As Time Goes By, the famous song from one of cinema's greatest romances, Casablanca, tells us that, at least where love is concerned, the more things change, the more they remain the same: 'You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh, the fundamental things apply, as time goes by.'
In Teri Meri Kahaani, 102 years pass. The love story recurs three times in 1910, 1960 and 2012. The boy and girl, played each time by Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, meet and part. But whether it's pre-Partition Lahore or present-day UK, men, women and emotions remain the same.
Director and co-writer Kunal Kohli attempts here to create an epic romance, a meeting of the souls that transcends time. The concept is similar to Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 2005 film Three Times, but the sensibilities are poles apart.
Three Times is a deliberately slow and exquisitely aching ode to love. Teri Meri Kahaani is a banal romance that wants to cover all bases — so in the colonial Indian love story we get a lot of sher-shayari and in contemporary times, Facebook, Twitter and text messages play a key role.
But if we are to stay interested in watching the same two people fall in love for two hours, the writing and performances really have to sparkle. Sadly here, neither does. Shahid stays in 'Dreamboat' mode and pulls off the flamboyant shayari-spouting Javed well. But Priyanka relies solely on externals costumes, hairstyle and a set of increasingly artificial mannerisms.
There is one flat-out gorgeous song Mukhtasar — but the rest of the soundtrack is too limp to enliven the increasingly convoluted narrative (in the 1910 story, the freedom movement features and Javed even gets a raucous, romantic song-and-dance number in the Sargodha jail).
What I enjoyed most was the recreation of Mumbai in 1960 empty streets, an Art Deco movie theatre, women in breathlessly tight blouses and bouffant hairdos.
But the film's main ingredient love is too synthetic to soar.
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