Bollywood Review: Armaan steps into Ranbir's shoes for 'Lekar Hum Deewana Dil'

Bollywood’s known for its romances, and director Imitiaz Ali’s brother Arif decides to debut as a director with a mushy tale, one that’s borrowed bits and parts from earlier hit love stories.

There’s references to ‘Saathiya’, ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’, ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’ and a host of others, with even his older brother’s ‘Socha Na Tha’, ‘Rockstar, ‘Highway’ and ‘Jab We Met’ turning an inspiration. Whether it’s the characters, their quirks or weaknesses, or even the situations, there’s some vintage Bollywood hidden in them all.

Originality, clearly, isn’t Arif’s forte.

Even his leading man Dinesh, Dino for short, bears an uncanny resemblance to Ranbir Kapoor’s Sid in ‘Wake up Sid’. That’s not all, even when he strums the guitar and sings happy Bollywood melodies tuned by music maestro A R Rahman, you can’t help but ignore the similarity with Imitiaz’s own rockstar.

There’s even glimpses of Deepika Padukone in debutant Deeksha Seth, who appears worthy of her place in the spotlight. She shows promise, as she tackles Karisma’s volatile temperament with tact. For a first-timer, that’s saying a lot.

Although Armaan boasts of an illustrious (acting) gene pool, Deeksha emerges far more confident. Armaan is self-assured, no doubt, but with a character like Dino, it’s tough for a newcomer to show his versatility or the lack of it. It’s merely a glossy audition tape for Bollywood romances, minus the baddies and the fights.

He, however, got himself a better start to his Bollywood career unlike his Kapoor cousins Ranbir ('Saawariya'), Karisma ('Prem Qaidi') or Kareena ('Refuge').

If there’s one real discovery it’s the meek but ambitious Akhil Iyer, who lends so much niceness to Karishma’s faithful bodyguard. Watching him go crazy in a holi party is genuinely fun.

Arif's 'Lekar Hum Deewana Dil' centres around college buddies Dino and Karishma. They drink together. They sing together. They break into flash mobs together. They basically do everything together. They are so close that their friends coax them into believing that what they share is “true love”. For 20-somethings, its peer pressure, if not anything else, that leads you to marriage.

The best-buds, who speak in strange lingos, then, slip into romantic mode, and run away from their homes with the hope of a “happily ever after”. Their (respective) pushy dads, who insist on either making plans for them or laughing at them, are livid at being out-smartened by their own children.

Their road-trip, however, through party city Goa and other unknown parts of India hit a roadblock with the situations get sticky and their temperaments clash. Unable to handle each other or a life unknown to the luxurious life their parents had given them, they crack.

Their romance gets wiped out, and their animosity takes centre-stage. They return and lead their parents straight to a rustic court for the annulment of their hasty marriage. They are constantly bickering that we can't help but wonder why they decide to get back.

At two hours and twenty minutes, Arif’s predictable love story is a drag, and definitely not the finest.

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