One of the hardest things to come to terms with is that what’s true in a moment may not be true forever. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and watching Baar Baar Dekho reminded me of just that: there are no guarantees in life, and no matter how convinced you are about something – even a relationship – life has a way of turning things on its head. The smallest of things, the slightest shift in priorities, is all it takes to set things on a different path. And before you know it, you’ve ended up somewhere you never expected to be.
That’s exactly what happens to Jai (Sidharth Malhotra) – after growing up with Dia (Katrina Kaif) and dating her practically his whole life, he reaches a point where he feels like his career needs to take precedence, and practically breaks off his wedding to her the day before it’s supposed to take place. Then, in ways never sufficiently explained, Jai ends up time travelling to various points of his life in the future, where he learns the repercussions of some of his actions and gets the chance to ‘fix’ what he’s been doing wrong.
If you’ve ever looked back on your life and wondered how things ended up the way they were, or if you’ve ever fervently wished you could know what your future looked like, then Baar Baar Dekho is likely to strike a chord with you. It helps that the film looks great, has a bunch of cute moments that are (sorry, but I have to say it) #goals, and has characters generic enough that you can read yourself into them if you want to. (Whether that last point is a good thing is certainly debatable, but it does help with relatability.) The soundtrack is lovely, with Kho Gaye Hum Kahan being the soul of the film. Sidharth and Katrina fit their characters very well – they look the part, they act the part, they’re easy on the eyes. There are also several other peripheral characters that are fun and brought to life well by their actors, mainly Rohan Joshi… so we should all take a pause at this moment while I fangirl him a little.
This is not to say that Baar Baar Dekho is an excellent film. It has several issues, the most pressing perhaps being how the concept of time travel has been dealt with, There’s no real explanation for how this is happening. And while the first half is engaging and sufficiently interesting, the second half feels stretched: by then, the “flashbacks” and “flashforwards” get dull and repetitive.
Having said that, I’m willing to excuse almost anything in a movie if it makes me feel things, and Baar Baar Dekho does a fairly good job of this. It emphasizes that true love lies not in grand gestures but in those little details, contrary to what Bollywood has been telling us for years. It reminds us that life is nothing but a series of ‘nows’ that we need to make the most of. And, above all, it shows us that even the best of relationships needs constant tending to and taking care of – because ‘happily ever after’ is, ultimately, always a work-in-progress.