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Arif fails to fill Imtiaz’s shoes

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TO NDR review lekar-hum-deewana-dil 4

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YOUNG LOVE: Armaan Jain and Deeksha Seth are a hit in Lekar Hum Deewana Dil.

LEKAR HUM DEEWANA DIL

DIRECTOR: Arif Ali

CAST: Armaan Jain, Rohini Hattangadi, Deeksha Seth, Gautami Kapoor

CLASSIFICATION: TBA

RUNNING TIME: 140 minutes

RATING: ***

THERE are love stories. And then there are romantic sagas helmed by directors like Yash Chopra and Imtiaz Ali. Imtiaz – in particular from the present league of storytellers – has tackled modern relationships most adroitly.

His brother, Arif Ali, now makes his big-screen debut with the contemporary love story Lekar Hum Deewana Dil (LHDD).

Arif, too, offers a realistic take on relationships, peppering the film with witty, charming and delightful moments. For most parts.

Although he tries hard to tell a decidedly different story to other films of its ilk, you can’t help but notice the influence of Imtiaz’s work in his first film.

Let’s not be grumpy – one tends to be motivated by the celebrated works of your peers – but there are times when you feel this film is disjointed – it lacks a cohesive screenplay, but more on that later. Nonetheless, LHDD has its heart in the right place.

Set in south Mumbai, Dino (Armaan Jain) and Karishma (Deeksha Seth) are young and restless and wish to live life on their own terms.

When Karishma’s family put pressure on her to get married, she and her rebellious best friend Dino realise that they are made for each other. Being the rulers of their destinies, they elope to forge a lifetime of love, fun and freedom. But they are to learn that life isn’t that simple.

And that sometimes who you love the most can become the biggest problem.

Dino and Karishma go through friendship, disillusionment, conflict and heartbreak until they realise true love. There’s a boy. There’s a girl. Romance blossoms. They face roadblocks. There’s heartbreak. They drift apart. Ultimately, all’s well that ends well.

Arif uses the time-tested template to narrate a story but, let’s not overlook the fact that a mere outline with the usual tropes can never make an exceptional film. Thankfully, the novice director cushions the proceedings with sparkling moments in the first hour, but the writing slips in the post-interval portions.

Much like his brother’s films, Arif keeps his characters identifiable and their conversation real. It’s like sitting in a café and overhearing the conversation of the lovers and presenting their sweet-nothings in the most compelling manner.

The episodes that lead up to the lovers drifting apart are, perhaps, the highlights of the film, as the screenwriters do pull out several aces at this point. LHDD loses lustre when it’s time to iron out the disagreements and end the squabble.

You know how the story is going to end, but the journey there has pointless twists that seem annoying and superfluous. For instance, the sequences with the marriage counsellor (Gautami Kapoor) appear ludicrous. Additionally, the love angle involving Armaan’s elder brother (Sudeep Sahir) seems like an after-thought.

Furthermore, the constant bickering between the love birds could have been persuasive. As a matter of fact, there are times when you feel the emotions are more insincere than heartfelt.

Mercifully, the film gets its act together towards the finale. The conclusion is unconventional, but it fits beautifully into the scheme of things, since the lovers do think from the heart, not the mind, and this aspect comes to the fore fittingly at this juncture.

The soundtrack by maestro AR Rahman takes time to grow, but is extremely likeable when you watch the songs on the screen (never mind the spate of songs in the first hour!). Khalifa is, without doubt, a chart-buster, while Alaahda (soulful), Mawwali Qawwali (foot-tapping) and Tu Shining are memorable.

The director of photography, Laxman Utekar, captures the beautiful locales with dexterity.

LHDD depends completely on its lead actors. Also, Arif combines the sparkle and adrenalin rush of impulsive liaisons with serious takes on relationships, giving ample scope to the first-timers to make an impact.

Armaan has the charm that should help him establish a substantial fan following, but more importantly, he is definitive and confident for someone who is facing the camera for the first time.

Deeksha, who has featured in a numberof South Indian films already, has a pleasant screen presence and handles her part confidently.

In fact, the actress underplays the dramatic portions delightfully.

Kumud Mishra (as Armaan’s father) is, as always, effective. Rahul Shetty (as Deeksha’s father) does a fair job. Anita Kulkarni (as Armaan’s mom) is first-rate. Rinku Karmakar (as Deeksha’s mom) is perfect.

Rohini Hattangadi is superb. Sudeep Sahir, Varun Badola and Gautami Kapoor are decent. Akhil Iyer (as Deeksha’s prospective spouse) contributes to some light moments. Prabuddha Dayama (as Armaan’s best friend) stands out.

Darius Shroff (as Armaan’s lawyer), Jaywant Wadkar (as Deeksha’s lawyer), Shravan Mehta (as Armaan’s friend) and Zuber K. Khan (as Deeksha’s suitor at the start of the film) are satisfactory.

On the whole, LHDD has several wonderful moments and genuine sparks that stay with you. The film should appeal to the youth. – bollywoodhungama.com


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