July 31, 2009

Love These Days

Apart from an immensely charming Deepika, and an endearingly balding Saif Ali Khan, this chic Dil Chahta Hai reminder, is also many Bollywood firsts. Cool Indian woman who is not clingy, angsty, waiting to bear children for the hero in the next three weeks. She is hot and she knows it. She actively hits on the hero at a bar. Gets pissed drunk and it is not a fatal night of sin that she regrets for the rest of her life. A boy that is comfortable joking about his ex-girlfriend's present boyfriend. And about life that can be lived in its regular rhythms And two people who know that a day of uncertainty, ambiguity, irresponsibility makes for precious memories.

But over and above the cool-chick and nonchalant-boy that seem to be stamping the end of the era of love-Indian-family-prototypes of hetero-love, and pushing aside the end bits of turning all things around to fall in with Bollywood school of thought, Love Aaj Kal is a script of fragmented, ahem... postmodern... selves. The self that acknowledges doubt, admits multiple readings of the world, and dims the moment of climax with a pinch of irony. Controlling an urge to go on about fractured scripts of self, the Rishi Kapoor element is annoying, almost preachy. Pehle aisa hota thha, ab aisa hota hai angle wouldn't have been so bad, had it been a more scattered portrayal of the pehle-waale scenario (in consonance with the rest of the film) of options being limited, and circumstances being constraining. In which narratives solidify as cohesive because they are held by distance in time. Suddenly the pretty girl in pink shalwar has no freckles. The supporting mother has a grand moment of overcoming fear of social stigma. The boy has no other responsibilities tying him down. Moving between Delhi and Calcutta is that easy. Etcetera Etcetera.

All in all, an endearing film about self-absorbed people who sometimes have the courage to fall in love.

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