Love Aaj Kal Movie Review: A complex, messy but guiltily charming love story

Updated: Feb 14, 2020, 12:19 IST | Vinamra Mathur | Mumbai

Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan's Love Aaj Kal is hard to relate to, but it still works due to Imtiaz Ali's drift from the cliches of romance!

Love Aaj Kal poster
Love Aaj Kal poster

Love Aaj Kal
U/A; Romance
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Randeep Hooda, Arushi Sharma
Rating: Rating

Before talking about his new film Love Aaj Kal, starring Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan, here's a sincere question -- is there any other filmmaker who's fascinated by love stories as much as Imtiaz Ali, especially in the era of the Millennial? He has a penchant of narrating stories about aimless protagonists who discover and even rediscover their identities once they have fallen in love. This template powered many of his films like Jab We Met, Rockstar, Highway, and, of course, Tamasha.

In Love Aaj Kal, he not only retains the essence of his previous film of the same name, but also the narrative. Randeep Hooda plays what Rishi Kapoor did in that film, being reminded of his romance with the girl he passionately loved from the older era. He sees Kartik Aaryan as his younger version, and narrates his good old days to Sara Ali Khan. Khan, who plays Zoe, is basically Saif Ali Khan, confused and confided between love and life, charm and career.

Zoe is hard to relate to, she has multiple sermons and monologues about life and how it's never magical. She says she wants to establish a career and only look for a serious relationship once she's financially settled. But when she meets Veer, the confusion begins. That feeling of being trapped can be both frustrating and infuriating, and can lead to mental explosions. And there are plenty of moments in Love Aaj Kal that showcase Zoe's trauma and breakdowns.

There comes a point when the characters in the film begin to contradict the very same notions they preach. Hooda, just like Khan, gets a tricky part, and his Raghu gets one shocking twist that make you wonder what exactly love means to him. It definitely cannot be the same as Rishi Kapoor's. The dialogues aren't simple, the way they were in Jab We Met or even the old Love Aaj Kal. There's some heavy-handed stuff here and Ali yet again fetishises his fondness for establishing metaphors.

Watch the trailer of Love Aaj Kal below:

I feel there's a reason why Ali chose such a narrative and gave his characters such confusing arcs, he didn't want the audiences to guess how this all will end. Love stories, especially the ones that are made in India, end exactly the way the audiences predict, at least most of the times. Love Aaj Kal isn't one of them. It's hard to tell what Zoe will ultimately choose -- Love or Life. It's also hard to tell what's going on in Raghu's mind and how repentance will kick in. Only Veer's feelings are split open wide; he wants Zoe to be the way she wants to be, the way she is from the inside.

They both come from complex families that compromised on their marriage; these kids don't want a compromise, especially him -- he wants the complete Zoe, and tells her to come to him only when she's completely herself, or else don't. Ali, whose metaphorical magic faded in Jab Harry Met Sejal, kind of gets the spark back in Love Aaj Kal, with another definition of love. It would be interesting to know how this filmmaker defines the notion of romance, and how much it has changed since he began directing films.

Love Aaj Kal may not be accepted or embraced with open arms, the way we have other films of the same genre, this one will have either solid or scathing reactions, since we all define love differently. People may not buy into the world of Zoe, Veer, and Raghu, because we haven't met such characters on the celluloid. But this is something Ali has been tackling since Socha Na Tha. What will be interesting to see here is how Love Aaj Kal will age, will it hit the audiences after a while, or never? There's a scene where Zoe says to Raghu, "There's no magic in life." Raghu says, "Who knows?" Exactly!

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