From ‘Socha Na Tha’ to ‘Love Aaj Kal’: Where is the gifted filmmaker Imtiaz Ali heading towards?
For any cinephile watching their favourite filmmaker go off the tangent is heartbreaking. For the majority of movie-lovers out there, Imtiaz Ali is indeed one of the most loved directors have in Bollywood today. The thing I love the most about him is that he writes and directs his own films. The way he gives his heart and soul to his subjects makes his films stand out from the rest.
No one can portray the complexities of love and matters of the heart the way Imtiaz does and it is his trademark style which we all are fond of. But with his last two films- ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal‘ and the recently released ‘Love Aaj Kal’, looks like the filmmaker has lost the plot. Yes, it’s very sad to even write this for me. Because all my life I have felt that if cinema is a religion then Imtiaz is my God. Yes, being a die-hard romantic person I always felt that no one understands the psyche of a person in love the way he does. Unfortunately, watching his recent Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan starrer ‘Love Aaj Kal’ was a task.
Throughout the film, I was wondering when that one moment will come where I can see or understand what made this story so compelling that Ali had to say it. Reviving same plot of his previous film and using the same title as well already gave an indication that there must be something new that the director wants to bring on the table this time. But alas, no one could find that one reason which made this film worth making.
The trailer of ‘Love Aaj Kal’ itself reeked of mess and confusion and the film turned out to be precisely that. After giving us cinephiles some gem of the films like ‘Socha Na Tha’, ‘Jab We Met’ and ‘Rockstar’, it is quite obvious that everyone expects Imtiaz to either experiment with new genres or at least stick to what he is good at.
All the elements which you generally love in an Imtiaz Ali film were missing from his latest release. Though the film’s central character is Zoe played by Sara Ali Khan, her character graph was very poor. She had no mind of her own. She either rebelled against her single mother or was foolish enough to blindly follow Raghu’s (Randeep Hooda) love story. Zoe claimed that her only dream in life was to be independent but despite having a job, at pubs, she relied on guys to buy her drink. So much so that the guy felt she will sleep with him in return of all the drinks he bought for her. At one point a highly drunk Sara is abandoned on the middle of a Road by the same guy.
Now, why would any sane girl bring herself into such a situation? The biggest problem with this film was that it is clearly visible that a man in 50s was literally struggling to tell a millennial love story. And sadly there was nothing in the film that could make you root for him even for his attempt to interpret millennial complexities when it comes to relationships and commitments.
In 2005, when ‘Socha Na Tha’ starring Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia had released the film went unnoticed but eventually, people noticed its innocence and honesty. It is hands down one of the most underrated films of Imtiaz’s career. In ‘Jab We Met’ we again saw how only Imtiaz can tell love stories in several different ways.
‘Rockstar‘ again revolved around the longing of the heart and the destruction that follows when one doesn’t comply with its demand. It is the best film in Imtiaz’s filmography. The director hasn’t received any formal training at filmmaking but still, the way he captured people’s heart with some of his films is commendable.
He is a gifted director and there’s no doubt about it. So watching him waste his time and energy making films like ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’ is downright painful. Also, the director needs to work on his female characters. Its high time he gave us a character like Veera (Alia’s character in ‘Highway’).
Imtiaz, I have a heartfelt request, please make films only when you actually have a story to tell. Don’t do it for the sake of others. We all know earning money and fame is not your agenda. You are here solely for the love of cinema and we absolutely love you for that. Please give us our old Imtiaz back.