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The LAK Factor: Review of Love Aaj Kal Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood, Graphics, Movies.
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one night stand

Rom-coms worldwide works with a particular storyline which is as simple as

Meeting- Relationship- Intimacy- Argument/ Conflict- Separation- Frustration- Realization- Reunion.

In India, because our strong social values (family, morale, inhibition) are changing fast with times, we observe an evolution in the story, exemplified below.

Before

Boy sees girl<Song><Black tea>  Love at first sight. <Song>Girl is shy. Boy is despo. <Black tea> <Song> Boy sings, girl blinks. Boy winks, girl shrinks. <Black tea>  Girls leaves town, Boy seems to frown. <Black tea> <Song> Boy meets girl. Boy is caught, beaten black and blue. Girl is caged by parents, marriage gets fixed elsewhere.<Song> Boy jumps the wall, climbs the balcony and elopes with the girl, with mom-in-law’s consent.<Song> Everyone meets in the railway station. Love wins. Dad-in-law blesses the couple. <Black tea> The End <song>

Now

Boy meets girl at disco. <Sex> Girl leaves in the morning. <Black coffee> Boy meets girl again, gives lift <Sex>, asks name<Sex>. Boy and girl pair up <song><Sex>. Girl and Boy willfully separate. Boy and girl break-up <party>. Boy is free and happy <Song>. Boy goes out with another girl <Sex>. Boy keeps in touch with ex-girl. Girl gets engaged with another man. Boy meets girl again <Song> <Sex>. Boy leaves girl. Boy misses girl. <Black coffee> <Black coffee> <Black coffee> Boy grows stubble. <Black coffee> <Song>. Girl is confused. Girl gets married to the other man. < NO sex> Boy distills love from benefits <song> <Black coffee>. Girl realizes love too. Love wins. Boy surrenders, girl tenders, other man looks like a jester <hug> <song> <Black coffee>. The End <song>

To understand the plot of Love Aaj Kal (LAK, hereafter) please read one sentence from ‘Before’ and ‘Now’ section consecutively. That’s how the movie is edited and storytelling is structured (sorry, no patience for bubble diagram this time). Also, add the Boy from before, now all grown up to a wise man and insert after every full-stop and before <Black coffee>.

Now, before I get into the review part, I must admit rom-com is not exactly my favorite genre. Though, I have seen many of them. The contemporary ones which I liked, would include DDLJ (undoubtedly, the grand daddy of Indian rom-coms), Kabhie Haan Kabhi Na ( well, it did not exactly have a traditional happy ending, but it was rom-com for sure), Socha Na Tha, Salaam Namaste, Hum Tum, Jab We Met, Jane Tu Ya Jaane Na.

Effect of Love

I find most rom-coms to be silly, too emotional to fathom, too utopian to be digested especially the way they end. Most of the time all log, logic and logistics gets defied just to get that frustrated lover boy delivered to the girl ( or vice versa), whatever stage s/he is (married, halfway married, in her honeymoon, on the family way, parent of three children) just to express how fool s/he was not to understand the true love for him/her. But I guess, that’s what rom-coms are meant to consist of- true love, late realization and re-union. Those who can accept this unconditionally, would definitely enjoy such movies.

However, I find it incorrect to compare a particular movie with other one of the same genre, only because they are made by the same Director. With each movie a Director wants to tell a story. Now the story and/ or the storytelling can be good or bad, but still, they are two different stories altogether! So I am not going to compare LAK with Imtiaz Ali’s  debut film Socha Na Tha or superhit and much popular JWM.

I will submit my key takeaways from the movie, as follows

The GoodLAK charm

Saif Ali Khan: I don’t think anyone else can do the role of the urbane, sexual, confused and confident fool, better than him. After Hum Tum, Salam Namaste, and also Dil Chahta Hai, he has developed this image, which would be hard to forget and replace. However, I am not sure, if Saif Ali’s dual role as younger Veer Singh (Rishi Kapoor) portrayed the ‘love is ageless and looks the same, with or without turban’ angle or the just added some confusion.

The period film: Some part of the movie deals with 1960-70’s Delhi and Kolkata. It was evident that great amount of thought has been put to create the ambiance and attire to capture the period. The tight fitting stripe shirts with rounded ‘dog- collars’, the front pocket tight fitting trousers (or it should have been bell bottomed?), the poster of ‘Kono Ek Din’(a multi-starrer 1960 Bengali movie) being taken in a hand pulled cart, the vintage cars, the Kalighat Potuatala neighbourhood, the red building at the cross road, were all very well done.

Rishi Kapoor: He plays the Delhi 6 kind of wise guy role with panache. Though, most of his dialogues are interrupted with jump to flashbacks or Saif’s ridicule. The yesteryears lover boy has become a veteran love guru and he sure loves it.

