Love Aaj Kal, with Kartik Aaryan and Sara Ali Khan, is on Netflix: A rewind of this Imtiaz Ali romance, which needed a better cast

Posted on April 29, 2020

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LAK-2020 is not first-class IA. But it’s engaging, and very much of a piece with his other works — in very surprising ways.

Spoilers ahead…

Imtiaz Ali peddles a peculiar flavour of Kool-Aid. It’s admittedly not for all tastes, but I love it. I can guzzle gallons of it. Even the lesser IA films soar far above most other romances — which is why Jab Harry Met Sejal came as a shock. You can understand a film not working, but here was a film that wasn’t even trying. I saw it again a while ago, wondering if my disappointment — nay, my devastation! — was a result of opening-weekend hype and unrealistic expectations arising from one of our foremost chroniclers of love uniting with the greatest romantic superstar since Rajesh Khanna. Nope! One of the purest pleasures of modern-day Hindi cinema is watching the mind-meld of Aarti Bajaj and IA. She really gets his time-passage conceits, and she really knows how to put them across on screen. Heer toh badi sad hai races through four years of a character’s life in five-odd minutes. Even those rhythms were missing in JHMS. Every filmmaker is allowed a misstep, or five, but JHMS made me wonder if the Kool-Aid — over the various films, over the years — had become diluted to the point that it now tasted like plain water.

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