It would appear that Anurag Kashyap is returning to “Dev D” terrain in some ways by focusing on a boy and girl in London, UK, as well as a boy and girl in, Dalhousie, India, who are both dealing with societal constraints, parental opposition, and associated patriarchy. But even if it required me two viewings to discover the rhythms that permeate this coming-of-age movie, which directly addresses the emergence of racism, it is still a unique creation. The political and incisive nature of “Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat” is typical Kashyap, but the language used gives it a new edge.
These international stories are covered in parallel tracks in the movie. Bright-eyed Amrita, a schoolgirl, and neighbourhood kid Yakub connect over DJ Mohabbat’s (Vicky Kaushal) music, and when they leave along for his concert, chaos breaks out in the sleepy hill town. Ayesha, a spoiled, affluent Londoner, has developed feelings for Harmeet, a rising artist, and is displeased that he is polite but uninterested.
The way they switch between them may have come off as a fabrication, but it works because of both their situations’ similarities and distinctions. Amrita’s middle-class family, which consists of her grandmother, mother, father, and brothers, is a microcosm of all of North India. It is sinful for a young lady to engage in casual conversation with a male who is not from her family, let less discuss openly about caste or religion. However, in 2023. Similar to same-sex love. Family ties are severely impacted by homophobia, and this is true regardless of religion.
Not that having a certain class matters. Ayesha is as much of a prisoner of her controlling father as is Amrita, who lives on the opposite side of the world, despite being quite affluent (a chauffeur and car are usually nearby, and it is obvious that she has no shortage of plastic money). The way the young women have been portrayed as being innocent, bewildered, intensely self-absorbed, and hence, dangerous, adds appeal to the movie. They don’t care about the costs, which are poured upon the young men and have terrible effects, because they want their way.
A predatory figure leaves a trailing impression in Harmeet’s life. A take-off on a real-life stand-up comedian who performs while wearing a burqa consumes a significant amount of screen time and flattens the plot in certain places. The music by Amit Trivedi isn’t as upbeat or effective than it was in Dev D, and the charming Kaushal’s part feels like an expansion of his DJ Role in “Manmarziyaan.”
The movie is saved and turned back on its axis by Kashyap’s unique ability to reveal the sinister side of pretended romance—the “nearly pyaar” of the title. The two sets of children are played by veteran actor Alaya F and newbie Karan Mehta, who both successfully convey the differences in body language.