Ambling plotlessness is the name of the game in a certain segment of Hindi cinema nowadays. It's a formula, really. Bring together two of the most happening 20-somethings in Bollywood, put in a F.R.I.E.N.D.S-inspired situation common among urban 20-somethings, drag it out for 2 hours with the help of everyday conversations, rope in Vishal-Shekhar for the moments when you don't have dialogues, and viola, you have a "cool" film.
And make sure the leading lady shows a lot of leg. That counts for a lot of substance, you know.
Break Ke Baad is one of those movies that don't aspire to last beyond a few weekends, and are content with being multiplex offerings. Break Ke Baad is the story of a difficult girlfriend and a loyal, smitten boyfriend, both of whom have been together for a decade. It's made up of casual talk, relationship issues, identity issues and more issues.
Abhay Gulati (Imran Khan) and his childhood sweetheart Aaliyah (Deepika Padukone) must take a "break" for a while, because the woman is super-rebellious (i.e., she smokes, doesn't like mehendi, and doesn't understand what the fuss over marriage rituals is) and ambitious, and wants to fly to Australia to pursue a career in the creative arts.
They hang on to a rough long-distance relationship for a brief period, with the patient Gulati acting as the sounding board for Aaliyah's settling-down issues. One day, she declares that she's suffocated, when he flies down to check on her - it is then that she calls it quits.
The movie progresses with Gulati staying on in Australia, getting an opportunity to solve his own identity crises, and with their relationship attaining new and complicated dimensions.
To its credit, like it is the case with all movies of this genre, different parts of the story might ring true for different people in the audience. Only, there is so much focus on conversation - and on striving to be cool - than on a real solid, moving, memorable plot.
Basically, it is like watching a relationship from up close, and whether you enjoy that kind of thing on screen or not is largely a matter of personal choice - some do enjoy such stories unconditionally, some are indifferent and treat these movies as weekend-fillers, and some wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole.
If anything, these are flicks that have lent quality airtime to talented youngsters who aren't Shah Rukh Khans or Aamir Khans yet. And it isn't just the lead pairs - people like Yudishtir and Shahana Goswami (who play the couple's roommates in Australia) probably couldn't have gotten better deals than this.
Imran Khan is the most watchable among everyone, given that he does play the most pleasant character in the film. Padukone is pretty good, but she's too much of leg to be taken more seriously than she is. Sharmila Tagore is a treat to watch, and Lilette Dubey gets to dole out some witty life lessons.
Visually, there's no compromise on style, like we said. And as for the music, Vishal-Shekar seem to be churning out routine tunes from their stock.
In all, it's a movie for those who don't think too much before heading to a multiplex every weekend; and for fans of Imran Khan and Deepika Padukone.