Imtiaz Ali and Highway and Love Aaj Kal 2020: Why the Audience Can’t Relate to Female Lead Films

Love Aaj Kal 2020 is on Netflix and if you don’t like it, it means you are secretly a male chauvinist. No, not really, that’s a terrible game to play with movies. But I do think a lot of the response to the film is because of anti-female prejudice.

Okay, third try on this post, it’s gonna work this time! The air in Chicago right now is very pre-storm feeling and it’s making my head feel gunked up as well, so I am having a very difficult time deciding where to start this thing. Okay, stretch my back, shake out my wrists, here we go again!

How do we know if an Imtiaz Ali film has a male or female protagonist? I’m gonna give two simple rules. First, who do we start and end the film with? Second, who does the audience journey with in a post-separation journey of discovery?

Let’s crank through Imtiaz’s filmography. Socha Na Tha, we start by meeting Abhay and his family, we end with Abhay and Ayesha both reuniting with their families. Post separation, we see Abhay buckle down in his job and Ayesha prepare for her engagement.

Jab We Met, we start with Shahid and his problems. We end with Shahid and Kareena. Post-separation, we watch Shahid remembering Kareena and growing to be a better person.

Love Aaj Kal, we start with Saif and we end with Saif. Post-seperation, we focus on Saif talking to Rishi.

Rockstar, we start with Ranbir and we end with Ranbir and in the middle it is all Ranbir

Tamasha, we start with Ranbir as a child, then Deepika as an adult. We end with Ranbir. There are two separations and after the first one we see Deepika, the second longer (in terms of screentime) Ranbir.

Highway, we start with Alia and end with Alia and post-separation it is only Alia.

Jab Harry Met Sejal, we start with Shahrukh and end with Shahrukh and Anushka resolving Shahrukh’s issues, and post-separation it is primarily Shahrukh.

Love Aaj Kal 2020, we start with Sara and end with Sara and post-separation it is mostly Sara.

Looking at this, the first thing that jumps out at me is “AHA!!! That’s why Tamasha felt so odd!” For the whole first half, Deepika is the protagonist. It is her eyes that the audience sees through, meets Ranbir, misses him, meets him again, struggles with who he is, and so on. And then she disappears, dropped out of the narrative in the second half. It works as wish-fulfillment if you want to be like Ranbir, you get to see yourself through Deepika’s eyes. And then see your own personal journey to Greatness where your true love will be waiting for you (always waiting) as a reward. However, for those who do not identify totally easily with Ranbir, it is a confusing movie experience to be jolted from one protagonist to another. Rockstar is kind of less disturbing since it is consistent, always and forever only one protagonist.

Most of Imtiaz’s films, the normal mainstream hits, are “normal”. It’s a two person love story, notice either the ending or the post-interval separation or both covers both characters, but the male character has a slight lead that makes him the “protagonist”. If nothing else, the movie always starts with the man.

As movie viewers and also People in the World, we have all been trained to “think like a man”. What does the Man want, what pressures does the Man feel, what has been the Man’s life experience? Shahrukh shows up onscreen in Jab Harry Met Sejal, poof, we are ready to sympathize with him. He is lonely, he works too hard, he isn’t able to make an emotional connection, these are the problems that everyone (male or female) subconsciously learns from childhood. It’s easy to sympathize with the male character, and it’s easy to watch a movie where all that is required to understand it is that sympathy.

Let’s look at Socha Na Tha again. Say you don’t notice Ayesha’s whole storyline at all, say you miss the bit about her being an orphan and struggling to always be good and so on and so forth. The movie still holds together, you can watch and enjoy and understand it merely by understanding Abhay’s storyline with Ayesha as his love interest and nothing else.

Now, back to Jab Harry Met Sejal. If you see Shahrukh as lonely, works too hard, can’t make emotional connections, the movie only half works. You have to also see Anushka as sheltered, insecure, abandoned by her family, filled with doubt and trying to compensate by appearing confident. Without understanding and relating to Anushka, the movie becomes the story of this awful awful woman punishing this noble man who comes to love her for no reason.