Giselle Monteiro: Her role as young Harleen Kaur is astonishingly memorable. In the entire film, she has exactly two dialogues to utter, which she does bloody well, being a Brazilian model! on the other part, it was her shy look which did the trick, as she was supposed to look shy. Good casting there.

Songs- before the movie I was much fond of the upbeat Twist, but after seeing the picturization Chor-Bazari scored high. Pritam does a good job here with Neeraj Sridhar and Mohit Chauhan (Solo Dooriyan, outstanding) voice.

The badLAK sign

Editing: The first half of the film is just confusing. The story hop skip and jumps between London, Delhi, Saif with turban and beard vs clean shaven Saif , Airport, Station, Train, Plane , flashbacks, black tea  and the Red Fort . The story leaps by 2 years within 20 minutes. Did Imtiaz appoint Edward Scissorhands as his editor ? Else, must be some scissor happy maniac.

one love, one jeans

Saif: He looks too old at some scenes with wrinkles visible on his face, not to mention the glaring ‘Kareena’ tattoo in Hindi on left arm. Also, his so called cool torn jeans worn through 90% of the movie, started getting on to me, especially when he joins the new job wearing the same in San Francisco ! He had way too many long dialogues to speak which he hams to the point of a headache, but the blame should go to the dialogue writer. He was just playing it Saif.

lady long legs

Deepika Padukone: Frankly, I am bored of her plastic smile, her woody expressions, infinitely long legs, which starts after extremely minuscule skirts/ hot-pants and her silly antics. Would any man like a girl starting a foreplay with an ear to ear grin? She also had some never-ending silent shots, with Saif doing all the talking and she standing like a garden statuette. Well, if she was ‘acting’ with her eyebrows and nostrils, it must have been too subtle for me. Deepika surely have developed a thing for acting with aged male co stars and doesn’t mind kissing them half-heatedly too.

Clichés: The same old stuff, which I guess, Hindi films would never get over with. If it’s Delhi, the family stays inside the Red Fort and the cyclewalah sits beside the red fort wall. If it’s Kolkata it must show Howrah Bridge and Durga idols being made at any time of the year. No one knows what the hero does but he drives nothing less than a convertible. He wants to work with the Golden Gate corporation, and builds a model at home with matchsticks (or bus tickets may be). The heroine wants to restore Frescos in India, but has no other artistic bent of mind. Instead she shops and gets laid after getting drunk. Rahul Khanna looks like a clown, even when he was supposed to look serious. His marriage collapsed probably before his erection did. What a pity.

fwb

Probably the generation, who has the choice to make friends with benefits and walks out next morning after a one night stand, would relate to this movie. Aaj kal, marriages may not be made in heaven, but love can be definitely made inside a car. Remember the oldie – Pyar ki gaadi tez chalao, accelerator tez dabaoMama mia pom pom.

The only thing I could relate to LAK was drinking black tea without sugar. Black tea is good for health, when you have sugar as your significant other. The movie ends with this sweet note.

Image source- Sulekha, bollywoodhungama

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Comments»

1. axw11 - Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

“His marriage collapsed probably before his erection did”…..ROFLMAO…

after reading all sorts of reviews….would still like to see this one….love Imtiaz’s socha na tha and Jab we met…..
……………….
~uh~: One things sure. LAK is too strong to be ignored, you can love it or hate it 🙂

2. Aditya - Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

this was funny…

haathi…brazilian model and shy look…guess u emptied a complete bottle of OM bfor writing the review….brazilian model and shy look…OMG !

Cheers
Aditya
…………
~uh~: Yeah, there wasn’t that kinda zeal on this Brazilian. She was that nascent untouched virgin type…

3. whatsinaname - Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

Frankly i cannot stand Saif. The only movie where I could bear him was DCH. I really thought Imtiaz could make him act but no! his monologues were killing.
I just hated the movie or may be i expected too much from the director.
But your review was SURELY better than the movie 😀
The details your noticed are great- the black tea reference, the movie poster (i never noticed it)
And ofcourse your now famous callouts 😀
…………………….
~uh~: Very unsaif comment, you made ! Have you seen Yeh Dillagi ? Hamesha, Being Cyrus and Ek Hasina Thi ? Saif is a versatile actor, but unfortunately after DCH, Hum Tum and Salaam Namaste, he has become a type cast and he looks OLD to do this roles !
Rom-coms, like other genres always work with some set of people and not with everyone. Also there is this generation and principle thing attached to the characters which aged people like you mat not associate with :p
The movie poster was written in bangla, so you might have missed it.
Hope you have taken the LAK poll ?

4. whatsinaname - Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

and i could not relate to the story nor endorse it!
But i also know that the movie will be a super hit!
Oh God i am feeling old and retro 😦 Please suggest how i can start appreciating such crappy story lines
…………….
~uh~: It is difficult for people w/o an experience of ONS, FWB and couple of Break-ups……..especially after 10-15 years of un-disrupted relationship 😀
Why don’t you face it- you ARE retro.
Imagine the future of the character of Rahul Khanna, definitely not a Rom-com !
The best part of the movie was no sign of any parentage of Saif. That was smart strategy. No parents, no lafda.

