Subhash K Jha talks about Love Story 2050
A star is most certainly born here. No two ways about it. After watching Harman Baweja sing, dance, emote, entertain, engage and adlib in this Adlabs presentation for a full three hours, one wonders if there is anything that this Baweja boy from Bollywood can't do!
Yeah, maybe there's something Harman can't do. He can't make us forget for even a minute that he knows every component of the camera although he has never acted before. The confidence level stops just short of being cocky and overdone. Yup, this dude is never short of a positive and productive attitude.
It's as clear as Priyanka Chopra's sun-kissed smile that producer-director Harry Baweja has made Love Story 2050 as a showcase for his son's aptitudes. To that extent, the film works wonderfully creating repeated opportunities for the debutant to shine in gossamer glory.
The script sprawling into two time phases and three hours of playing time is a simple love story of two very good-looking people coming together in the svelte sweltering simmering climes of Sidney, moving apart and then going into a futuristic mode without alienating themselves from the romantic genre that this uniquely-designed film inhabits. Harry Baweja happily avoids the pitfalls of pedestrianism even when the boy-meets-girl plot gets into a trite and repeatedly- tested mode.
The protagonists share a precious fragile and tender chemistry. A butterfly perches itself on the girl's trembling hands and manoeuvres her heart into places where there's no tell-tale signs. The titli becomes a likeable leitmotif in the plot. The courtship and romance is done in shades and words that leave us smiling. The initial scenes are actually far more interesting than they actually appear.
The boy tells her to do something that she has never done before. How about shop-lifting? He suggests. She suggests he recite some poetry for her. Javed Akhtar does the rest. By the time Harman and Priyanka sing their first two duets (Anu Malik at his soft and tender best), we're convinced of their sincerity to each other. This couple cares deeply for each other.
It's in their eyes. No kisses and cuddles needed. Only cuddly robots. For the first time in a Hindi film two robots serving as the protagonists' companions are given prominent places in the plot. And trust Baweja, they aren't just props. But entities with a mind and personality of their own.
The entire courtship game stretching into two time-zones is played out with an endearing innocence, and a focus and finesse that re-define the boy-girl formula in a language that's sassy and trendy without ever lumbering into the lurid.
Towards the second-half when Harman flies into a futuristic Mumbai to retrieve lost love, the flying cars, the humane robots and the psychedelic dance numbers tend to overpower the basic romantic structure of the plot.
Harry Baweja could have avoided the extravagant excesses in the sky. How long can you watch flying cars and talking robots? After a while you restlessly begin to search for that romantic core, which blessedly is never too far away from the narrative's range of interests.
The second-half when a zany scientist (Boman Irani in a weird wig and silly smirk) transports the lovers and the audience into a futuristic world, has been done with an élan and flamboyance that leave us enthralled for a while.
Vijay Arora's camera-work is extraordinarily rich in colours and style. The same goes for Priyanka Chopra's sartorial grace. Her two roles are brilliantly defined by the clothes. Fortunately, Priyanka goes deeper than just surface grace in search of her characters' core. The repressed poetic persona in the first-half and the brassy red-haired rock star in the second- half are two different entities.
But make no mistake. Love Story 2050 belongs to debutant Harman Baweja, from first frame to last. And all his co-stars know it. They all sort of move back to let the Baweja boy take centre stage.
Harman demonstrates an endearing all-purpose showmanship. He dances like a dream. And gets gooey-eyed and sentimental in the love scenes, as though Romeo had just fallen off the balcony while serenading Juliet, bruising more than just his heart. This newcomer is to the camera-born.
Wisely the narrative restricts itself to the 'love' part of the love story creating pockets of asexual passion (not even a peck between the real-life couple!) without making cuteness into a fetish and a fad.
A whole lot of visible and intangible effort has gone into building this colour-consumed atmospheric world of sights sounds and melodies that represent the harmony of the spheres in optical splendor.
Finally though, the effort doesn't overpower the heart content and intent of the plot. This is actually a far better film than its genre and lavish budget would suggest. Avoiding the vulgarity of overstatement and focusing on the Baweja-Chopra axis to the point of making other characters appear largely redundant; Love Story 2050 offers a world where dreams and fantasies have a properly-designated place.
We aren't in it just for the pleasure-ride.