Imtiaz’s most commercially successful films, Socha Na Tha and Jab We Met and Love Aaj Kal, had female characters there for you to take or leave. If you identified with the male character only, the film functioned. If you identified with the female as well, the film was even better. It was a bonus, not a requirement.

His most critically acclaimed films reject identification with the female lead. If you watch Tamasha for Deepika, or Rockstar for Nargis, you will be deeply deeply frustrated. It’s not even a bonus, it’s a negative, the movie only works if you are able to set these women aside and focus entirely on the male lead and his problems.

And then we have Highway and Love Aaj Kal 2020, the two movies where it is the woman who is the protagonist, the woman’s story we must relate to, and the man’s which is secondary.

Imtiaz is a product of the same patriarchal society as the rest of us, even in the films with female protagonists he included a male co-lead with almost as strong a character as them. It’s harder to ignore men then women, even in fiction. And yet the films are definitively female stories, and the reaction to the films shows that.

If you are going to get people to react seriously and respectfully towards a film it is hard for them to understand, you need to make them believe it is Important. Highway did that, it’s a story about a woman that revolves around Woman’s Issues. Very important, very serious, we must all treat it with respect and “try to put ourselves in her shoes” (that’s an infuriating phrase, isn’t it? Like the people who actually are in her shoes don’t exist, we must all try to imagine what it would be like to be a female victim of rape because all the Real people haven’t experienced that). Love Aaj Kal 2020 isn’t about Woman’s Issues with Capital Letters. It is just about a woman and her issues. Which brings up the rallying cry of “why should I care”. Well, why should you ever care? You care because it is art, because it is a story, because you have empathy. Maybe the movie still doesn’t work for you, that’s okay. But this “why should I care” question is not something that anyone was asking about Rockstar or Tamasha. Why is it brought up now, when that same story is told with a woman at the center instead of a man?

Let’s go back to Highway for a moment. This is inarguably Imtiaz’s darkest film. Our protagonist SPOILERS is a very young wealthy young woman about to be married off who is accidentally kidnapped as part of a car jacking. Her kidnappers plan to either ransom her or sell her to human traffickers. Over the course of traveling with them, she forms a Stockholm syndrome attachment to the lead kidnapper. She confesses to him that she was raped multiple times as a young child by a family friend, and her parents refused to believe her. The kidnapper softens to her and tries to send her home again but she refuses. The two of them travel together to the mountains where the police find them and kill the kidnapper in front of her. She returns home long enough to confront her family, then goes back to the mountains to lead a simple life working in a canning factory SPOILERS OVER. For our protagonist to go through the same emotional agony, sobbing, awakening, monologuing, and so on that all Imtiaz protagonists go through, she had to survive ALLLLLLLL of that. And then the audience would buy it. For Saif in Love Aaj Kal to have an emotional breakdown, he just had to miss his ex-girlfriend.

I don’t think Highway is necessarily a better movie than Imtiaz’s other films, and I think his male protagonists on a film by film basis were perfectly justified in their emotional journeys. I just want to point out the double standard, that for a female lead film about an internal journey to be successful, the lead character has to go through massive pain and suffering. An actress has to survive that level of character drama before her performance is noticed, while an actor is given credit for carrying a movie when he has only a slight edge in terms of character story.

Which brings me to Love Aaj Kal 2020. Sara Ali Khan in this does not have the big showy monologues or terribly depressing backstory of Alia in Highway. Her character is damaged like Ranbir in Tamasha was damaged, or Shahrukh in Jab Harry Met Sejal. It’s real, it’s painful, but it is hard to pin down. Because we have all been trained by patriarchal society, we don’t see it. How does a woman feel pain? Why does a woman feel pain? We aren’t trained to consider it. It’s not comfortable or natural to relate to this kind of protagonist.

