Here’s an example— a scene in the museum shows us a dinosaur in the background. With more and more animal species on the endangered list now, this scene set in 2050 had loads of scope for the imagination to do some working.
The deep insights the film offers is that 42 years from now, people will have names like Zayesha (the name begs you to suffix an exotic title like warrior princess or some such) and folks in 2050 will have seriously questionable dress sense with accessories that actually belong in a hardware store (I can’t get over new boy Harman Baweja dancing with a hundred chains hanging from his clothes).
Present time: Sydney rich boy Karan (Baweja) laments his dad’s lack of affection to his demised mother. He does so by talking to the sky. He also protests by taking his dad’s favourite car out for a fast spin, half-destroying it. Karan then spots a girl (Priyanka Chopra, playing Sanaa) bonding with a butterfly. He follows her around, even pops up on a roller coaster, till she agrees to go out with him.
The next day, he follows her home… you get the drift. No, she doesn’t report this creepy character to the police—they fall in love instead, in true Hindi film style with his three hammy friends (who disappear soon after, never to be seen again) egging him on. She’s quite the boring sort—into plays and poetry, who writes a diary and gives soft toys names like WinkyTinks. The lovebirds separate and then reunite with the help of the, gulp, butterfly.
Meanwhile, his scientist uncle Dr Yatinder Khanna (Boman Irani, excessive) mentions a time machine he’s been working on for 15 years. Long story short, the machine transports them into 2050 where Priyanka is Zayesha, a pop singer who’s an antithesis of Sanaa (strong, opinionated, but only till she meets Karan). Once in love, she stops writing songs, turns her bedroom pink and talks non-stop to her robot bear Boo.
At the same time, Karan and mad uncle scientist have found a lady robot called QT (cutie, get it?) who keeps feeding them “chow chow” and insists on calling him `sexy’. Director Harry Baweja has also pushed in a bit about an evil Dr Hoshi (Gulshan Grover, growling and calling himself shaitani dimaag) who’s after Dr Khanna for the time machine. Little wonder the film runs over three hours.
The visual effects are fun, but not eye-poppingly superlative. Dr Khanna’s lab is full of thingamajigs that look like products from school science projects; but at the same time, the time machine looks impressive. That Mumbai in 2050 is an over-developed visual extravaganza is shown through unimpressive detailing like tall steely buildings, ads (nonchalant product placements) including one inviting trips to the moon, a life-like video game, cars floating in the sky, robot assistants and a super-luxurious life. So implausible is this portrayal, it’s a cruel joke. With the way things are we’d be grateful just to have pothole free roads, a decent transportation system, and a flood-free monsoon by the time it’s 2050.
As for the love story—high on mush and cornier than bhutta, it just doesn’t cut ice. The dialogues consist of inanities like “I don’t need luck, I have love” mouthed by Karan in precarious situations. None of the characters are well rounded; in fact, they’re just plain annoying. So you’re hardly motivated to give their love story, 2008 or 2050, a standing ovation.
Harman is confident but his dialogue delivery is below par at places. Priyanka Chopra fabulous with perfect make-up (Mickey Contractor, wow) and competent styling by Anaita Shroff-Adjania and Pooja-Theia (except some bloopers). Priyanka is a fairly good performer who knows the acting style expected of a mainstream heroine. So she turns coy with her head bent in the romantic scenes, over-the-top in the comic ones, and sensuous in the songs. But despite the rigid framework of her performance, she’s imminently watchable. Technically, the cinematography (Kiran Deohans, Vijay Arora) and art direction (Vanita Kumar, Saawariya) is superb.
Love Story 2050 reminds one of too many films (Koi… Mil Gaya, Artificial Intelligence, Mr India, Back to the Future, even Saawariya and Star Wars). The point is, the film doesn’t have a single aspect born out of an original thought. Even the scientist is a cliché with an eccentric overtone and a bad, grey wig.
If the film is to be believed, apart from outward changes, there will be zero evolving and progress otherwise. There’s a scene that symbolises this thought—that of a robotic snake dancing to the tunes of a snake charmer. As is apparent, there is tremendous effort put into the visual effects, but none into imagination and originality. So what you have is a love story set in the future that’s as done as yesterday’s news.
Rating: One and a half stars