Review: Writer-director Imtiaz Ali narrates the 2020 ‘Love Aaj Kal’ in the same format as his hugely successful directorial in 2009 by the same name. However, the love stories are fresh with different set of conflicts that vary with time. Ali makes it relevant by showing us the contrast between traditional small town-love that was simple yet difficult versus the contemporary urban love that is complex and messed-up.
Ali’s protagonist Zoe is the embodiment of the latter. A complicated character, who has a five-year plan to make merry and launch her own event management company, before she ‘settles down’ in a committed relationship. While Sara Ali Khan is the right age to play Zoe, she falls short of convincingly pulling off the complexity of her firebrand and fiercely independent character. Sara has an imposing screen presence and looks gorgeous, but her performance doesn’t quite make you root for Zoe. Kartik Aaryan is good as the boyish Raghu, whose transformation from a timid lovelorn small-towner to a big-city Casanova, is believable. As Veer, however, even Kartik doesn’t get to do more than meekly follow around the love of his life and be at her beck and call. But it’s Randeep Hooda, who leaves a lasting impression even with lesser screen time. Sporting a handlebar moustache and crisp linen shirts, the underrated actor looks quite dapper. He is aptly cast for the role that is quite like Rishi Kapoor’s character in the original. In fact, it is his story that is far more interesting, relatable and entertaining. Ali uses vivid tones and beautiful backdrops to recreate Raghu’s love story with Leena played by debutante Arushi Sharma, who delivers quite effectively. However, the flashback story is interrupted way too many times to accommodate the film’s non-linear narrative. While the film’s emotionally charged narrative is casual in its approach, there are barely any light moments.
The film’s soundtrack is rich in melody that adds value to the storytelling. The short runtime is another plus with an intriguing first-half, but a predictable second-half.
‘Love Aaj Kal’ sets off to celebrate complex characters and dysfunctional relationships, with the universal emotion of love at its core. It creates some emotional moments along the way, but doesn’t quite leave you spellbound.