There’s no easy solution for this problem, training people to relate to women as easily as men, but Imtiaz is making a start. He went from having full female characters there if you look for them, to putting them front and center and impossible to ignore even when it damaged the profitability of his films. Maybe if he spends the next 20 years making these movies, and enough people see them, a woman will come onscreen and we will go “oh, exhausted with emotional labor, always slightly afraid of being hurt, struggling with body image” just as easily as we identify male pain.

35 thoughts on “Imtiaz Ali and Highway and Love Aaj Kal 2020: Why the Audience Can’t Relate to Female Lead Films

  1. Thank you for writing this! I’ve felt the same way about all the negative reception that Imtiaz Ali’s movies have now got with JHMS (which I honestly find hard to believe was a flop since we all love it so much) and now LAK2020 which I’ve yet to see (stupid regional /country differences in Indian content). It just feels so wrong for his newer movies to have such a negative reception; though Rockstar deserves it to be honest, and Tamahsa I can tolerate somewhat for my own love of the theatre as a theme in the film, love everything else. It’s like people have forgotten how to see his films and his style of doing these movies where it’s all internal, and I am sure patriarchy is there to blame too, as you said.

    My hope really is that like with movies like Dil Se.. which were flops when they premiered, but gathered a cult following and now are seen as classics; that the same will happen to JHMS and LAK2020. Maybe it’s just time that will make other people see these films as classics as they clearly are, not just some rehashes of old films or as “non-plot” movies, the two accusations most lauded at him by reviews.

    I love his movies; Highway being close to my soul and JHMS to my heart. He is such a good filmmaker and it is a shame he has this negativity around his movies now when he has clearly improved and is just better than he was before on the character part when not shackled by Ranbir and his ego.

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    • I have had such a roller coaster of a relationship with Imtiaz. I adored Socha Na Tha and was looking forward to Jab We Met because of it, obviously JWM did not disappoint. Then Love Aaj Kal was okay, but not nearly as good. Just the posters and stuff for Rockstar immediately turned me off and I fell right out of love, I decided the early good movies were because he was forced into it by collaberaters and stuff and now his “real” style was coming out and I hated him. I saw Tamasha in theaters and it was like punch something hateful for me. So he was dead to me, Imtiaz went from one of my most loved directors to most loathed just like that. And then JHMS brought me right back, and now Love Aaj Kal 2020 has me remembering what it was like when I first fell in love with him.

      You know those couples where they get divorced and then a fall back in love and remarry? That’s me and Imtiaz.

      On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 6:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. I despise Imtiaz’s movies with Ranbir but I like JWM and Jab Harry Met Sejal. I wasn’t sure about Love Aaj Kal 2 and was very reluctant to watch it. I didn’t like the first Love Aaj Kal either. I’ve seen about half of Love Aaj Kal 2 and…maybe it would have better if it had another actress and not Sara. She is such a bad actress that it takes you out of your element. I also don’t understand why Kartik has a double role. It makes it unnecessarily confusing when the other actress is different.

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    • I would suggest you keep watching. I think Sara is brilliant in this, because she is playing a very troubled young woman who is constantly putting on an act. Her “bad acting” is her character pretending. That peels away as the film goes on. At least, that’s how it worked for me.

      Almost at the end of the film, there is a discussion of why Kartik has the double role. It’s because Randeep looks for his young self in love in every young man in love that he sees, but it’s never quite a good fit. In the final flashback, you start to see Kartik merge into Randeep to show us that all along Kartik wasn’t a real flashback, just a projection of Randeep.

      It’s a remarkably intricate film, and really hard to judge without seeing the whole thing.

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      • After the good reviews here, I watched this again with my parents. But it still didn’t work for me. Both me and my mom hated it but my dad liked it! Go figure. I don’t know what theory to come up with to explain that one.
        We also saw Angrezi Medium to honor Irfan. We hadn’t seen it yet. Unfortunately, we all thought it was a syrupy bore though Irfan was excellent as always.

