The director, who is known for his intense dramas like My Brother Nikkhil and Shab, has explored the lighter side of life with this slice-of-life romance that has some interesting angles but doesn’t quite make the cut for a strong love story.
Set in Kolkata, the film revolves around the lives of Archie (Geetanjali Thapa) and Alfaaz (Zain Khan Durrani). Archie is a fun-loving, independent girl who makes memes for a living. Suffering from leucoderma, she is self-conscious about her looks and hence goes out on blind dates snagged via Tinder. Archie is an avid listener to RJ Alfaaz, whose voice strikes a chord in her. Alfaaz, on the other hand, wants to maintain his anonymity even though his fans want to put a face to the voice they love so much.
Battling his own demons from the past, Alfaaz continues to guard his heart until he connects with a wrong number, which just happens to be his biggest fan, Archie, who doesn’t know his true identity and calls him Mr Ittefaq. The two share their deepest feelings and darkest secrets with each other via WhatsApp and phone calls. How the two help each other overcome their respective obstacles and whether they come together in the end is what the film is all about.
The film has flavours that remind you of the 1991 hit Saajan or last year’s release Bareilly Ki Barfi, where a girl falls in love with a poet/writer. The biggest difference is that Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz executes the love story in the social media generation. They try to connect with the youth by following their lifestyle, which depends on Tinder, Facebook and WhatsApp, among other apps. But the language of the film defeats the idea. While the need for shayaris is understood, the over-preachy words about life get a little too much towards the end.
Onir has tried his best to bring to the screen a youthful tale of romance that deals with the issues of low self-esteem, love triangles, work pressures and, of course, complex relationships. The story feels like it would have been a fantastic read on paper but it lacks the charm that a romantic film in this day and age should have.
Credit should be given to the beautifully captured essence of Kolkata by cinematographer Nusrat Jafri. There aren’t many songs in the film except the recreations of a few old ones like Ajeeb daastaan hai yeh and Pehla nasha, which seem to be forcibly inserted into the narrative but we can forgive this since they are nice songs.
Performance-wise, Geetanjali Thapa is good, for the most part, dipping here and there as she doesn’t completely suit the role. Debutant Zain Khan Durrani delivers a great performance for his first film, bringing to life the intense and brooding Alfaaz to the ‘T’. Shray Ray Tiwari as the bechara best friend is decent. Mona Ambegaonkar is okay. Chandrayee Ghosh is decent.