Baar Baar Dekho: Fractured Romance

Cast: Siddharth Malhotra, Katrina Kaif, Sayani Gupta, Sarika, Ram Kapoor, Taaha Shah Badusha, Rohan Joshi

Director: Nitya Mehra

A good looking couple in a love story is not a rare thing –especially for Bollywood. So for hunky Siddharth Malhotra and lustrous Katrina Kaif to make an impression is not all that easy- even if the love story they are in is sort of tailor made to make them appear like 30 something sweet dah’lings, well aided by Ravi K Chandran’s picture postcard cinematography. The characters they play are hopelessly cliché ridden even if the story idea sounds a little different from Bollywoodian commonplace.

Time travel is at the cusp of this romance and the central conceit has probably been borrowed from ‘Only Time’ a British romantic hit that had its male protagonist trying to improve the future by going several times into the past. In Nitya Mehra’s film (story credited to Sri Rao and screenplay to Anuvab Pal & Nitya herself), the central character Jai (Siddharth Malhotra) is a brilliant Mathematician but is quite a ‘duh’ in matters of love.

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Diya (Katrina Kaif), an artist, sees her future bound with Jai’s but Jai is not to be cornered. After a lovers tiff, Jai suddenly gains the ability to travel to the future and sees his life intertwined with that of Diya’s – experiencing just about every important moment in their future including marriage, honeymoon, birth of their child and eventual retirement. Is he going to see sense in the present while trying to sort out their differences and aim for the culmination of their love in marriage? Time travel and science fiction may be a part of it but the story is more about Jai and Diya’s efforts to keep their relationship afloat for around 30 years. There’s no flash or extravagance involved in the depiction of the romance that sifts through the future while still in the present. Nitya’s helming is tempered and allows for a tonal quality that suits.

It’s not much of a hardship trying to guess the future of this love story. Flash backs and fast forwards makes the timeline quite hazy and indistinct to the point where you start getting quite confused and dizzy. While Malhotra and Kaif fit the picture postcard expectations, they fail to measure up as life and blood personas grappling with relationship problems that could well skew their life goals forever. Also, the love story is so predicative that there’s no room for wonder or awe here. The time travel tool is also not used as profitably as in ‘About Time’.

In Nitya Mehra’s film it’s just another gimmick to eventually get the lovers together in a happily ever after. Siddharth and Katrina fail to get under the skin of their characters so what you see is mainly what you get here – and it’s not all that enticing either. The songs are hummable but that’s just not enough here. No wonder biggies like Eros, Dharma and Excel (who have teamed up in an unusual partnership here) decided not to show the film to the review press in advance. They could well see the writing on the wall…mayhaps!

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