Dubai - Sara-Kartik's dysfunctional love story is masquerading as romance of the year.
It takes an extremely brave director to remake a movie like Love Aaj Kal from 2009, specially considering that the Saif Ali Khan-Deepika Padukone starrer was met with mixed reactions at the box-office 11 years ago.
But Imtiaz Ali was probably buoyed by a casting coup of sorts - the 2020 version features Saif's daughter Sara Ali Khan alongside her rumoured one-time beau Kartik Aaryan. The duo play star-crossed lovers Zoe and Veer - she is a headstrong, extremely career-driven 22-year old with a lot of emotional baggage and he, an idealist software programmer who doesn't believe in a 'compromise' relationship, like the one his parents have.
Veer and Zoe in many ways seem to inhabit two different universes, so much so that their big romance just doesn't add up. In fact we have to be constantly reminded by Raghu (Randeep Hooda), the owner of the co-working space where the duo meet up, that Zoe and Veer in fact have a relationship going.
The narrative structure that shifts between 1990 Udaipur and 2020 Mumbai, to showcase love across the ages, in fact only works to reinforce the message that love is never perfect, and that you have to take it warts and all and run with it. Which is a lesson that takes a tedious 2 and a half hours for Zoe to learn, and that too nudged along by an emotional Raghu, who doesn't want her to make the same mistakes he made in the past. The first flush of romance between Raghu (an extremely gauche Kartik Aaryan) and Leena (a spot on casting of newcomer Arushi Sharma) from the 90s, referred to by their friends as the 'Romeo and Juliet of Udaipur', seem much more relatable than the urban glossy interactions between Zoe and Veer.
Like all Imtiaz Ali movies, the songs are pretty soulful, specially Arijit Singh's Haan Mein Galat. Sara and Veer make for a visually arresting pair on the dance floor in the Twist number, revived from the old movie.
If you are a fan of Kartik Aaryan or Sara Ali Khan, there is enough of both of them to keep you hooked to the screen. Sara in particular is a gorgeous presence on screen even if most of the time she hams it up for the camera and is so over-the-top, you feel like asking her to take it easy. But for an engaging story, you would do better to look elsewhere.
Love Aaj Kal serves as a superficial testimony to modern day romance - if this is what modern love looks and feels like, no thanks, we want none of it. The movie is rated 15-plus in the UAE and many of the intimate scenes between the lead couple have been chopped off leading to a slightly disjointed screenplay.
Love Aaj Kal
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Sara Ali Khan, Kartik Aryan, Randeep Hooda, Arushi Sharma
Rating: 2.5 out of 5