The LAK Factor: Review of Love Aaj Kal Tuesday, 4 August, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood, Graphics, Movies.
Tags: Clichés, Deepika Padukone, Freinds with benefits, Giselle Monteiro, Graphics, Harleen Kaur, Humour, Imtiaz Ali, lady long legs, Love Aaj Kal, movie, one night stand, Review, Rishi Kapoor, Rom-com, Saif Ali Khan
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.
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>
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 dabao– Mama 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.