By Joginder Tuteja
Film: "Love Aaj Kal"; Cast : Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, Rishi Kapoor, Rahul Khanna; Director: Imtiaz Ali; Rating: ***
Midway into the second half of "Love Aaj Kal", Rahul Khanna screams at Deepika Padukone and asks her to make it clear what she actually wants in life. That's one of the very few moments in the film audiences can really empathise with.
After all, this is what you as a viewer also feel throughout the love story of Saif Ali Khan and Deepika - what do they really want?
They break off, but haven't quite drifted apart. "After all it's an era of communication," says Saif. So much so that even when the 'once in love and perhaps still in love' couple decide to take care of their lives separately rather than getting into an ugly long distance relationship, they continue to meet and greet and paint the city of Dilli red.
It's just that continuous talks around 'how we are happier today when compared to yesterday' become monotonous after a while. It seems good though in the initial reels of the film. In fact, the first 20 minutes of the film are excellent when the director wraps up the beginning and the end of the Saif-Deepika love story.
While watching this portion of the film, you do feel that "Love Aaj Kal" is indeed treading a very original path. In fact, the entire 'break up party' introduction is an ace in the hands of Imtiaz Ali and he plays his cards brilliantly.
So far, so excellent but this is the point from which the film starts taking a dip. Rishi Kapoor's emergence in the story gets a good kickstart. But the entire flashback angle with Rishi narrating his own story, something which sounds quite exciting on paper, doesn't really carry the same punch as the Saif-Deepika story.
In fact, whenever the film goes into past mode, it dips and only Deepika's re-emergence on the scene lights up things. Watch out for the scene where she finally decides to move on and brings on a fake smile in front of the mirror.
The interim love story of Saif and his Swiss girlfriend brings the pace down again, hence making for an uneven ride till interval.
Post interval portions don't quite help things much as the 'Dilli bhraman' of Saif and Deepika looks fake.
Just when it seemed that the film had come to an abrupt end, there is this twist in the story that makes one wonder if "Love Aaj Kal" is the same movie that started so impressively and ended in such an ordinary manner!
If not for the performances and the music, the film would have dipped even further.
Deepika is excellent as she brings in a certain casual feel to the entire 'getting in love and then breaking up' part. Watch out for Saif in those excellent monologues once every 30 minutes or in the brilliantly narrated sequence that goes along with 'main kya hoon'.
Rishi hardly gets scope but is nice in his earlier scenes; one wonders though what made Rahul sign a film that doesn't fetch him a single decent scene!
Yes, one understands where Ali was coming from when he decided to convey that the emotion of love was just the same across different generations. In the end, however, "Love Aaj Kal" turns out to be just another love story.