Love is being revisited in three different acts, in true Shakespearean style. Like this prem kahaani that yawns all the way from Lahore to London. Struggling to bloom under the austere eyes of Brit-ruled India (1910); doing the ‘twist’ in Bollywood’s golden era (1960), to digital love-chats in the ‘like’, ‘poke’ and ‘share’ (read: Facebook) generation (2012). But thankfully, this is not about janam-janam ka dangerous love, rebirth or reincarnation; it’s actually three love stories, blossoming in three different time periods.
Narrated in story-book style, it opens with Ruksar’s (Priyanka) – a Filmfare covergirl and superstar of the 60s’ – perchance meeting with Govind (Shahid), a struggling musician. In Chaplinesque style. Against an obvious studio backdrop of old Mumbai – with its quaint charm, and not-so-bustling life (trams, BEST buses, Britannia Guest House, Maratha Mandir theater, hand-painted movie posters, tunes of Ai dil hai mushkil) they fall in love, even as a curious, comical journo (one-man-paparazzi) clicks them all the way. Time to fast-forward.
Welcome 2012: In Queen’s land (UK). The hip, easy-going Krish (Shahid again), breaks-up, on his birthday, with his girlfriend in the morning; to find love in Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare’s birthplace) by midnight, with the free-spirited Radha (PC again). Not surprisingly, this Romeo-Juliet jodi share a wi-fi romance (flirting, wooing and dating happens via BBM, SMS, FB and iPads), but suddenly, there’s a technical glitch that even the ‘Ctrl+Alt+Del’ command can’t fix. Oops! Let’s rewind now.
It’s 1910 and we’re in Sargoda, Lahore. Javed (Hello again Shahid), is a random Romeo who seduces with shayari, and believes in azaadi (of heart over hinterland). He meets Aaradhana (any guesses who?), daughter of a freedom fighter, who transforms him from prem-pujari to patriot.
This isn’t the first time Priyanka Chopra has played multiple characters in a one movie, but in this one she doesn’t change much through eras and expressions (other than her wardrobe). She blushes coyly throughout, engages in verbal banter with her counterpart-of-centuries and breezes through her role(s), showing little intensity. Of course, she’s her natural, bubbly self as always, but not quite as amazing as you want her to be.
Shahid Kapoor is best as the badnaam shayar Javed. He uses his boyish charm effectively, dancing like the wind (in Uff and Humse Pyar Karle Tu), and cheekily winning women in every janam. Shahid seduces the audience with his style and shayari, sparking life into this cliche-riddled kahaani.
Kunal Kohli, in an attempt to create a large canvas to paint this love-story – (using centuries, barriers of cultures, castes, customs and costumes) – simply doesn’t make the crossover (to the audiences, that is). Even with a powerhouse of talent; the script lacks depth and fails to ignite enough passion or chemistry for a love story. It’s not devoid of romance, cutesy conversations and sweet-somethings; but there are no highs, lows, conflicts or complications that make you gush, or give you gooseflesh.
To put it simply, this story is – Boy meets girl. Period. Boy meets girl. Period. And boy meets girl. Period…
Three love stories set in three different eras; all of which go through the inevitable love-cycle of hook-up, heartbreak, separation and reunion.