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  3. I see your point…I hated this movie because I found her character to be immature, narcissistic, and self-obsessed…I couldn’t finish the movie….but because I am so used to seeing the men play immature, narcissistic, and self-obsessed people even if I hate the person…I look past it and still might enjoy the movie…honestly, if I applied the same standard to men I would never be able to watch a Ranbir movie…so your post has made me realize that I do have a bias…

    Now the question is how I do fix it? Is being conscious of it enough? Do I need to immerse myself in watching such women characters (aka a Lena Dunham marathon?)

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    • Well, you can start by finishing this movie. I generally tell people to finish movies, but this one in particular has some very interesting late character reveals. Or maybe you watched most of it and already saw those parts and don’t care. Filmikudhi just left a comment on the review that after an hour she was ready to give up and leave me a grumpy comment, and then she kept watching and decided it is one of the most brilliant movies she has seen in her life.

      Also, you are such a nice person! I think all you have to do is ask “would I forgive this or overlook it in a male character?” and go from there. Why make movies into homework? If you can enjoy them, try. If you can’t, go make a sandwich and move on with life

      On Tue, Apr 28, 2020 at 9:05 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Shreyans – I definitely felt the same way you did during the first hour of the movie and almost gave up right after Sara’s meltdown in front of Kartik’s parents. I am genuinely curious about what you think after you finish the movie. You may still hate it, and that’s okay, but do finish it because it would be interesting to hear your thoughts afterward.

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        • Okay so I saw the movie again..the whole movie this time…and I hated even more….I absolutely despised both the main characters Sara and Randeep…their despicable, stupid, selfish acts are beyond redeemable and I cannot feel any sympathy for their sorry assess at the end…Boohooo Randeep behaved like an asshole and “lost himself” but didn’t even have the decency to apologize to the girl in the end…why is Sara taking life advice from a loser drunk sex-addict? Why is this supposedly career focussed girl going out drinking the night before a big interview? Why are these people so dumb?

          An even bigger problem for me is that I just don’t care for the central love vs. career conflict. Its been done to death and no surprises that love is always supposed to win…*eye roll*

          Actually, I think the mother was the only sensible person in this movie…she is trying to teach her 22 yr old child not to get swept away by puppy love…build a career so that she can be self-reliant in the future…whats wrong with that advice?? It seems future-thinking and reasonable to me…this is exactly the advice I would give any young 20 something person…

          Or maybe I will get this movie only after I fall madly in love someday?!?!?

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          • See, I saw the movie very differently. Rather than being about “career versus love”, it is about “psycho mother versus being happy for yourself”. It’s told through the lens of a love story, but it is the same film as Tamasha, only with a worse parent. Sara’s mother had her so traumatized and messed up that she couldn’t trust her own judgement. A perfect normal reasonable relationship with Kartik was turned into something miserable and impossible only because Sara’s mother had so damaged her. Advice to “have a good career” is good, telling her that falling in love leads to certain misery and doom in an angry ranting tirade, and then completely reversing a few hours later as though nothing had happened is just NUTS and wrong and bad and all of that.

            Not that you have to agree with me, I am just so glad you finished the film so you could see the whole thing before you made a judgement!

            On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 5:43 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • okay but If I see the movie from that perspective it still doesn’t work for me….the mother’s character is so caricaturist that I can’t even buy into that conflict…if this is the story of a daughter breaking free from a problematic mother then we need to see a more realistic relationship…a few scenes of hammy yelling doesn’t establish much

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    • You could also just stop forgiving men for it. Movies incompatible with that are not worth watching anyway. I mean, I’ve only ever seen one Ranbir movie all the way through and am not planning to watch another one, and doesn’t hinder me in any way whatsoever.

