By Debasmita Hazra
Lately, there has been a surge of movies where the urban, young, man breaks out of his comfort zone to chase his big dreams, only to realize home is where the heart lies. Baar Baar Dekho evokes the same feeling, with the added twist of time travel. You can’t help but appreciate the beauty with which the sugary and fast-paced narrative brings eight-year old Jai and Diya together, and turns them from childhood friends to lovers. However, the pace is lost once the premise is set. Jai develops cold feet prior to the wedding. He is then propelled into the future and spends the remaining run-time spiraling back and forth in time.
Surprisingly, it is Diya, the once domineering, successful artist, who compromises her career in an attempt to make a harmonious family. The marriage inevitably fails. Thus, in a desperate bid to save his fairy-tale love-story, begins the math prodigy’s quest to find and recalibrate that one disconcerting variable in their lives. Unlike Bunny of Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Jai soon accepts, in a true Dharma way, the importance of family over a career at Cambridge or Harvard and successfully balances the equation of life.
Bearing the heavy scent of Dharma Productions and Excel Entertainment, the movie has dollops of gorgeous actors, enchanting music, and breathtaking locales along with spectacular costumes and set designs. If you don’t like the on-screen proceedings, you can spend time marveling at the visual richness of the movie. The make-up team upped the game with their fine renditions of the actors’ looks across decades. Creating differently withered skin corresponding to each time-shift must have been an difficult task! Ravi Chandran’s camerawork, beautifully imbibing warmth into every frame, is definitely noteworthy.
Unfortunately, the screenplay doesn’t add up to this beautifully laden premise. Understandably, the concept of time travel has been given much thought. The futuristic technology seems plausible. However, the story doesn’t invest heavily into enriching the characters. You try to make Jai’s struggle your own but you simply cannot unite with him on his quest.
Katrina Kaif, flaunting her well-toned mid-riff, actually does a good job. But she does a tad bit more than required in the emotional scenes. However, she is getting better on-screen with every movie. Sidharth Malhotra puts his best foot forward and is convincing as a kith and kin loving man, if not as a mathematician. Sadly, the characters of a strong supporting cast comprising Sarika or Sayani Gupta are not fleshed out enough to fully display their acting talents.
But overall, Nitya Mehra’s debut idea, smells afresh and simple,but doesn’t leave a lasting impression. I’m going with 3 stars.
By Vinay Jain
Baar Baar Dekho opens with an immensely pleasing opening sequence highlighting the early lives of the protagonists, further bolstered by the poignant ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kaha’ playing in the background. It left me smiling like no big budget Bollywood film has in quite some while. And is followed by….well, nothing much else. BBD has everything going for it: an intriguing premise, access to a big budget, the best talent available, and a promising lead in the form of Sidharth Malhotra – yet it fails in its execution. This is a shame considering what could have been!
Much of the film can be summed up in this way: Jai wakes up having seemingly missed a huge chunk of his life and asks his family to fill him in. Sid’s talent is wasted here and although occasionally it does seem like he’s been given some promising material to work with, every time this happens the movie jumps to a different era. It’s also difficult to care for Dia’s struggles because we never see anything from her perspective. Add in some unneeded songs (although pleasant), stereotypical characters and clichéd storylines and you get BBD.
While it certainly seems that Nitya Mehra wants to bring something new to the table, the film ironically gives us a story that’s too formulaic. There are a few bits that did draw me in however, like the symbolism for the eye (which perhaps is meant to show that Jai is blinded by his ambition). Mehra does get creative here, and the scene in the aftermath of Jai’s mother’s funeral is wonderfully shot with the sun in the background symbolising an itching eye. BBD smothers a potentially interesting film in favour of exotic locales and pretty people. I’ve found myself giving second chances to many disappointing movies but I simply can’t for this one because the film completely botches its potential to the point it of being insufferable. This is ironic given the fact that is called “Baar Baar Dekho”.
I’m going with 2 stars.
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