Feel free to disagree! But my reaction, after watching it, is that it is trying so hard to be “different” from the regular Indian films, that it ended up being exactly the same as a million other western films. Most obviously the French movie Love Me If You Dare (I haven’t seen it, but it was fairly successful and widely reviewed and talked about when it first came out).
We have been getting all kinds of stills from this movie for months and months now, and I kept saying “is this just going to be about kissing and free love? Surely there is something deeper than that!” Well, from this trailer, no! There is nothing deeper! Actually, it’s even more shallow than I feared.
So, Vaani and Ranveer have a one night stand, decide to keep it going with no commitment, and a series of escalating dares, and proudly declare that they won’t fall in love, this is a new kind of love story.
And Aditya Chopra is also kind of declaring that as well, about this movie. He’s been saying that all along as well, starting with his initial announcement that this is not going to be a big profitable film, it is just a small story that he wants to tell. And within the trailer, of course, there is the joke about “Palat” right at the end, indicating that we are past the swoony DDLJ style romance and into a more blunt era.
But, I don’t want to go into a new era! And not just because I love DDLJ. But if I want to see superficial confident pretty people talk about sex and love in a “shocking” way, I would just watch any modern shallow teen comedy or post-The Moon is Blue era movie from America. Indian film can choose to be something new and unique to its own art form, or it can choose to look at something from abroad and say “that’s so cool! I should force the Indian audience to see it, even though it has no relation to our unique film style, and I have added nothing new to the film that ‘inspired’ me.”
I’m not talking about the films that really do add something new, like Airlift for instance, which I think took the basic sort of feel of Argo and turned it into something uniquely Indian. But the films where the only “hook” for an Indian audience is that this is something they haven’t seen before IN INDIA. It’s just lazy, I get mad at it the same way I get mad at Slumdog Millionaire. Instead of packaging a watered down version of something for your audience demographic, why not encourage them to seek out the original?
I could be wrong of course, there could be something new that I’m not seeing just from the trailer. My hope would be that there is some kind of twist, that the film starts out with these overly self-aware young people claiming they will just have fun, and then something happens that makes it darker and deeper.
The original French film made them, essentially, crazy. It was kind of similar to Mirzya, really. Or Devdas or any of those other “destroyed by love” kind of stories. They met as children and always had this strange bond expressed through dares. And they kept being drawn back to each other through the years, as their dares escalated in danger and craziness. There was some kind of magic between them, which was so powerful that it ultimately destroyed them. And the audience was complicit, enjoying the early dares and the chemistry between the leads.
If that is the end result of this film, that the early light-hearted attitude eventually turns into some kind of crazy system of rules that only the two of them understand, that could be interesting in a disturbing sort of way. But I doubt it. Looks more like the standard “young people planning to keep it casually and then falling in love anyway” kind of thing.
Also, and this is just me being shallow, but it feels like Vaani’s face isn’t as attractive as it could be. Like the make-up is off or the lighting or something? Just seems a little too harsh on her features.
Or maybe I’m just in a bad mood or not focusing enough or something, I don’t know! Tell me in the comments if you see something I am missing.