Bollywood Film Review “Baar Baar Dekho”

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First, the Recap:

The ripples of choices made echo across time, like the proverbial stone thrown into a glassy pond, expanding infinitely outward. Unseen in themselves, yet whose ramifications can be blatantly evident and witnessed, how does one escape the consequence of one rash decision? Since childhood, Jai (Sidharth Malhotra) and Diya (Katrina Kaif) have been in each other’s lives, slowly but surely seeing a close friendship blossom into something much deeper–love. However, with Jai, his world is intensely focused on mathematics and teaching, an intellectually-driven existence that propels his every lecture–and every resolve beyond that. The free-spirited Diya, whose dominant but joyful personality has effectively ruled the couple’s path, finally decides it’s time they settled down, proposing marriage.

Despite the longevity of their relationship, Jai’s acute mind and reasoning about how he sees their future, or perhaps the actual lack of one, launches him into a whirlwind of second-guessing things even as the chaos of wedding planning surrounds him. Overwhelmed and in the face of what was to be a final surprise gift for the couple, Jai’s pent up annoyance and frustration explodes, pushing  Diya and their future away. But, in the follow-up state of being he enters, something extraordinary occurs–Jai begins to experience glimpses of his life with Diya, from a honeymoon vision, his career excelling to the extent he always believed he wanted, to having a family. But, with this “success” comes heartbreaking cost. Once seeing the real consequences of his overtly analytical viewpoint on life, Jai realizes changes must be made to find true happiness and win back Diya.

Next, my Mind:

Making her major Bollywood cinema debut, director/co-writer Nitya Mehra’s epic, fantastical love story makes quite a splash, delivering not just straightforward romantic elements, but also an acute level of dramatic impact and pathos-fueled punch sure to touch the hearts of viewers as they’re drawn into the film’s time-spanning narrative. Very much reminding this reviewer, thematically mind you, of the 2000 film “The Family Man”, this effort puts a very unique, captivating, and effective twist on the lead character’s experiencing of “what could be or will be”, as there is no sci-fi/time travel involved here. As mentioned prior, these are lessons in not just making hasty and exasperated choices, but also about being able to look beyond a systematic, rigidly ordered mindset and grasp the realities of what’s most important in life–those we love.

Coming off of this year’s fantastically done character-driven effort “Kapoor & Sons”, Malhotra has this opportunity to flex his dramatic acting chops on a different level here, and does so with ease, style, and poise.  While it may not necessarily match the sum total of his performance in “Sons”, make no mistake that Malhotra infuses Jai with an intense, passionate, but initially limited, viewpoint on what he wants in life, which makes the “realities” he encounters in random time jumps all the more impactful to him and his subsequent resolve to change. Likewise, Kaif, last seen in this year’s “Fitoor”, brings her beauty, winning smile, equally passionate, emotive qualities to her role as Diya, presenting her as the opposite of Jai in that she knows exactly what she wants, how she wants it, and how she sees it unfolding for them, even while ultimately keeping a realistic, grounded sense of what truly matters in it all. The pair together are effective and engaging.

With the trademark (and always fun!) inclusion of affecting music throughout, dance sequences during the film’s first act, and its primary focus on Jai’s plight and chances to correct a wayward path he’s set himself on, “Baar Baar Dekho” is another awesome example of Bollywood romantic drama that allows viewers to both relax and simply enjoy while also giving the mind a little stimulus as well. The charisma of the two leads and supporting players all comes together wonderfully, making the overall view a complete, emotion-filled pleasure.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


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