Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya
It was more than a decade ago in the year 2013 when I did watch one of my personal favourite romantic film ‘Her’ starring Joaquin Phoenix. The film dealt with an impossible love story between a lonely and depressed man who falls in love with his Artificial Intelligence. There was such nuance in the storytelling that it instantly made me invest in the characters(one of them being just a voiceover) while it did give me an insight on what AI could actually do. Today in the year 2024, we are on the verge of AI taking over the world which is already seeing multiple job cuts owing to the start of a new era. And much contrary to what anyone has to say, AI is here to stay and rule while we will have to work ourselves around it. With that, I finished watching the new Hindi film Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya starring Shahid Kapoor and Kriti Sanon which features ‘An Impossible Love Story’ as mentioned in their promotional campaign.
While I really enjoyed the teasing marketing campaign, I was quite looking forward to what the film had to offer. But all of it did take a beating when I happened to watch its trailer which strangely seemed to be in a big commercial setting with a ‘robot’ being used around it. The idea of AI being introduced in a commercial setting as per me is that it shouldn’t have a tone of a Rom-Com simply because you would be limiting the possibilities that the script could go to while just focusing on the family setup(as understood from the trailer). And this was my sole apprehension as I ventured into Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya(such a weird title when they could simply have named it Sifra), does it manage to impress, let’s find out.
Story & Screenplay
Touted as an ‘Impossible’ love story, Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya follows the story of an IT Engineer who falls in love with a girl while being on a trip to US, only to realise that the ‘girl’ is actually a programmed device called ‘Sifra’. I had a basic fundamental issue with the film straight up. You did showcase the progress that AI was making at the beginning of the film. But your central character ‘Sifra’ was reduced to a character similar to Viki from Small Wonder or Karishma from Karishma Ka Karishma. Why? With the concept of AI at the helm of affairs, the story could have taken any form or shape that would have added the much needed shock value in the narrative as well. But when the story itself is a Rom-Com, the seriousness of the subject coupled with the limit that AI could be pushed would be limited to just the basics. And that is what the film suffers from here as it tries to inculcate a commercial entertainer with AI used only as a catalyst in a screenplay standing at 140 minutes.
The drama begins with the introduction of the protagonist who refuses to get married much to the dismay of his family. Outside his family, the protagonist is a software engineer who strangely is shown to monitor AI tests based on the code written by his colleagues. Chalo passable! The drama shifts focus to his US trip wherein he is acquainted with a girl whom he falls in love with while also getting intimate with her. This is before he finds out that she is actually a robot. The fact that a human could get intimate with a robot while not being aware of it even when that human is an IT/Robotics Engineer is unfathomable or completely illogical. I would have passed this plot point if it was a fleeting one but to mount an entire film on this plot point to pave way for future complications was simply a case of lazy writing. I would still say that some jokes do land in the first hour even as the love story consistently remains emotionless.
The proceedings are predictable while atleast being watchable in the first hour that is still flawed in my opinion. I wasn’t fully convinced on why the protagonist was completely fallen for a machine simply because the writing did not convey me that. He wasn’t depressed like the case in Her nor was he suffering from rejection from every girl that he met. The sole reasoning itself came in the way of a watchable Rom-Com in the first hour that enters an insufferable territory post the halfway mark.
Things go for a complete toss in the second hour with the whole family dimension coming into play. To give you a perspective, even if I were to take the AI angle of the film out of the second hour then the whole drama would be reduced to a very ordinary Rom-Com. My point being that the AI and its subsequent confusion did nothing to elevate the second hour which was just reduced to a series of events until the resurrecting final act which atleast did show spark although poorly staged. And to think at the possibilities that the writing could have achieved with the concept of AI simply left me infuriated. The screenplay was a masterclass on how not to mount commercial films with concepts just for the sake of it. I must add that Maddock as a production house is picking interesting subjects but the flaw in their films lies in execution that they must address(irrespective of the fate of this film).
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are intended to emote laughter but I happened to watch the film with a very straight face that barely even broke a smile. It needed sharper writing with the lines that just wasn’t there. The music is peppy and atleast goes well with the mood of the film. The BGM is good as well and atleast tries to make a few scenes work. The cinematography coupled with the lighting and production design is good. The editing is adequate although some lags in throughout the film needed to be ironed out. Directors Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah unfortunately miss the mark with the execution. The world building and entire reasoning on which the conflict was build was itself shaky and the directors did no favour in staging a few scenes that were well written on paper(like the final act). I don’t wish to be harsh given that it is their debut but this can be a good learning lesson on what went wrong versus what could have been better as far as the directors are concerned. I am sure they will learn and flourish the next time!
The performances are a mixed bag which is such a shame given the talent on show. Even the best of actors like Grusha Kapoor, Rakesh Bedi, Rajesh Kumar and Brij Bhushan Shukla are lost in the crowd and terribly underutilized. Even the legendary actor like Dharmendra(who opted for his full name in the opening credits for the first time in his career) doesn’t quite leave a mark. The only one that impresses is Anubha Fatehpuria who is incredibly good as Sharmilee and stands out amongst the crowd. Dimple Kapadia as Urmila is good as well. Ashish Verma is good as well and atleast ensures that some of his jokes land.
Shahid Kapoor has always been a promising actor and here too as Aryan, he is pleasantly charming and does a good job. But the writing doesn’t allow him to break free from the one-dimensional note of his character. Kriti Sanon as Sifra looks so pretty and does an incredible job. But she really needs to pick the correct script that would match her talent, something that has been off for quite a while now. I really hope she chooses the right script going forward as I really wish to see her shine in a good film too.
Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya is a dim-witted emotionless AI snoozefest that completely misses the possibilities that could have been explored here with respect to the human emotions. The film doesn’t emit an iota of emotions while packaging it in a commercial entertainer that fails at exactly that, to entertain. Available in a theatre near you.