Monday, Feb 17, 2020 | Last Update : 01:20 PM IST

Review: Kal, Imtiaz Ali’s films were irritating. Aaj, they are insufferable

THE ASIAN AGE. | SUPARNA SHARMA
Published : Feb 14, 2020, 4:12 pm IST
Updated : Feb 14, 2020, 7:19 pm IST

You're better off glaring at the head of the guy in front

Love Aaj Kal: A bore then and now
 Love Aaj Kal: A bore then and now
Rating:

Love Aaj Kal (U/A, 141 min)
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Aarushi Sharma, Randeep Hooda, Simone Singh
Direction: Imtiaz Ali

Kal, a girl in a blue skirt and a boy in khaki pants.
Aaj, a girl in shorts and a boy with questionable hygiene.

Kal, girl asking boy why he’s chasing her.
Aaj, girl asking boy why he didn’t sleep with her. 

Kal, boy says, “Okay, I'll stop chasing you”.
Aaj, boy says, “You're special.”

Kal, girl says, “Did I ask you not to chase me?”
Aaj, girl says, “Whateverrrr”.

Kal, boy is Veer (Kartik Aaryan), girl is Leena (Aarushi Sharma)
Aaj, boy is Raghu (Kartik Aaryan), girl is Zoe (Sara Ali Khan)

Kal, Leena did kathak.
Aaj, Zoe does zumba.

Kal, Leena wore a salwar-kameez with a dupatta.
Aaj, Zoe wears small, trendy clothes and high heels.

Kal, she stood scared in the balcony.
Aaj, she has tequila shots in a pub.

Kal, Leena had a plait and was very scared of her mother.
Aaj, Zoe’s hair is streaked and she shouts at her mother. 

Kal, Veer was studying to be a doctor.
Aaj, Raghu is a computer programmer.

Kal, Leena was a student in a convent school.
Aaj, Zoe has plans of running an event management company.

Aaj, a love guru, a philosopher-guide (Randeep Hooda) runs Mazi (past), a coffee shop-cum-co-working space that has a bar. He has a kal, and a room upstairs to make out with random girls. Zoe works out of Mazi, that Raghu starts frequenting. Whenever we are in aaj with love guru, we go to his kal for some love lessons.

Kal, Veer and Leena had a thing — whenever they met, she would suddenly, quickly kiss him.
Aaj, Zoe and Raghu make out and then she lies on top of him.
 

Kal, Veer loved Leena, and she loved him back.
Aaj, Raghu loves Zoe, and she loved him back.

Kal, he had issues, complexes.
Aaj, she has issues, complexes.

Kal, Veer hurt Leena, but hurt himself as well.
Aaj, Zoe hurts Raghu, but hurts herself as well.

Kal, parson, tarson, narson, in fact for barson, Imtiaz Ali has made the same film, over and over — Jab We Met (2007), Love Aaj Kal (2009), Rockstar (2011), Cocktail (2010), Highway (2014), Tamasha (2015), Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017).
Aaj, he has made the same film, again.

Kal, parson, tarsonnarson, Imtiaz Ali’s films were about the redemptive power of love.
Aaj, his film is about the redemptive power of love.

Kal, his heroines were child-babes.
Aaj, his heroine is a child-babe.

Kal, parson, narson, tarson, his heroes and heroines found themselves through love, else they feel very lost-lost, sad-sad.
Aaj, his hero and heroine find themselves through love, and without it they feel very lost-lost, sad-sad.

Kal, Imtiaz Ali was besotted with boys and girls with tiny IQs.
Aaj, he is still obsessed with boys and girls with tiny IQs.  

Kal, I thought Imtiaz Ali would grow up after having made the same film over and over.
Aaj, it is clear that Imtiaz Ali doesn’t want to grow up and will keep making the same film over and over, and then again.

Kal, Imtiaz Ali knew how to write and had at least a semblance of a story.
Aaj, he has lost that skill as well, and instead of a story, has only expository dialogue.

Love Aaj Kal 2020 has no story whatsoever and so most of the time is spent talking about love, how love feels, what love does, instead of showing it.

Imagine a road-trip movie where instead of an actual road trip, the lead pair take turns to sit with an Uncle at a coffee shop while he tells them about a road trip he once went on. But instead of talking about interesting, fun stuff, the story he narrates goes like this: “I checked out a car, then I took it for a spin, it got a flat, I changed the tyre. Then again there was a puncture. Mileage wasn’t good. The gear stick was wobbly, the wipers were not moving smoothly. When I put the window down, the breeze was good, but her hair got tangled. She was not happy.”

Now imagine that the girl who comes to listen to Uncle, walks in and walks out hyperventilating, like all of the time.

Leena, from kal, i.e. 1990 in Udaipur, barely talks. But Zoe of 2020 more than makes up for that Leena, and all the Leenas born and brought up in the three decades between them.

Zoe is a character created out Imtiaz Ali’s own issues and complexes about women and love. Thus, she has a huffy demeanour, throws tantrums, has only exaggerated responses, lots of petulance and speaks all of the time. Yet, the instructions to the cameraman were to crouch in front of her and stare up with a besotted grin and a throbbing heart, like a duffer in love.

At one point, after we return from flashback to aaj, Zoe says to cafe uncle, “Life. Haan!”

I mean, the banality is just staggering. 

Zoe's character is so idiotic that she has a hissy fit before taking a life-altering decision based on what the cafe uncle or her mother have said.

Randeep Hooda is often good, but here he is inept and unbearable. 

Sara Ali Khan is so, so, so bad, almost as if she has regressed as an actor since Kedarnath (2018). After some time her voice and exaggerated actions and gestures started grating on my nerves. 

Kartik Aaryan and Aarushi barely have a dialogue, either kal or aaj, and yet they try to hold the film with some acting. But neither love nor acting can save this meandering, dull banality.

Though I liked Jab We Met, and Highway to some extent, I have never been a fan of Imtiaz Ali. And now I have developed contempt for his baby-doll heroines who act out and throw tantrums all the time, and his indulgent, moronic film-making.

Somewhere in the middle of Love Aaj Kal arrives a stand-up comedy routine by one Justice Chaudhary who essentially says that because the male members of cattle at his home are not into monogamy and don’t wear any clothes, he too has decided to discard both, monogamy and clothes. 

Huh? If you figure that out, do drop a line.

Else, implore the mighty producers of Bollywood who will pour money into yet another banal bakwas, to sponsor some therapy for Imtiaz Ali and help him grow up a little. And if they feel that ship has sailed, then the therapy could at least help him create female characters that don’t that have the IQ and emotions of girls in their very early teens.

Imtiaz Ali has a very uneasy relationship with grown women and that is visible in the way he has created the character of Zoe’s mother. Played by Simone Singh, she wears her hair and expression like Mrs Addam from Addams Family and could have well arrived to the sets on a broom wearing a black conical hat.

Love Aaj Kal has an annoying, irritating, glacial pace, and at some point after interval, I tried to fix my glare at the head of the man sitting in front, to check the speed at which hair grows. 

It was less excruciating than watching Imtiaz Ali’s tantrum-throwing child-babe.

If you were planning a Valentine's date, I'd say cleaning public latrines in the devotion of Swachch Bharat would be more fun than watching this film.

Tags: imtiaz ali, love aaj kal, sara ali khan, kartik aaryan, saif ali khan