Mumbai, 12 Jan 2019 17:20 IST
The film's core idea and its treatment are clearly in the regressive zone and only the dialogues prove to be the saving grace.
The title of first-time director Manoj Sawant's Love You Zindagi and the tagline Shatada Prem Karave, which means Keep Loving, indicate that the film is either about love or the idea of spreading love. In reality the film has very little to do with the wonderful emotion.
The film is basically an opportunity for the veteran actor Sachin Pilgaonkar aka Mahaguru to play three different avatars.
We first see his character Aniruddha Date, a man well into his fifties who refuses to accept his age. He hates being called 'uncle' or 'sasare bua', Marathi for dear father-in-law. At one point, he even gets angry about how Salman Khan still plays a 'hero' in his fifties but he is reduced to an uncle. This might sound silly, but this is actually the best part of the film.
Date then graduates from Aniruddha to Ani, thanks to the beautiful Riya [Prarthana Behere]. Date’s daughter forces him to shake a leg with Riya, who is hosting an event at a shopping mall. His awkward dance steps make him eligible for a surprise gift.
The gift turns out to be nothing but a 50% discount coupon at Riya’s zumba classes. Instead of getting angry or upset at the con, Date agrees to enrol, even if reluctantly.
The film doesn’t falter here either. But it starts going downhill when Riya begins to get too friendly and cosy with 'Ani' as if he is her most prized customer. In reality he is someone who has paid only 50% of the actual fees!
Besides, showing a modern, independent-minded, beautiful young woman like Riya as someone easy to get close to will give lots of hope to the perverted uncles around, and mind you, this isn't an achievement to be proud of.
That’s not all. The 50-plus 'Ani' quickly becomes part of Riya’s gang of energetic youngsters. This is when Mahaguru dyes his hair, wears stylish branded clothes and goggles, and buys a new Enfield bike. (This part revives scary memories of Sachin's forgotten single ‘Aamchi Mumbai, Changli Mumbai’.) And, surprisingly, neither his wife (Kavita Lad Medhekar) nor anyone else from the family finds anything amiss in the ageing uncle's behaviour.
But the worst is yet to come. The third version of 'Ani' is the most problematic. He gets into the zone of the 1990s Hindi film hero (remember Govinda at his comedic prime?) who juggles two women in his life and utters one lie after another in order to protect himself.
The climax does bring an unexpected twist in the tale, but it is one that only proves to be a major loophole, as if there were not enough in the plot already.
Sadly, the problems with Love You Zindagi are not limited to Sachin's character arc. The film's core idea and its treatment are clearly in the regressive zone. The concept of the loyal wife who is willing to forgive and forget everything even after her husband cheats on her is simply two decades too late. Indeed, the way her character is treated limits the impact of an otherwise earnest performance by Lad Medhekar, who has got an extended role after a long time.
The subject does offer scope to the veteran Sachin to don different hats and he does fit in all three roles, but he also overdoes it on quite a few occasions. Indeed, the film simply just adds another question mark on his choice of films in recent times. Before Love You Zindagi, he was seen in the undercooked Sohalla (2019) and the super regressive dud Ranangan (2018).
Prarthana Behere is ideal for the role of the modern, independent young woman Riya. But the problems with her character overshadow her act.
Ganesh Pandit and Shripad Joshi’s dialogues prove to be the saving grace. With a steady stream of one-liners, especially in the scenes shot in Date's office, they ensure that you do not switch off completely from the proceedings. Otherwise, Love You Zindagi is not worthy of your attention, let alone love.
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