Imtiaz Ali is the love guru of our times, taking us on travels, internal and otherwise, to get to the eventual destination: finding ourselves and finding our loves. It’s a formula he discovered in the underrated Socha Na Tha (2005) and perfected in Jab We Met (2007) and Love Aaj Kal (2009).
So why would he want to ruin a perfectly good thing by remaking it for the millennials with Love Aaj Kal? Don’t ask me. This is a film that need not have been made. Ostensibly it is about two emotionally immature people finding love in each other and discovering who they are.
The obsessive man-child is an Imtiaz Ali speciality and one half expects his favourite man-child, Ranbir Kapoor, to pop out from a woefully inadequate Kartik Aryan, who thinks pulling faces and walking like a marionette constitutes emotional regression. He is paired, in the present, with a grating Sara Ali Khan, playing Zoe, whose obvious talent is buried under layers of being told to behave like a hip and cool millennial, which is Ali’s world involves drinking expensive tequila and leaping into bed with the first somewhat decent looking man she sees. Aryan’s hero, Veer, waits for her ostensibly patiently but what simply seems like a case of persistent stalking.
There is something deeply disquieting about Veer and Zoe’s relationship and it doesn’t help that Ali has to visit Manali (been there, done that, bought the Jab We Met T-shirt) to resolve his issues. The tired trope of love versus career is hardly an issue for this generation but it is made to seem like an insurmountable obstacle, and no disrespect but event management is not exactly rocket science. In an era when women are doing it all and having it all or at least trying their best to do so, it is a joke to pose this binary, as much as the inherent binary–love or sex, but both only when both are real.
The songs are lovely and Randeep Hooda is relaxed and charming as the ageing rogue (why couldn’t we have more of him) but otherwise, the movie is a mess that is best avoided today or on any other day. And if you like music, Ali has done much better in the past. Highly avoidable.