To start with, Love Aaj Kal 2020 is not a sequel to the 2009 film of the same name starring Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone, because it's exactly the same story, the contrast of the sweet-simple 90s love to the urban chic relationships era. While Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan play Zoey and Veer: the two millennials in their early 20's with messed up personal love lives, the small-town love story shows Kartik as Raghu and debutant Arushi Sharma as Leena.
The story gears up with Zoey and Veer meeting at a club, followed by casual hookups and commitment phobia because the female lead protagonist is a 22-year-old, ambitious and highly career oriented girl with a five-year plan, who does not want to seek any seriousness in a relationship at that point of time. This story track is contrasted every now and then with the flashback cuts to Raghu and Leena's shy-sweet love story, who cross boundaries for their love but fate holds a different story for them.
The first half is slow and baffling and like every other Imtiaz Ali movie, you will need the patience to make yourself stay invested in the story. Ali's typical take on dysfunctional relationships remains the same within this movie as well, showcasing the certain crisis his characters face and dwell onto.
Sara looks gorgeous on-screen, however, fails to deliver an impressive performance. On the other hand, Kartik seems to have done a pretty good job, balancing with the dual character performance. His timid behaviour tracing back to the old love story is bang on, while his modern-day geeky-awkward, hopeless in love portrayal of love is also remarkable. It's refreshing to see him do something different from his usual comic characters, and safe to say that Imtiaz Ali got the best out of him.
Imtiaz manages to give Love Aaj Kal a very similar touch like his 2015 film Tamasha, as certain instances seemed to have inspired by the Ranbir-Deepika starrer. Interestingly, a certain section of the film sees Kartik's character, Veer, don a french beard, which will instantly remind you of Ved.
However, what saves this sinking ship of chaotic love stories is the very handsome Randeep Hooda, who plays a similar character like Rishi Kapoor from the 2009 Love Aaj Kal, and well he did not disappoint. Newcomer Arushi also delivered a decent performance within the little screen time she played.
However, what does not work in this saga of love is the lack of emotional connect. While you may relate to the story, it still fails to hit the right chords. The sudden and interrupted jumps across the flashback to the modern-day narrative also create confusion and clutter.
What helps set the mood right is the soulful music in the film. All the songs are a hit, and the Pritam-Arijit Singh collaboration has successfully created its magic. Love Aaj Kal highlights the complexities of love and relationships, though it gets mundane at certain points.
While Imtiaz has efficiently chosen beautiful scenic locations that add to the setting, the overdramatic dialogues are a big turn off. What's to be noticed is that Zoey and Veer's character from the modern love story era is loud and the occasional blaring background noise makes it all the more annoying.
Besides, there are also a bunch of scenes that will make you feel a lump in your throat, but hardly anything that grapples and enthrals you.
Altogether, Love Aaj Kal makes up for a watch if you're in for a ride to celebrate complex relationships, splendid direction and a super fresh Kartik Aaryan in an Imtiaz Ali film.
Rating: 3/5 stars