Imtiaz Ali makes a complete dramatic tale hovering around the transience and fragility of relationships. Yeah, the only thing permanent is change. Cliched it may be but so true as is with most clichés.
Imtiaz has many things in the right place. Some not. While the choice to contrast the take on relationships with time as a denominator, he chooses decades too near for contrast. He however ends up with the theory that human relationships finally are dependent on individuals and not times.
Two love stories are on display: 1990-Udaipur the love story of Leena (Aarushi Sharma – who looks like Anushka Shety in a daze) and Raghu (Karthik Aaryn); and 2020- Zoe (Sara Ali Khan with all Mom’s energy and fizz) with Veer (Karthik Aryan). The narratives are interlaced and sometimes strained. The tale comes from Maazi a restaurant owned by the Sutra Dhar Raj (Randeep Hooda)
In the backyard of Udaipur is the blooming love story of adolescent Raghav and Leena opposed by the social order. It appears that in the lense of the 90s the guys and gals were coy. The changing times are also about moving from blissful to bold, romantic to sexy. Where do you come from: the actor asks the narrator and there perhaps lies the swing or the slant. Clearly the tale is more from the contemporary than the past.
The Udaipur romance gone sour thanks to the infidelity and the paradoxical honesty of the protagonist therein is more a reference point than an independent story. This is thus also a grammatic dishonesty seen from a claimed stance.
The other story revolves round Zoe a person who is psyched by her single Mom (Simone Singh) that career is everything. She has planned her life for the next fifty years in minute detail. She is maverick and given to uncontrolled moods. Brash to a fault she lives life in its present and would hate to be in a relationship and she believes that this could keep her away from her career targets.
She meets this awkward youngster Veer who stalks her but refuses to go to bed with her. Sooner than she would believe she falls in love with him and is frightful of its consequences. Great truths are mouthed: life is not ideal; fairy tales get destroyed; times have changed this too will; you chase your dreams only to find a vacuum when you achieve them….. All this is well scripted as the relationships come apart.
The narrator’s love life is tested by opportunities, the live of Veer is tested by the varying moods of his love. Zoe cannot make her decision. She is constantly chasing her dreams and refuses to see them knocking at her door. One endearing factor that threads the entire two-hour narrative is how we all err. Our fallibility makes us the imperfect lives we live. We do get judgemental simply because the experiences we do not have are the truths we do not know.
The cast could have made a better impact to the film. Debutant Aarushi Sharma looks dazed and takes away a part of the sheen from the story. Karthik Aaryn in the role of Raghu also tries a tad too much. He is however into his own in the other role and does it more than justice. He lives it. There is an endearing awkwardness that he translates with success and sincerity.
Sara too tries a tad too much. She has amazing screen presence and fizz. A true reminder of Amrita Singh. However, in later parts of the movie she tends to go over the top. As the character she plays says: balance nahin hai mujh mein. The surprise in the package is Randeep Hooda.
As a mentor who is the narrator, he is perfect and takes the central role with poise and does not grab a single moment from the characters he talks about or to. Imtiaz labours true and hard and nearly succeeds. A film worth watching.