Remember Saathiya, in which Vivek Oberoi and Rani Mukherjee played young sweethearts who elope and marry, only to find themselves constantly bickering and regretting their hasty decision? Now take that film and drain out the crackling chemistry of its leads, wipe out every genuinely affecting moment scripted by Mani Ratnam, and ask AR Rahman to come up with a lesser soundtrack than the one he composed then. What you’re left with is Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, a bland, uninspired concoction that is predictable every step of the way, yet plods on for an unforgivable 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Best friends Dino (Armaan Jain) and Karishma (Deeksha Seth) are your typical 20-year-old rich kids who spend more time partying in nightclubs than attending lectures in college. When her family arranges her marriage to a man she neither knows nor cares for, Karishma elopes with Dino, both convinced they’re made for each other. From Goa to Nagpur to the forests of Chhattisgarh, the freshly married couple hits the road, trying to stay ahead of their families. But starting with disagreements over sex (he wants it, she won’t give it to him) and hygiene (he leaves the toilet smelling, she doesn’t clean out her hairbrush), the two quickly fall out of love and become desperate to end their marriage.

Of the multiple reasons why this film never works, most crucial is the lazy scripting by writer-director Arif Ali (brother of Imtiaz Ali), who brings neither originality nor flair to the mothballed premise. Armaan Jain (a grandson of Raj Kapoor) has a likeable presence, and appears uninhibited on the screen, while Deeksha Seth displays unmistakable confidence. Still both are too raw, and unable to muster up the requisite charm to rise above the flawed material. Ali is particularly unkind to his female protagonist, painting her as the kind of spoilt brat and overall shrew who you’ll wish would have a run-in with Ritesh Deshmukh’s screwdriver-wielding serial killer from last week’s Ek Villain.

Stuffed with unnecessary distractions, including a romantic subplot for Dino’s bumbling older brother, and an unintentionally laughable encounter with a band of Naxals, the film feels bloated on account of its own indulgences. Of the cast, Rohini Hattangadi makes a nice cameo as a perceptive judge in the family court. She’s the single authentic character in a film populated with stereotypes.

Forget Saathiya, which felt honest and real in the manner that it addressed young love and an impulsive marriage; Lekar Hum Deewana Dil isn’t even a satisfying rom-com about squabbling lovers. The humor is consistently juvenile, the climax so obvious you’ve guessed it long before it arrives, and the dialogue phoney despite being peppered with modern-day slang.

I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five. You’ll be bored out of your mind.

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