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  4. I have not yet finished Love Aaj Kal 2020, but I think Sara is great. I think Imtiaz is skilled at explaining why a person might act “crazy”. Someone flipping out at a dinner, or work, isn’t loosing it, so much as finally realizing their emotions in his films. I especially appreciate it when female characters have complex inner worlds that are viewed as important. Highway, JHMS, Love Aaj Kal 2020 – I really like and identify with these women, his women. Not so much JWM. But female lead had potential to be a full person in that movie, the mean part of me thinks she didn’t quite make the grade because it was Kareena who outside of Talaash can’t act. But maybe she didn’t have the dialogue to act with.

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    • JWM is a funny one. I don’t feel like the heroine was underserved, not like Tamasha or Rockstar, but it also definitely wasn’t as full of a character as it could be. Socha Na Tha was a little more interesting even, and that was an earlier film. Maybe he was just finding his way in his first big budget picture.

      So glad you are watching Love Aaj Kal 2 and enjoying it! Looking forward to your thoughts on the review once you finish.

      On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 12:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Genevieve and Margaret – I agree with both of you about JWM. I do think Kareena was underserved. It actually bothers me a lot because it portrays Kareena as someone who made up a whole relationship (borderline Kangana-Hrithik situation and Kareena could be deemed “crazy”) while the guy is the sane one who kept telling her that that they are not in a relationship and not about to get married. And it could easily have been fixed with a little more nuance or an explanation.

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        • I hadn’t thought of it that way, but you are right. And in that way, it is similar to Deepika in Tamasha or Nargis in Rockstar in that the pieces were there to fix it, the film just didn’t spin them out enough. Shahid’s reaction to her boyfriend’s “not my problem, she crazy” response was horror and distaste. And in the end the boyfriend does step up and is ready to marry her, showing that she was “right” all along and he was the one re-writing their relationship. A little more thought and time on that part of it, and we could have had an interesting story about how men gaslight women into thinking they are the crazy ones.

          Perhaps a post-interval section filling in her backstory, similar to in Love Aaj Kal 2 with the post-interval randomness? If we had flashed back to her with the boyfriend in college, him telling her “we should be married, come to me and I will marry you any time”. So we are in her headspace when she is rejected by him, instead of believing him for a moment.

          On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 9:54 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Exactly! Just explain how the guy was gaslighting her. It could be with a 2 minute flash back, or even a song showing them in a relationship and the guy just looking uncomfortable to the audiance but not saying anything when Kareena talks about marriage. Aything that shows that this was not all “made up” by her. Shahid’s reaction is distaste because a naiive girl left everything to be with the guy, the least the guy could do is make sure she was okay because that is just a decent thing to do. But it still doesn’t address the fact that according to the guy they were never in a relationship and Kareena made it all up. Given that the guy is ready to marry her in the end, I do think Imtiaz was trying to show that there was something there that was not just made up by Kareena, but I do wish it had been made more explicit.

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          • I think he doesn’t say it is made up, just that it was only a dating thing and was never going to be marriage. But yes, that sequence implies that Kareena was delusional and naive and just plain wrong about what they had. If he hadn’t come around in the end, they could leave it at her being naive and eager for love and marriage and so on and therefore misunderstanding some guy who was just casually dating her. But as it is, clearly she was right all along and he was the one being delusional and trying to pretend they were never that serious.

            Heck, how about this, really simple, we see Kareena in her sad flashback in her hostel room looking through old love letters and photos and get a glimpse of a letter that explicitly says “run away and come to me and marry me”.

            On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 10:30 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Loved the post.
    Ya it’s quite clear now that people only like to see imtiaz heroes to be the imperfect and emotional mess and the heroines knowing it all and guiding them and not the other way around ( JHMS and LAK 2 ).

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    • Yes! I hadn’t thought about it that way before, I was thinking in terms of the negative and people struggling with complex flawed woman. But there’s also the positive, people expect and want Perfect women, they enjoy watching Perfect women as much as they don’t enjoy watching imperfect women.

