Youngistan rules! Bollywood has realized the potential of this segment of moviegoers -- the teen market -- which explains why movie-makers are attempting to wow Gen-X with films that appeal to their sensibilities. Actually, the social networking generation can make or break a film in a span of minutes. It is this aspect that keeps a storyteller on his/her toes. Unconventional, out-of the box themes, but contemporary by nature are being attempted. Luring the youth to cineplexes is the prime motive of the film fraternity today.
Coming of age films aren't new. But there's definitely a dearth of movies that look at school students. Mansoor Khan's JO JEETA WOH SIKANDER stands tall in this list. First-time director Roshan Abbas attempts to mirror the lives of four youngsters in ALWAYS KABHI KABHI, Class XII students all. Today's kids have a mind of their own and ALWAYS KABHI KABHI makes an attempt to make adults realize what goes on in a kid's mind. Bridging the generation gap, did you ask? Oh yes! Making adults -- parents, teachers, elders -- understand the kids better. The intentions are right, but the interpretation isn't.
ALWAYS KABHI KABHI is based on Roshan Abbas' 1999 play 'Graffiti'. Though Roshan may claim that he has developed and modified the play to suit the moviegoers' tastes, the fact is that the subject material is thoroughly unexciting and comes across as a hollow attempt to drive home a message. Actually, the screenplay tries to pack too much stuff, but the manner in which everything is spread out on the table makes you squirm in your seat. Seriously, one wonders after a point, what were the director and his team of writers trying to say? The writing is not merely humdrum and dreary, but also amateurish and ridiculous at the same time.
Moreover, the director knows not how and when to conclude the film. For, the movie goes on and on and on... it tests your patience, after a point. Too many songs are forced in the narrative, the relationship between parents and kids is handled most haphazardly [it paints the parents black!], the theatre portions are insipid and boring and the conclusion, which could've been a solid wake up call for parents of teenagers, fails to strike a chord. ALWAYS KABHI KABHI just doesn't work!
Four students of St. Marks School. Each one going through a difficult time in his/her life due to enormous expectations from their parents. Tariq [Satyajeet Dubey] is expected to be a topper... Sameer [Ali Fazal] has to arrange for money after he's cornered by two corrupt cops... Ash [Giselle Monteiro] has an over-ambitious mother who's keen that she join ad world/moviesâ€¦ Nandini [Zoa Morani] is someone who has a major attitude and it stems due to her relationship with her parents.
How they overcome all odds and make their folks realize the folly forms the crux of the story.
Like I pointed out at the outset, the intentions may be right, but the writers haven't been able to translate their thoughts well on paper and also on celluloid. I must add, despite the shortcomings, Roshan Abbas has executed a number of sequences well. Also, Roshan gets the casting right and each one of them makes an earnest effort to deliver natural, likeable performances.
The songs are are a mixed bag, with the sole exception of 'School Ke Din' at the outset. Cinematography is eye-catching.
Giselle Monteiro, who made her debut in LOVE AAJ KAL, gets ample screen time here and though she's awkward at places, she has handled a few moments well. Satyajeet Dubey, the geek, is a complete natural and makes the most ordinary sequence watchable with his effortless performance. Zoa Morani, playing a spitfire rebel, reminds you of Kareena's 'Poo' act from K3G. She makes a confident debut! But it is Ali Fazal who's the showstopper, who pitches in a super performance and stands out at the end of the day.
Lillette Dubey, Navneet Nishan, Manoj Joshi, Mukesh Tiwari and Satish Shah are passable. Vijay Raaz gets no scope.
On the whole, ALWAYS KABHI KABHI disappoints!