Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood ... I love them all!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Break Ke Baad (2010)

Director: Danish Aslam
Cast: Imran Khan, Deepika Padukone, Sharmila Tagore, Lilette Dubey
Genre: Comedy / Drama / Romance
Lenght: 1h:52m.42s

Just let me get this out straight away – I didn’t hate Break Ke Baad. Quite the opposite, I found it entertaining, funny and charming. Not really lavish, but still Bollywood-y and over the top in some aspects. Highly enjoyable. Don’t expect any bashing from my side. I don’t review movies I don’t like. :)

So, this movie was a flop. Remember how a month ago I wrote about Jhootha Hi Sahi, one of my most favourite bolly movies ever? (another flop!) I mentioned I would stand up for the movies of 2010 which I loved, yet failed to impress the other viewers. I guess the audience got so used to actors over 30 playing ‘young boys in pursuit of their first love, which is of course the only one there really is’, that it can’t appreciate a normal couple going through a relationship crisis. And just imagine the boy being the quiet, mousy type and the girl the aggressive, selfish careerist. The horror!

The movie begins with a 'love flashback' :)
Abhay and Aaliya have know each other since they were kids. You know, for once this works, because they ARE the same age (as opposed to, lets say, Munna Bhai and Chitti – still can’t get over that one). And ever since they realized that they are a boy and a girl, they’ve liked each other. While watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, love came into the picture and they have been going strong ever since then – her dreaming of a career as an actress, and him doing basically everything to help her and make her happy.

Not really on the same wavelength anymore...
But now, they are both grown up. Aaliya wants more. She doesn’t want to go around hiding from her mother, a former Bollywood actress, who doesn’t want her daughter entering the big, bad industry. Abhay is stuck in his father’s firm, but doesn’t have anything better to do, so he just continues his existence, not having any big plans for the future. Well, except of marrying Aaliya. But she’s made a decision for herself – she got admitted to a course in Australia and expects everyone to be happy for her. Because, well, it’s what she wants. Needless to say, nobody is happy with this. She argues with her mother, loses her temper when Abhay berates her for being so selfish, and decides that there’s no other way to solve her problem than to sulk in her room, 'hidden' underneath her table. It is Abhay who convinces aunty to let Aaliya go. But she must first promise her mother to stay away from acting. She does agree on every term given to her, packs her bags, assures Abhay that this is not the end, after all they can keep a long distance relationship.

But she’s not a girl to do what she promises if it doesn't suit her. She does get into acting, she does find the long distance relationship tiring, and she does everything she wants. Like always. So when she wants to take a break, Abhay decides to fight for their relationship. Even if he seems to be the only one still interested.

Really liked Deeps here - one of my favourite scenes
Did I make it sound like I hated Aaliya’s character? Because I really didn’t. In fact, this is my favourite of Deepika’s roles so far. Sure, she hasn’t done that many till now. But she acted! You know, as opposed to just looking pretty and saying her lines. Her character did get annoying, but not the “Oh, I hope she ends up alone, miserable and unhappy for the rest of her life”. No, it was more the “Oh, she should get what she deserves, learn to take responsibility for her decisions, and end up a more mature person”. Which is what she did. It was actually refreshing to see such a flawed character. She wasn’t bad, she just "needed to sort out her priorities". :)

And I could totally understand her mother’s refusal to allow her a Bollywood career. She must have known what she was talking about. I got the feeling that she must have gone through a lot (besides the divorce) to be so adamant. But she was still understanding of her daughter, easing up on her resolve when she realized that her little girl has learned a lesson or two, and is now mature enough to make her own decisions.

He won't let her fall.
Abhay. A good boy. That’s what he really was. Not a womanizer, not a cocky know-it-all, not a perfect, manly man. Just a boy who needed to grow a backbone and realize what he wants out of his life. He was needy, he built his whole life around Aaliya, and even though he knew he was the one always giving, fighting for the relationship, he still stood by his girl. Because he loved her. I could totally relate to their dynamics. I’ve seen relationships like that, and I’ve seen it work. You know the saying, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’? It didn’t really work like that here. The absence wasn’t created by Aaliya being in Australia and Abhay in India. It was the abyss created by the break-up, the fear of losing somebody we have know all our lives, we’ve taken them for granted.. Yet suddenly, when you're thinking of your future, the person you’ve always had in that mental picture isn’t there anymore.

