As Shah Rukh Khan starts gyrating to the tune of 'Antenna' during end credit title rolls, we end up wondering what exactly were the expectations to begin with from 'Always Kabhi Kabhi'. Well, a tale which is heart-warming, funny as well as entertaining. As for the preaching, one certainly wanted to stay away and was okay only if it was conveyed in a subtle manner. Unfortunately 'Always Kabhi Kabhi' tries to delve into these zones but only goes downhill once the last chapter of the film, the Romeo-Juliet saga, unfolds.
So while Ali tries to be 'Mr. Cool' with his sole cool line 'Undie the condie of the heart' being 'oh-so-uncool', Zoa is forever angry due to the reason - 'Busy parents' - that makes 90% filmy teenagers angry. Satyajeet is scarily studious, just like Madhavan and Chandan Roy were in '3 Idiots' and 'F.A.L.T.U.' respectively while Giselli is forever running away from being a model even though her mom believes that she is the next Miss India in the making.
Together they are in a blow hot-blow cold relationship but surprisingly there is not even a single scene that comes across as overtly entertaining to be remembered once the curtains come down. In fact leave aside the wait for the end credits to start rolling, even during the film's narrative one doesn't fall off laughing or at least have a smile on the face as the film proceeds.
So even though the prologue scene is well set with Zoa cursing her growing up years and burning photographs of her near and dear ones and the opening song 'School Ke Din' bringing good energy into the proceedings, what follows from this point on is hardly exciting. Classroom setting is boring and pranks being played are hardly funny.
Of course there is the usual formulaic approach being taken with an old student (Zoa) getting jealous of the new entrant (Giselli) and then eventually realising her 'saccha pyaar'. Forget the iconic setting of 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', even the entire 'play' setting has been seen a few months back in Barjatya's 'Issi Life Mein'. Now that's hardly a comparison to be proud of since even that film was a huge yawn fest.
Well, the comparison goes beyond the campus setting here as just like in case of 'Issi Life Mein', there are auditions and then a full blown Shakespearean play in 'Always Kabhi Kabhi' as well. It was boring there and it is terrible here, what with the entire (in-film) audience applause coming for a scene which ironically is so poorly enacted that the actors at stage may well have been sent back to acting classes.
Performances by the lead actors at least try to enliven the proceedings. Ali is natural though one wonders whether he would be able to make a transition from being a school boy to a full blown hero soon. Ditto for Satyajeet who may just get typecast even though he is easy on eyes. Zoa acts well though her make up is very inconsistent. One looks forward to how she acts in a much more chilled out role. Giselli looks good but is surprisingly patchy in acting department. Also, her dubbed voice comes across as a deterrent.
'Par issue kya hai' - This is what one ends up exclaiming every 30 minutes in this two hour film that meanders aimlessly before arriving at an end that is hardly convincing. 'Always Kabhi Kabhi' turns out to be a 'whatever' experience that doesn't even decide whether it wants to be a campus entertainer, a teen sob story, a social drama, a love story or a sermonising saga. It just ventures into each of these territories and what one gets to see in the end is a tale which doesn't succeed on any counts.