5. alok - Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

you write like a PRO…now i want you to be amid known critiques ….and enjoy some khit pit with the real filmi world …..and i know u will get your contact right to be there 🙂
………………..
~uh~: I do write on Passionforcinema and interacted with few directors there, mostly low budget indie films like 99, Sankat City, Barah Aana. Have learnt a lot from them 🙂

6. Ekta khetan - Tuesday, 4 August, 2009

Loved all the pictures…..
……………
~uh™~: Glad you mentioned. You will understand the underlying meaning if you see the movie 🙂

7. Spike - Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

That was some review dude! The posters and some of ur one liners were better than the scriptwriters of LAK and LUCK 😛
______________________________________________________________
~uh™~: Thanks for reading dude. I will probably make the call-outs as a standard feature, now on 🙂

8. bittercharm - Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

I saw this movie, I hated it… I agree to your view about Deepika… on the name of story there wasn’t much either… I can’t waste 3 hours of my time of something I can’t relate to. I mean I can safely say I represent this fast food generation but dumping the man u not just married but lived with for one year for your ex… was lil too much for me to digest.
………….
~uh™~: Well, you have your viewpoint there. I know many who have loved this movie and the ‘characters’ because they are so ‘today’. I can’t still get over with the face of Rahul Khanna, when he was dumped. Who is ready to play that role in life in the name of God ? Also sleeping around with too many men without a commitment, in my view is ‘whoring’. If it’s cool, then who’s ‘hot’?
I hope the poll would reveal what most of my readers think of this movie.

9. bittercharm - Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

to add to the above comment… i forgot to say… i just luv.. your choice of words… awesome…
……………..
~uh~™: Appreciate the compliment. I cherish your comments too, which is such a RARE privilege 😉

10. Rofl Indian - Wednesday, 5 August, 2009

Of late, too many movies have been experimenting with the girl-and-boy-have-casual-bordering-on-promiscous-sex-lives-without-ANY-committment-whatsoever themes, and thats not very encouraging for people like us who go the movies once in a while with wifey and kid(s) in tow. One, it gives the impression that the married-and-committed guys are dumb morons who messed up ‘golden’ opportunities; second, it encourages clueless and irresponsible citybred studs and girls to ‘drop’ their inhibitions and their pants and engage in mindless acts of lust, forgetting that there’s a life to live after the thirties, and finally, those who do not somehow get a share of the casual sex cake, end up as psychic brokes, wallowing in self pity at their catastrophic misfortune. No wonder there were way too many ‘couples’ in the multiplex, committed to discover the lengths they could go without any ‘baggage’.
_____________________________________________________________
~uh~™~: Your comment was coupe de grace.
Clearly, commitment, responsibility, compromise are not ‘in’ anymore while in love, neither there is any life after 30. Our love were neither proved by eloping, nor by having phuck-buddies, but we stayed married (to one partner) for a boring 10 years. What the hell, we atleast should have tattooed the name in our arms 😉

11. kaushik - Sunday, 9 August, 2009

Yours is one of the best-written reviews of the movie I have come across in the net (and I have studied quite a few) … finally, I decided to go and watch the movie. True, it hurts the sentiments and values we have grown up with … agreed there are some gaping holes in the script … but, in all honesty, it is a movie which I liked on two counts – (a) Lead actors: Deepika (good choice for the role), according to me, has grown up as an actor – true, she has to travel a long way to be seriously counted as a good actor but she has come a long way from OSO & CC2C … I liked the dual role of Saif…. he has this metrosexual appeal, though it would have been better if he had not tried to dance! (b) I did not find the narrative of the story too confusing or the plot shifting too quickly to appreciate the events … I thought that it was free-flowing and full paisa-wasool for 2 hours and 10 minutes! I don’t know whether my mind was misted after watching Kambaqt Ishq (a terrible wastage of time), or, because I am quite close to a batch of early 20s bright IIT-grads in workplace who share their views on life … hence, I do not get shocked with the movie! As you have told (ala the “famous” quote on Saurav) – you can either love or hate the move, cannot ignore it! Three and a half stars from me …..
…………………………….
~uh~™: Kaushik, That was a very thoughtful and honest comment. I guess you liked it more because of recovery from the bad after taste of Kambaqt Ishq. This phenomena of ‘comparative likeness’ earlier happened to me as well. Good to see irrespective of difference in our views you cared to leave a comment.
Btw, did you consider blogging ? I tell you again, you write well enough for others to read 🙂

12. pooja rai - Thursday, 20 August, 2015

he has developed this image, which would be hard to forget and replace. However, I am not sure, if Saif Ali’s dual role as younger Veer Singh (Rishi Kapoor) portrayed the ‘love is ageless and looks the same, with or without turban’ angle or the just added some confusion.


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