Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Rakul Preet Singh, Jimmy Shergill, Javed Jaffrey, Alok Nath, Kumud Mishra, Inayat Sood, Bhavin Bhanushali, Sunny Singh, Madhumalti Kapoor
Director: Akiv Ali
Rating: * * ½
Luv Ranjan’s modern relationship drama has a May-December romance walking into a wrecking ball – when the rich 50-year-old Londoner Ashish Mehra (Ajay Devgn) decides to introduce his twenty-something PYT lover Ayesha Khurana (Rakul Preet) to his estranged family settled in a resort town in Upper North India.
The problems that crop up following that earthquake literally derail the relationship and establish Ashish as a neglectful Dad and husband who not only lies about his status but also feels no remorse for his many infarctions. The film opens with the wholesome looking 26-year-old Ayesha attempting to do a ‘strip-tease’ at a bachelor’s party.
Apparently, she was instructed to tempt the groom so that the soon-to-be-bride could be reassured about his love for her. He fails the test though but Ashish and Ayesha claim that he was in line and never went beyond the cursory flirting. Then Ayesha conveniently gets drunk and wakes up naked in Ashish’s bedroom the next morning. After a long-drawn ‘Basanti’ like communication (remember Sholay) where Ayesha does all the talking and answering while Ashish is too busy counting his luck to respond – the two decide to live together.
It’s apparent that the writer Luv Ranjan and director Akiv Ali did not want to work out the many kinks in the May-December construct. That explains the pitiable attempts to juxtapose the traditional Indian value system with the modern by transporting Ashish and Ayesha to India on the pretext of introducing her as his soon-to-be wife. Clearly, faulty reasoning because it appears from the confrontations that take place thereafter that Ashish and Manju (Tabu) haven’t divorced – they are just separated. And his kids Ishaan (Bhavin Bhanushali) and Ishika (Inayat Sood) are clearly not amused by their estranged father’s questionable attempts to retain his youthful vitality by consorting with a woman as young as they.
Also, his arrival jeopardises Ishika’s engagement to Rishi and S.K’s (Jimmy Shergill) pursuit of Manju. Luv Ranjan’s story though daring in intent fails the test when it comes to pay-off. Ashish and Ayesha don’t sound like they are in love, there’s no attempt to give them a plausible reason to be together and there’s no chemistry between them to speak of. The only time this film picks up pep and vigour is when Tabu enters the frame at the halfway mark and Jimmy joins her in a serenade that shows off possibilities for where this film could have gone.
Javed Jaffrey as the Psychotherapist dishing out friendly professional advice to the ageing Romeo does well to bring on a few laughs. While Ajay nurtures his glazed intensity throughout, Rakul tries hard to be effervescent but her performance feels put on. The songs are irritating, the humour is missing, the dialogues sound ridiculous and the narrative doesn’t attempt anything deeper than the obvious and perfunctory. This is clearly an immature, implausible attempt at a mature love story let loose within a not-so-modern family!