Hindi Reviews

Baar Baar Dekho : Plastic Women, Wooden Men

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Baar Baar Dekho has the aesthetics of a gorgeously shot music video. Lovely men and women frolic – in the Delhi countryside, at a Punjabi wedding, at a resort in Thailand, and finally, in a house straight out of the cover of Country Living. All accompanied by easy-on-the-ears music.

This is a Dharma Productions film all right.

The plot is a little less charming. Baar Baar Dekho is a Mills & Boon–style story about childhood friends who smoothly transition into marital La La Land, infused with some Ground Hog Day elements. The ridiculously good-looking Katrina Kaif plays Diya, an ebullient Indian artist. Siddharth Malhotra as Jai Mehra is Kaif’s equal in beauty and talent. Diya ends up bullying Mehra into some big real life decisions.

Like marriage. A decision they will eventually regret.

Conveniently enough, Jai gets multiple chances to repair his relationship with Diya, because this is also a time-travel story.

*****

Siddharth Malhotra is the kind of guy who could be the poster child for carefree living. He exudes good vibes. Vibes that often pervades his characters to such an extent, that it makes him incapable of handling the complex emotions film roles usually require. Kapoor & Sons exploited this aspect of Malhotra well.

But Baar Baar Dekho‘s director, Nitya Mehra, has higher aspirations. Malhotra is cast as a mathematical genius. You know he’s going to falter. And falter he does – his slacker vibe are at odds with the smarts required of Jai Varma. Nitya Mehra keeps pushing him to the forefront, and Siddharth keeps looking uncomfortable.

Diya Kapoor says in the film, “In life, there are two kinds of people. Drivers and Passengers. You are a passenger, Jai.”

And just like his character, Siddharth Malhotra is a passenger in his own film.

The driver? Katrina Kaif’s abs.

*****

Ravi K Chandran’s visuals breathe life into this tepid film. He shoots the film as if it were a winter wonderland, infusing his frames with a touch of whimsy.

But even he can only do so much.

Mehra needed star power and some heavy-duty charisma to make this film work. Kaif and Malhotra, together and individually, do not have the acting chops or the magnetic pull needed to drag this film from the abyss.

And so, this reviewer was forced to watch the second-half of the film alongside a very bored audience.

*****

Expectations were high with the addition of Sarika to the cast. The gorgeous actress mothers Malhotra’s character in the film, and is to a large extent, unrecognisable. Except those green eyes of hers.

So is Kaif. With a curiously plastic face, the actress almost always wears an inscrutable expression, which makes it difficult to buy the neglected wife act when it comes.

Siddharth isn’t far behind by these standards. He is wooden, and relies heavily on his boyish charm to carry him through his scenes.

*****

Nitya Mehra’s tendency to over-explain doesn’t help.

Malhotra’s character wakes up at different stages of his life, rushes to the nearest mirror, and checks his appearance. Every single time.

This scene is comparable to the film as a whole: obsessed with its own appearance. Crores must have been spent just to make its leads look good.

*****

Had Mehra had ditched the spotlight-wary Siddharth in favour of his female counterpart, this would have been a better story. Had Mehra made Baar Baar Dekho about Kaif’s life, as the woman who has to bully her man-child husband into things, giving us a glimpse into the psyche of a complex woman who abandons her traditional life and family for this immature man, this would have been a better film.

Instead, we have a two-and-a-half-hour film about a fit young man who needs to travel across time to figure out his commitment issues.

And Baar Baar Dekho becomes as vacant, and empty-headed as its male lead.

*****

 The Baar Baar Dekho review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.

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