadowed by Kareena. It is ironical that their pairing which has finally clicked with this film comes immediately after their break-up.

Jab We Met is one of those few flicks in which everything seems to have worked perfectly; you wouldn’t want to find any flaws because it does so well a job of regaling you….whether you are a serious moviegoer or someone just looking out for some timepass. Go watch it!