With Break Ke Baad, I?m officially instituting the two and three- quarter star rating on our show. This is for films, which show promise and sparkle but eventually don?t deliver the goods.
Break Ke Baad, co-written and directed by debutant Danish Aslam, starts off well enough. Over a long title sequence, we are introduced to Abhay, played by Imran Khan and Aaliya, played by Deepika Padukone, both Hindi movie fanatics who share their first kiss during their third viewing of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
She?s gorgeous, headstrong and sometimes insensitive or as she puts it during a drunken interlude, she is a soaring kite and he is her strong manjha. Which means he is sincere, committed and pretty dull.
It?s not the most original scenario but Renuka Kunzru, who has done the dialogue and screenplay, makes it crackle.
Imran is saddled with a bland, supporting role but together, the two create some genuine charm. The feisty and stubborn Aaliya doesn?t match the inspired madness of Geet in Jab We Met but she has vitality. And Deepika, whose beautiful but inexpressive face usually seems disconnected from any emotion, actually makes her come alive. This is her best performance to date.
And then the film moves to Australia where Aaliya must go ostensibly to study but also for a break from Abhay. She moves into a beach shack accommodation, run by a gruff tattoo artist and an oversexed but harmless bar man.
These one-note, wannabe hipsters signal the downward curve. Abhay follows Aaliya and slowly but surely the charm and buoyancy deflates and the film becomes a whiney, synthetic tale of how he and Aaliya find, lose and find each other again.
Aaliya learns to be more sensitive, Abhay finds his vocation but the viewer finds little cheer. The second half of the film is a silly and tedious runabout somewhat leavened by the appearance of Lillette Dubey as Abhay?s salty, thrice-divorced aunt who refers to Aaliya as chudail.
At one point, she insightfully says: Tum log sab chahtey ho aur chahtey ho ki dard bhi na ho. Aaliya delivers a nice climactic speech but by that time, my eyes had glazed over and like Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, I just wanted to say: Frankly, my dear, I don?t give a damn.
Still, if you must watch a rom-com this weekend, Break ke Baad is a little better than recent outings like Anjaana Anjaani and I Hate Luv Storys. Check it out.