      On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 5:29 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Hmm. Regarding sara’s performance, I don’t know what people saw, but I loved her. Even in the much talked about tum mujhe tang Karne lage ho scene, I really liked her. Moreover in that scene, the kind of emotional and mental mess she was in, that was so overwhelming, I don’t remember when was the last time I saw a character in such a state. Even with the troubled imtiaz heroes, it was never real overwhelming. I thought that was so unprecedented even by imtiaz standards. In my opinion it was very brave of her to actually went inside veer’s house. I would not have been able to enter the house even with that much going in my head. I loved her and simultaneously felt for her in that scene. The way she was constantly going on and off fully aware that it was not the right place and time for that outburst, but still not able to hold it. And at the end of that scene, sitting outside his home and crying…….Irrespective of what others opinion of her in that scene, I felt she was great and really convincing. I mean the character was in such a bad state, what you expect, that she will say and weep like a typical bollywood heroine, looking graceful even at emotional and crying scenes? She did not look well while uttering those lines because ZOE was actually not well in that moment. And if ranbeer was superb in agar tum sath ho sequence, so does Zoe in that scene, both imperfect and vulnerable. The song placement I think also affected the outcome. That ranbeer sequence was amalgamated with the terrific agar tum sath ho so much so that the scene is now named after the song. A song after Zoe’s break down could have make it more acceptable for the audience to connect.

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    • Yes! That is how I saw it as well, Sara’s acting was “bad” because it wasn’t natural. But it shouldn’t be natural, her character was having a mental breakdown in front of us. Watching the film in theaters, that sequence was so jarring for me because we had had a fairly standard rom-com up to that moment. Suddenly going from happiness and love and fate to this dramatic moment of our central character completely falling apart was shocking. And then we came back from the interval and it was even more shocking to be sent to the unrelated stand up comic routine and then flashback of other love stories.

      I think Imtiaz did it like that deliberately, he tricked us into seeing a regular simple easy happy love story just as Sara was tricking herself into believing that love would be easy. And then as soon as it reached the “happy ending”, as soon as it started to get serious, all the true problems rose to the surface. It’s a brilliant structure for the film, and incredibly challenging for the actress (to play a “normal” girl with a slight tinge that is showing us she is just pretending to be “normal”, and then suddenly move into a full breakdown). But it only works if you watch the film straight through, and the performance straight through.

      YES! It is exactly like Ranbir in Tamasha! Only so much better. Part of what bothered me about Tamasha is that Ranbir’s “normal” character was too off, it felt like everyone in his life should have known it was a performance, not just Deepika. Sara in this film manages to weave together the pretending to be okay with the reality of her character in such a way that you can believe most folks don’t see the problem, that it looks to the audience like a standard heroine just performed slightly wrong. Which is how it is in real life, people with severe depression or emotional issues can go through their day appearing totally fine with just something very very slightly off underneath it all. And then her breakdown, unlike Ranbir’s total break, is also more realistic. She is falling apart but also standing outside of herself and aware she is falling apart and trying to stop it. She isn’t a character having this perfect dramatic filmi kind of breakdown, she is a real person who is trying to stop herself and go back to being “normal” and failing.

      On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 10:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Well to correct myself, rewatched the scene. And yes there was the awesome opening lines of yeh dooriyaan2.0 towards the end. Worked perfectly for few, but not for the majority.

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  8. Leave Sara’s performance out of it for a second: Kartik was so amazingly bad, I could not get over it. The only convincing thing he did was make a handsome guy look ugly (in both eras) I didn’t like him in the ’90s or now. He was whiny and it was always unclear who he really was. ***minor spoiler** I didn’t know that he didn’t have a career at the beginning; I thought he was genuinely programing. He is rich in both sections; so? The scenes with the Doc father reminded me of Zero of all things and that was NOT supposed to be the reference. HOW CAN ANYONE CONSIDER KARTIK to be an up and coming star HOW????
    Now, Sara: I believed her performance. Although with all the English mixed in (which wasn’t really justified by her roti (not bread as it said in the subs) making Mom or sister.. It sounded much more like Columbia educated Sara Ali Khan to me. But that’s okay. She was fine. Not brilliant, but fine.
    I also did not like how they changed the original story; it seemed forced.

