It isn’t every day that you get to relive a day. It isn’t every day that you feel like revisiting a film, gleefully bashed by every critic worth his salt, just to figure out what went so wrong that these Fellini worshipers wrote it off.
Directed by debutant Nitya Mehra, Baar Baar Dekho, produced by Dharma Productions and Excel Films, Baar Baar Dekho is a film on the importance of ‘choti choti baatein’, and not just the bigger picture.
To begin with, it’s the ‘choti choti baatein’ i.e. the meticulous attention to details in cinematography that makes Baar Baar Dekho an interesting film. The film has been beautifully captured by Ravi K. Chandran, so much so that you’ll be tempted to revisit Terrence Malick’s visual poetry, ‘Tree of life’ starring Brad Pitt. Cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran and Editor Amitabh Shukla, take a bow.
While we are at it, one wonders how we’d have reacted if this film had been made in Hollywood starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. We’d have probably hailed it as one of the finest films of 2016. But here, since we have Katrina Kaif and Siddharth Malhotra as the lead pair, who aren’t known for their acting skills, it’s their good looks that gets noticed and talked about.
Well, Baar Baar Dekho has a rare thing which is amiss in films these days: Story. Yup, the film has an interesting story. Kudos to writer Sri Rao and other writers Anuvab Pal (Also terrific stand-up comedian and playwright), Anvita Dutt (For dialogues, which tread the route of minimalism with effortless ease), and Nitya Mehra.
One more clarification: Baar Baar Dekho is not a rom-com, but a premise based on a what-if situation i.e. hypothesis or postulation in mathematical parlance. Remember that scene in 3 Idiots, where Rancho asks Maddy to follow his dream, else one day, when he looks back at life, he’d repent that if he had mustered up courage, life would have been different.
Now picture this scenario in its literal sense. What if you had a chance to fix your life and value things that you otherwise take for granted? Well, that’s Baar Baar Dekho for you.
The song, ‘Kho gaye hum kahaan’, which is the opening sequence (and an endearing sequence towards the end) deserves a special mention here. The song has been beautifully shot and is quite a breather from those jump cuts that we have gotten used to while watching a love song video. The song chronicles the growing up years of the lead characters, Jai and Diya and is easily something that stays with you after watching the film.
Siddharth Malhotra essays the role of Jai Varma to perfection, barring some hiccups in few scenes when he turns old. The body language is quite inconsistent in these scenes, especially the one where he confronts a much-older Katrina Kaif’s Diya at a funeral. She looks lovely and approaches her role of Diya just like she does every other role, right from Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani to Bang Bang, which thankfully, doesn’t actually harm the film much.
Jai Varma’s obsession for Vedic Mathematics is well-established, but Diya’s artistic pursuit is royally ignored. She is shown only at art exhibitions and her yearning for a personal studio (Which is apparently an important aspect of the story) is never depicted. A few scenes of an artist’s madness and struggle to create something spectacular wouldn’t have hurt and wouldn’t have marred the beauty of the shots.
Ram Kapoor, like always, is spot-on as the bride’s father and Lord Hanuman Bhakt. Sarika makes her presence felt and one wishes to see more of her. Rajit Kapoor as the all-knowing Pandit is first-rate, more so, in the song, Kaala Chashma.
To sum it up, Baar Baar Dekho is a ‘beautiful looking’ film with a ‘beautiful message’ about striking balance in one’s work and personal life. Like the senior professor in the film would like to put it: Balance ke bina koi bhi equation adhoora hota hai. Baar Baar Dekho is a postulate (Assumption a mathematician makes in order to derive a conclusion) that makes this hypothesis engaging, Baar Baar!