Debutante Nitya Mehra juxtaposes elements that are generally associated with science fiction, fantasy, and romance, and carves out a story that looks and feels very familiar to the audience at large.
Jai (Sidharth Malhotra) is a Mathematics professor who is in a ridiculously long and maintained relationship with Diya (Katrina Kaif), a modern art painter who is never shown using a paintbrush, even once. Jai wants to continue the relationship with his childhood sweetheart, but considers his career more important. Since he is also slightly unorthodox and possibly agnostic, he kicks up a storm with the pandit (priest) regarding the "saath phere" ("seven rounds around the holy fire which generally bonds marriages in Hindusim"). And we are told that this might be the cause why he dozes off after a life-changing tiff with Diya later that day and ends up waking up on his honeymoon, ten days later.
Baar Baar Dekho is essentially NOT a time travel flick. Rather, it is a partly science fictional and fantasy narrative involving a man who is partially cursed by a Hindu priest to teach him a lesson why the "saath phere" is important and why he should also focus on the small things in life. Jai flip-flops between his life, specifically touching the years 2023, 2034, and 2047, which makes him realize what he's been missing out and how his life would turn out to be if he continues to "not focus on the small things in life." Science fiction kicks in in terms of swanky, modular cars, sleek architectures, and good-looking technology. Having said that, it is also a romantic drama in part where Jai and Diya romance, and engage in matrimony, also unsuccessfully trying to embrace realism.
The film starts off very jubilantly, with a ballad-like, tuneful song serenading the audience to the lives of the protagonists as they grow up to be the bearers of the story. It is a delight to watch Malhotra and Kaif maneuver their characters effortlessly, supported by well-directed co-stars whose primary attribute is an all-smiles, if not exaggerated, faces. Ms. Mehra writes the romance well, but falters in the second part when Jai has to learn lessons and apply them in his life to make things right. While the story is definitely inspired by Frank Coraci's Click (2006) and Harold Ramis' Groundhog Day (1993), one wonders if it reaches any of the levels broken by those two classics. Conclusively, the story is neither novel nor awe-inspiring.
Malhotra is clueless throughout the film despite being a Mathematician who was last seen watching Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind (2001). His character is half-baked, while Kaif gets into a type of character that she is evidently very comfortable in. She is charming in the first half. Ram Kapoor and Sarika both are pleasing. Shout out to Rohan Joshi for debuting, and Sayani Gupta for laddering up.
The film, if at all, teaches one to consider the small things in life and take merry in them, rather than working toward the big things, which may be too elusive and unworthy. Family is important than one's job as our Jai finds out the hard way, even though he knows how much 546 multiplied by 48 is. I know, that's what Mathematicians in Cambridge do, right!? Multiplication!
All in all, Baar Baar Dekho will work for an Indian viewer because there is enough dance and romance to get him through the first half. Even if he understands the concept, the second half is slightly boring and formulaic, with no importance given to his patience level, who may be forced to think why he didn't go for Sohail Khan's Freaky Ali (2016) instead.
BOTTOM LINE: Nitya Mehra's Baar Baar Dekho is a film about a man's fantasy which is caused by his ignorance to make him understand what life is. But, you know, one man's fantasy is other man's... Wait for DVD, and then rent it.
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