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    • Oh dear, sounds like none of the things that worked for me worked for you. I can at least say that I think Sara’s English is fully accurate to who her character is, based on the big leap in English usage in the new generation in urban areas. If she is looking for a job in event planning at a multi-national corporation, English would be her go-to. Oh, and I think Kartik in the modern era was freelancing doing software and talented enough to make a living at that (although he did come from money), the change was to committing to a full time project instead of picking things up here and there,

      On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 1:40 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. I love this post.
    I can’t talk about LAK because it’s still not available here (can’t wait!), but last week I said something about YJHD and some guy said: how dare you talking about this gem if your favorite movies are JHMS and Half Girlfriend!
    Sure for him, YJHD is a gem because it talks about a tormented guy and a beautiful and good girl who didn’t make any problems and waited for him. JHMS doesn’t have it so I must be really clueless to like it.

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    • Yes! Male trauma is Deep and Important, and female trauma is either invisible or just dumb,

      On Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 2:23 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  10. I watched LAK2020 this morning and found it cathartic, the way only the best Imtiaz Ali films can be. Sara was very good, but I feel like I need to see it a second time or a third to grasp the greatness of it. Her performance was so raw and real and could relate to her a lot, not just the fear of love, but also the difficult mother part.

    Glad my mom is better than Sara’s, but we still disagree a lot, even now we had a small debate about Indian film and how differently we see it (she didn’t like Notebook btw because it felt so naive, romantic and light with no substance or plot, her words, but likes the movies like Chhaapak that tell about the struggle of women “realistically” and are “serious social issues movies”) and Dad’s a bit more open-minded since we are both avid film fans and have kinda different tastes in movies, but in also same in a way of enjoying the small detail and layers within a movie. Sorry to have put this is all in what was meant to be “I relate to Sara’s character” section. This film just hit hard for me personally in how relatable Sara was in the same way Anushka’s is in JHMS. I love Imtiaz for writing them so much, honestly. I cried at parts it hit me so hard.

    Back to the movie. Karthik was good in the present and such a sweetheart. I’ve met guys like him who are noticeably on the spectrum (I myself am only mildly on some of the same kinds his character is in) and they really are such honest good people. Past-Karthik was a jerk, but the goatee and beard helped sell him as young (very hot!) Randeep later. Randeep was great, but I like him already so no hard sell there.

    I found I had to pause at certain points and then continue with the movie at the beginning out of fear something would make me hate it, but the closer we got to the end of the 1st act I stopped doing it more and more. I LOVED ALL THE SONGS! Galat/Twist was one I’ve been listening to for a while, but knowing the context the songs are in now I will love them even more.

    And I am completely happy for a character analysis of them all by you if you decide to do them!

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    • Well, this is shaping up to very much be a young women movie! You love it, I love it, FilmiKudhi loves it, and Monica loves it. My guess is, we are all in the same 25-35 age range.

      And that makes complete sense to me. the struggle is so distinctively part of that life period, figuring out yourself and who you are versus who your parents (especially your mother) are, making mistakes and only later realizing how they changed your life, and on and on and on.

      And I love Imtiaz for writing them too! How many artists are interested in reaching outside their own experience and telling someone else’s story? And here we have an older successful man who decides the story he wants to tell is about a young woman trying to find herself. It’s ambitious and challenging, and strangely loving. Another commentator suggested that Ranveer might be Imtiaz, and I like that idea. An older man with a lot of life experience who feels a kinship with this young woman trying to find herself.

      It’s interesting, those of us who love the movie all talk about it as cathartic, emotional, overwhelming, and so on. Not the usual “well, I intellectually enjoyed that film” kind of experience. Makes me understand better how it DOESN’T work for some people, if it isn’t that cathartic experience, it really doesn’t have much to it.

      On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 3:47 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

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