In life there are moments when we silently contemplate our life decision, searching our soul for answers. You will have tonnes of such moments while watching Love Aaj Kal in the theater and a resounding question in your head- why on Earth am I torturing myself with this 142 minutes-long boring and contrived film? Why are we still watching films in 2020 where women are shown as not being able to balance a love life and their careers? And trust us, all the popcorn in the world won’t make up for this 2020’s self-plagiarism done by Imtiaz Ali.
Here we thought that we are done dealing and arguing about misogynist stereotypes and here we are, served a film that basically tells that women can either handle her love life or her career- funnily enough, the male character never faces this question. Yeah, we are laughing, on the inside. The original Love Aaj Kal starring Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone brought back the need of old-world romance in an era way too driven by technology and this 2020 version just…well it just tells the same story but…badly.
So, 2020’s Love Aaj Kal brings back the two time zones, two love stories concept and we see Zoe (Sara), a career conscious young woman who has no time for the silly notions of love. She meets Veer (Kartik) at a party and is all ready to sleep with him when he ruins it by refusing to sleep with her. She goes mad and promises to never see him again, but this is the world of Imtiaz Ali and of course, she cannot live without him.
Her emotions get the better of her and she turns to Randeep Hooda’s character, running a cafe, for advice, who narrates his love story from the 90s for her to take pointers from. Kartik Aaryan plays the young Raghu in love with Leena, who isn’t as docile as she appears to be. She rebuked Raghu for following him and when he apologized, promising to never do it again, she reprimanded him again, adding “Did I ask you to stop?” Confusing? Yes! Reinforcing the dangerous stereotype that when women say ‘No’ they actually mean ‘Yes’? Unfortunately, yes.
Before getting to all that made Shahrukh Khan’s Harry Met Sejal look like an Imtiaz Ali wonder when compared to Love Aaj Kal, let’s talk about how the actors contributed in making it a colossal failure. While Sara Ali Khan is, undoubtedly talented, dealing with all the emotions Zoe has to feel just pushes her over the edge here and she ends up being an irritating overdramatic version of what Imitiaz Ali things millennials are.
As for Kartik Aaryan, he is one of those actors who have a hard time taking themselves out of the characters they play and to have him play not one, but two different characters with different body language and behavioral aspects, was not really what you call a “good idea.” His characters needed an intensity that he simply couldn’t add. As for Hooda, he was as good as he can be in a poorly written and executed script.
Imtiaz Ali has always given us characters who are, though flawed and complex, were endearing and very relatable. But as 2020’s Love Aaj Kal progresses, you can try but giving a damn about what happens to Zoe and Veer’s love story is pretty hard.
The film comes across as a forced attempt to morph millennial dating into something which is archaic and conservative. What this Love Aaj Kal does manage to convey is that a gifted storyteller who once gave us wonders like Jab We Met, Rockstar, Tamasha, is either experiencing a dearth of ideas or his storytelling skills have suffered a major setback.