International Business Times India rating: 3 stars
A few summers ago, a friend of mine recommended "About Time" to me and said it's a well-made film about love, relationships and time travel. I was hesitant at first, but gave it a shot anyway.
I remember shedding a tear or two for the moment when Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) realises that it's wise and sane to just live each day at a time instead of being at a constant war with self, trying to control the future and fix what went wrong in the past.
Why am I sharing this anecdote? It's because, in bits and parts, "Baar Baar Dekho" reminded me of this gently entertaining British film, which had a refreshingly new and thoughtful premise.
In "Baar Baar Dekho," aspiring mathematician Jay Verma is a commitment phobic and wants to run as far away as he can from relationships. While he wants to break free and have nothing to do with long-time girlfriend Diya Kapoor (Katrina Kaif), the latter cannot picture a future without them together.
The couple fights and calls it quits, after which Jay passes out from the alcohol he guzzles down. The morning after, he is 10 days into the future and has no recollection of the passage of time. With each night's sleep, Jay is pushed further into the future, which is not one bit pretty. He is divorced and distanced from the ones he called family.
"Baar Baar Dekho" could have touched quite a few hearts had it not side-stepped logic in the name of love. Nitya Mehra's principle characters wither with time, both literally and figuratively, and so does our patience to handle an exceedingly saccharine love story.
Is Jay supernaturally gifted, which is why he can travel in time or was he dreaming when he turned 60 and had lost most of his loved ones? Or, was it the wrath of the pandit Ji, who was scoffed at by Jay for following primitive traditions – pheras and such – at his and Diya's wedding? Could it be God's way of letting Jay know that he must learn to live and appreciate the little moments that often get clouded by other headlining events? Loose ends are what fail "Baar Baar Dekho."
I left the theatre thinking if this stretched romantic-drama was necessary at all and if it made sense for director Nitya Mehra to debut with a film that has an immensely complicated premise that relies on a nonlinear narrative? A part of me says yes.
Nitya's intentions with "Baar Baar Dekho" are pure and honest. She wants you to see and understand that future isn't for anyone to predict as it brings unexpected changes with it, some good, others worse. What should really keep individuals going is their present and live it the way it is meant to be – worry free and happy.
Jay is fictional, which is why he gets ample chances to fix what he did wrong. But in life, one doesn't have the luxury to do so, and that's where the oft-used phrase – live in the moment – steps in.
But why take 140 minutes to deliver such a simple message? Taut editing could have kept some of us from feeling that Nitya may just have mistaken hokum for rationale.
With "Baar Baar Dekho," Sidharth posts, what can be called his career's best performance; his portrayal of the warm, caring and at times self-centred Jay, is almost on-point. However, he still has difficulty expressing stronger emotions. Katrina is better than her last ("Fitoor") but still needs some polishing. The young actress is great in scenes where she is required to play the girl-next-door, but the struggle begins when she needs to emote for the camera.