Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Review: Love Aaj Kal

Release date: February 14, 2020
Running time: 142 minutes
Starring: Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Randeep Hooda 

Love Aaj Kal is a strange love story.  It bills itself a journey of love and loss through the phases of reincarnation, but it was tough to tell which phases it is talking about.  The story mostly focuses on Veer (Aaryan) and Zoe (Khan), and their unlikely and slightly tumultuous relationship.  Veer is an odd character and really plays it cool emotionally.  He tries to be there when Zoe needs him, but he rejects her advances numerous times.  The story also heavily features the owner of the business center / cafe that the two hang out at (Hooda), who talks to Zoe about his own love experiences and mistakes.  There are several flashbacks to Hooda's courtship of another lady, and the mistakes that he made along the way.  

As I said, Love Aaj Kal is a strange love story.  Veer is always there for Zoe when she needs him, but he resists her advances constantly, saying that it is not the right time. It is tough to tell but it seems like he is waiting for an idealized situation, or for Zoe to give herself completely to him.  As a result, he can be cool and slightly cruel in many instances.  He clearly cares for her, but his attitude and demeanor send a mixed message.  He also starts off the movie by slightly stalking her, which was off putting to say the least.  I think it was supposed to be humorous but it sent a mixed message to start the movie.  I think the mixed message and offputting situations are a result of the film's story and not a fault of the actors; both Aaryan and Khan do a great job as their respective characters.  Aaryan could be very likable if his character was, and Khan is a fun to watch as a no holds barred Zoe.  Additionally, these characters are bolstered by some very good music to set the tone of the film.  The pieces of Love Aaj Kal seem to be there but they just don't come together well.  

I think the main flaw is that the central message here is lost.  The movie is less about romance and love and more about Veer waiting for Zoe to come to him fully.  It doesn't send a great message or really highlight a great or realistic love scenario, especially when Zoe seeks Veer's help only to have him say now is not the right time.  And there are also many weird instances with Veer, where he will ignore her during her times of need.  I do think that a movie focusing on the balance of love and career is an admirable one, and Love Aaj Kal tries to balance this, but for some reason the story just doesn't seem to work.  It also seems like for a movie with so much good writing and conversation, that a simple conversation between Veer and Zoe could have allayed much of the tension.  The movie's pacing is also off, which can be a problem for a 2+ hour movie.  The flashbacks are nice to segment the movie, but the film progresses at a very slow pace.  If this movie was in your Valentine's Day plans, you might want to try a different film and wait to see this at home.

Love Aaj Kal is an odd love story with leads that do a great job as their characters in a confusing, slowly paced story.   

Rent It

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