As the film completes 13 years with a sequel that didn’t live up to its name, let’s look back at the Love Aaj Kal legacy.
Romeo-Juliet, Heer-Ranjha, Laila-Majnu, Imtiaz Ali first tried to bring these couples’ modern versions to us on this day in 2009 in the form of “Love Aaj Kal.” The film was very well-received by the public making its place in our hearts as a classic. Oh! The music is still a treat to the ears. However, its successor “Love Aaj Kal 2” didn’t live up to its name. As the former completes 13 years, let’s look back at the Love Aaj Kal legacy.
In part one, Meera Pandit (Deepika Padukone), a headstrong girl gets into a relationship with casanova Jai Vardhan Singh (Saif Ali Khan). They part ways to make room for their respective careers. However, when Veer Singh (Rishi Kapoor) guides Jai by describing his own love story with Harleen Kaur (Giselli Monteiro), he realizes that while a career feeds you, love feeds your soul. Both are important! While the film began with Khan’s funky Punjabi accent and Padukone’s slightly awkward acting, it soon became much more beautiful. Rishi Kapoor was effortless, be it Patiala House, Namastey London, or Sharmaji Namkeen, I believe no one can pull off an old Punjabi man’s character like him.
Cut to 2020, Veer (Kartik Aaryan) and Zoe Chauhan (Sara Ali Khan) get into a relationship. This time Zoe leaves Veer for her career. Guided by Raghuvendra Singh (Randeep Hooda) and his love story with Leena (Arushi Sharma), now Zoe finds her way back to Veer. The movie, I believe, mostly sank due to terrible acting. Aaryan’s acting was (for the lack of better words) horrible. To portray awkward and nervous characters, he acted the way mentally challenged people are often stereotypically portrayed in films. Also, I’m not an engineer, but did he just take the job of a civil engineer after working as a software engineer? Khan did a much better job but could not fill in her father’s shoes. The “whatever” was especially pretentious. Hooda tried but could not match up with Rishi Kapoor while Sharma’s acting went underestimated.
In part one, the script felt rightly paced. The blending of the situations in the 1960s and 2009 was so subtle that it put you at ease. In part two, there was no balance. It was totally about either the past or the present. Credit where it’s due, part two did pay homage to its predecessor with the cute little similarities. I also loved the scene where Zoe explains that she unbuttoned her shirt for feeling confident, not for others. In fact, in part two, Imtiaz Ali tried to put parental issues, sexism, inner-self, and other similar themes in the movie. However, the mixture didn’t sum up to something solid.
While the setting of part one had an authentic feel, part two relied a lot on aesthetics. The music, too, had a huge role to play. In the former, almost all the songs were melodious, rightly placed, and suited the age-based narrative. When Rahat Fateh Ali Khan sang “Aaj Din Chadheya”, I felt as if I was in pre-independence India. However, when Arijit sang “Shayad” the scene portrayed the 1990s but the music was from 2020.
The latter version also brought binaries of black and white. In part one, both Jai and Meera parted ways for their careers. In part two, Zoe was solely blamed for prioritizing her career. Part one brought modernity to Indian screens, especially with a breakup party. However, both the movies spoke of sex as if modernity is synonymous with lust. As if lust is this generation’s only priority and we need guidance about prioritizing love. Not just love, monogamy is also implied to be virtuous. I’m sure many believe otherwise. And the girl-falling-for-her-stalker trope. Sure, there was consent every time but after she shouts at him for stalking her, she also enables him to continue doing precisely that. Do women love stalkers? Do women not know what they want?
While both the movies have their faults and novelties (unequal in number), we can admit that the director always tried to capture love with modern glasses. Balancing between love and career is indeed a major hustle and hassle in this capitalistic era. Both the films bring us the charm of falling in love for the first time. After all, falling in love, questioning it, and getting your heart broken but still loving with a mad heart is a fascinating aspect of being human, no?
Which movie did you like better? Let us know in the comments!