The story just moved at a nice pace, giving more and more insight into the charactes. There weren't dreamy song sequences, opulent sets, glitz and glamour, or larger than life love stories :) Not to say the movie looked shabby. But there wasn’t anything that would take my attention away from the people on the screen. I loved the music even before I saw the movie, that’s always a plus. It stands good on its own, and was integrated perfectly into the narrative. The lyrics were wonderful. Really loved how they too were a part of telling the story. And I know that the movie wasn't actually filmed in Australia, but I don't really care - the locations were really pretty. Aaliya had a gread wardrobe and Abhay shaped up quite nicely in the second half. Everything looked good, but not so good it would disctract from what was actually going on.

I love Lilette Dubey. She's so much fun!
Whew, now on to some lighter stuff :P Besides the luck only possible in Bollywood, this movie was pretty spot on. Who cares if they took some liberties with their story? So what if Aaliya gets acting offers, Abhay finds his calling, everything works out for everyone? Is that so important? Surely not. Otherwise, Band Baaja Baarat wouldn’t get such rave reviews (imo, one of the most overhyped movies – it was bad, bad, bad). Those things that happened helped the plot to progress, the situations the characters found themselves in helped them grow as persons. And the friends they found along they way made the journey even more enjoyable.

Yep, he's filming it... and putting it later on Youtube :D
I think it worked so well for me because I could relate to both Aaliya and Abhay. I understood his neediness, and her wanting some space. The conflict resulting from their personalities was understandable and handled in a very gentle manner. Some good dialogues and scripting in work there. The little moments they shared, those everyday occurrences… how many times do you find that in a bw movie? How often do you see the heroine drooling on the hero in her sleep? There were these little touches that really made me fall in love with Break Ke Baad.

I know, some found it boring. I didn't. Was it perfect? No, not at all. Pefectly entertaining? Yep, you bet. And that's what really counts. Bas. :)


  1. Yes yes and YES! Nice review, I was hoping you would like it :) I think many people bitch about the fact that BW is too glitzy and too unrealistic, but then when they get offered a slice of life movie with credible characters they realize that's not what they really wanted.

    I for one really appreciated that. And time really flew by, so props for the tight pace too. It's too bad it doesn't have more fans, but I'm happy to see you're one of them :D

  2. Of course I liked it! Haven't you seen me spamming the thread on the b-w forum? :D But I still felt it needed more love than it got. I liked it the first time I saw it and I've come to really appreciate it as a good rom-com. There aren't that many out there :(

  3. I have been so disconnected from the forum that I don't even know what's going on there anymore. But you did comment on it on my blog, just felt like I should express my joy and support here too :) Squee!!

  4. How perfect! You pointed out something I really missed - the switching of roles between the hero and heroine! I still had so many problems with Aaliyah, but it WAS nice to see the dynamics changed some. Great review :)

  5. The best thing about the film are the quaint little throwbacks to my childhood (and maybe yours too!), like the Kit Kat, the Mr India DVD, the Monster Munch sandwich, I could go on... The film was shot suberbly, although I must disagree and say I didn't like the movie as a whole. But fantastic songs nonetheless, and another good if not lauded role by Sharmila Tagore.

    Who knew it could be easy (for Gulati) to just up and move to Australia like that! If life imitated art then I too have gone out with "Mr Kunzru's daughter. Mr Agarwal's niece from New York. Mrs Srivastav's 'almost legal' niece. Preeti's gynecologist's neighbour's step-daughter... who is also a gynecologist. And both daughters of Mr. Wanchoo... (do you remember this from the film?)

    Dolce & Namak, Kassy, Remini, check out my review of the film for a different, humorous take on it, things which haven't been mentioned in reviews elsewhere... PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS! (people view but don't leave comments...)