Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sigh, said William Shakespeare, and sigh you will as you try to grasp what is ‘love aaj kal’ to the millennials.
So, 11 years after the first, which I wasn’t a great fan of, though it did have its moments, we get another Love Aaj Kal! What is love to a generation that the director described as ‘bheed mein akele’, as they grapple with high octane ambition on one hand and the first brush with true love on the other, is it worth it?
Like the first, Love Aaj Kal 2 also transitions between two decades and two love stories, one set in 1990 between Raghu (Kartik Aaryan) and Leena (Arushi Sharma) in Udaipur and the other between Veer (Kartik) and Zoe (Sara Ali Khan) in Delhi.
The film opens with Leena chiding Raghu for not following her, Zoe on the other hand berates him for not sleeping with her, yet persistently following her, so that sets the tone for the two love stories with a quote from Rumi, ‘time flies love remains’.
So for Zoe it’s lust at first sight, as she makes eye-contact with Veer at a bar, wanting a quick fling, but our man refuses to sleep with her since for him it’s love at first sight, and ends up landing wherever she is. On the other hand, Leena and Raghu try to grapple between the one love and endless possibilities which lie ahead.
Zoe has her life chalked out till 50 and for her relationships and life are an adventure to be explored, but her career comes first and she will leave no stone unturned to achieve her goals, and a laid back Veer doesn’t fit in with her scheme of things.
A grown up Raghu now Raj (Randeep Hooda), a restaurateur and owner of a co-working space where Zoe works narrates his love story and his own indiscretions, tries to explain how losing your ability to love and trying to protect yourself from hurt and the lust for power is not worth it, ‘slow down kid’ is what his advice is.
What I couldn’t fathom is are we still debating ‘between career vs love’, is it not possible to have both? Is a career oriented woman likely to be a loser in love, and the one who has managed to snag the big love somewhere compromised on her aspirations?
Also, the 90’s weren’t exactly the 18th century, love vs ambition, personal and professional aspirations were concerns as much as they are now. What has changed in the decades is the pace, but isn’t that the case year after year as we keep up with the swing of things, trying to balance home, career, holidays? After all, that’s how the dice rolls for all.
Sara Ali Khan has a crackling screen presence and gives her all to the narrative, uninhibited in her performance as the hyper, volatile Zoe. Her over reaction, loud behavior is jarring but it’s part of the screen play and she goes along.
Kartik Aaryan who has become the poster boy of the average Joe is steady as he veers between the double role of Raghu and Veer.
Randeep Hooda is the most underutilized performer, an actor whose talents need to be exploited on screen is earnest as he is always with his roles.
More than the Sara-Kartik chemistry, I enjoyed the Randeep-Sara banter.
The course of true love never did run smooth, Love Aaj Kal is not perfect but cannot be dismissed either. So between the sepia tinted nostalgia of Kal and the personal ambitions and instant gratification of Aaj, we are taken on journey of love, lust and longing, it does get a bit arduous like any love story.
Rating: 3 out of 5