There is a grain of truth in the sub-text of this film, which is quite simply that if we could only travel briefly into the future, and see for ourselves what happened to our lives, we might stop caring so much about things that apparently matter a great deal right now, but are quite trivial in the long run. Professional ambitions, for one; and the fact that we end up taking loved ones for granted in its pursuit, for sure.
The intentions behind this picture are noble all right. There is at least a thought in here. It’s just that this film takes so long to get to the point, and leave any impact at all, that as an audience, we merely find ourselves lopping around in circles, not just over the harrowing running time, but within multiple timelines of this slick looking pic as well.
Speaking of which, the young mathematician hero here, for reasons supernatural rather than sci-fantasy, finds himself waking up every morning, having traversed time by 10 days, 2 years, 16 years, and then 13 years. The heroine on the other hand leads her life the way many women do — being the boring, cribbing wife of an untamable man, lost in his own world.
This is supposedly a romance, and it’s obviously not the first a movie has merged time travel with conversations about love. God knows Hollywood is full of such (The Time Traveller’s Wife, Lake House, About Time, Click etc., to quote instances from the net).
If anything the filmmakers may have themselves imagined Hollywood actors for their main leads — a Hugh Grant or Russel Crowe kinda forgetful prof.; and a Sandra Bullock or Jennifer Aniston sort of America’s sweetheart opposite him. Costumes in the pic look fairly derived. As do mannerisms and humour. But make no mistake. This is at every level a ‘Bollywood’ film — with a wedding, funeral, and enough fine dance steps in between (particularly loved the moves to the track ‘Nachde ne saare’).
Now is that Bollywood stuff such a good thing? Why not, if it brings audiences to experience a movie that at its base is rather melancholic, and the budgets allow filmmakers to be generous with locations — shooting in spiraled steps of Cambridge University, for instance. Sure, with Baar Baar Dekho, you have to do a “thoda khao, thoda pheko” as a result, and that’s okay.
The flip side? Well, you’re also stuck with two lifeless actors — hugely under-prepared, wholly lacking in alchemy (Sidharth Malhotra, Katrina Kaif) — playing unlikely but significant roles. It’s one thing for a movie to leap across time, quite another for performers — alternatively ageing, and getting younger — to get audiences to take that leap of faith, along with them.
Does this seem merely an exercise in makeup artistry then? In that sense, the old Sidharth looks a lot like the current Shah Rukh Khan, if you ask me. And Katrina is the mannequin all the way. Be that as it may, I suspect both of them, few years down the line, looking back at this movie, might feel rather embarrassed nonetheless. Uh-oh.