Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat

wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)

quick review:

How the 80s-90s kids think the new batch of young adults lives, loves and obsesses. 😊 Men—milder, meeker; women—cheekier, outspoken: alas, more in a Pyar-ka-Punchama-meets-Kabir way.

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Director: Anurag Kashyap
Running time: 120 minutes
Genres: Noir, Romance
More Movie Info

There are only so many ways you can tell a boy-meets-girl story. Even if there are two in one film. Packaging it in a new-age tragedy can only take it so far. And that too Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat’s attempts are either through the coloured lens of 40-50-year olds or superficially, through trendy words in lyrics and dialogue. Neither insightful nor intrinsic. The Hindu-Muslim division commentary is as relevant as ever. However, the skewed male-female equation makes you wonder what the makers are getting at. Similarly, stalking as a way of receiving reciprocation in love is problematic.

In its own noir way, Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat glamourises ‘rejection of rejection’ and ‘absurd self-absorption’.

Having a woman as a stalker doesn’t make the creepiness any less…well, creepy. No. That she gets the attention she craves only makes it worse. The fixation is emphasised for so long and reasonably well that the repercussion she faces barely makes a mark. That’s one half of the film.

Intermitted with this love story of Sameer and Ayesha is another one with Yakub and Amruta, which exposes our rudimentary understanding of the young adults of the 2020s. That they are unthinking, unaware, irrationally, and irresponsibly spontaneous does a disservice to the socially aware and responsible kids I encounter. Sure, there can be a bunch who don’t fit what I see around me, but then there are Darwin’s awards for human stupidity. It cannot be shown as the sweeping generalisation that the movie seems to aim at.

In both cases, of course, I don’t think you ought to choose who you fall in love with. The way the characters choose to show it is tenuous. The indifference to society’s reaction is ridiculous. Both issues could have been taken in stride because, you know, nothing is impossible for human beings. The trouble is that the story makes these characteristics into the heroes of the film and the characters into martyrs. In its own noir way, Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat glamourises ‘rejection of rejection’ and ‘absurd self-absorption’. These things damage the lure created by the commentary on patriarchy and the religious divide. Or the occasional witticism.

Then, we have DJ Mohabbat gracing us with philosophical tidbits about love in an all-knowing manner. Tidbits that make little sense at most times. For instance, how does vulnerability become a weakness…vulnerability is the presence of weakness. And no, it wasn’t used poetically. It was meant to be teaching his listeners the way of life. Then there is a time when he says he will say a ‘sher’ and goes on to speak prose. Such logical lapses take away from the few good takes that he has on love, self-validation, etc.

Amongst all that goes against the film, some brilliant performances keep you with the movie. Karan Mehta’s Sameer is as focused, hurt, and angry as his Yakub is smitten and happy-go-lucky. Alaya F’s Amruta is a proper entitled, spoilt brat and is properly hateable; her Ayesha is aware, thoughtful, funny, and lovable. Vicky Kaushal is as tolerable as any DJ can be. That their traits get through is testimonial enough.

And yet, it isn’t enough to make you recommend the film. Alas, wish the writing was a little more responsible than what it makes the youngsters out to be.

- meeta, a part of the audience

21 reviewers(?) - 6 yays 12 so-so 3 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat is a charming mix of fluid fantasy and raw realism. Sometimes it is hard to tell the fantasy from the reality. The coincidences especially the one that ties the two couples, are a bit too much Gulshan Nanda in Shakespeare. But that’s what makes love what it is. A puzzle which only Gulzar’s lines can define: Sirf ehsaas hai yeh rooh se mehsoos karo pyar ko pyar hi rehne do koi naam na do. Touche.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ganesh Aaglave, FirstPost : ...But honestly, it is Vicky Kaushal, whose extended cameo as DJ Mohabbat will be remembered for a long time. His delicate yet amazing lines on love and relationships penned by Gulzar and Vishal Bhardwaj can be part of diaries if you are a fan of romantic lines and has a different opinion on Love with a touch of sufiness.... full review

Thumbs up, by ARNAB BANERJEE, : ...Anurag Kashyap deserves kudos for the brilliant portrayal of the two actors in roles that aren’t regular. Mostly, it’s their passion that comes across intensely and fiercely, and the key role players lift the entire film on the strength of their acting. Kashyap’s understanding and perception of two people with unbridled desire and rage is poignantly written and performed competently.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...He’s astoundingly prolific. Yet, at no point, repetitive, regurgitating, or simply winging it. This, despite a fat filmography and few masterpieces behind him (Gangs of Wasseypur, on top) — staying relevant all through, rather than resting on (festival) laurels. I find all this deeply inspiring. And this film is a fair leap as well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat pushes rom-com conventions into uncharted territory and cannot, therefore, dodge a its share of wobbles. But, overall, it is a film that gives a love story strong legs to stand on and run. Run it does in a direction that tales of young love rarely do.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nandini Ramnath, : ...Like its title, the ambitious twinned narrative is almost there. Amit Trivedi’s tunes, the heartfelt performances and Kashyap’s trademark candour linger in the mind, like memories of a time filled with hope and possibility.... full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat is not a new age love story or nowhere close to a cheesy high school romance — it’s only an Anurag Kashyap film.... full review

So-So, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...To conclude, I'd say, watch Almost Pyaar thinking that you're getting to watch a musical concert and in between, small skits are performed to keep you entertained, but don't try too hard to wrap your head around the motive of the film, because your efforts might not meet with an end result. And the end, a cliff-hanger might leave you intrigued. Is there a sequel already on its way? Kashyap can answer this for us, maybe.... full review

So-So, by Grace Cyril, india today : ...Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat might not be Anurag Kashyap's greatest work yet, but it is certainly worth giving a watch. The film is filled with a whole lot of love and the efforts show.... full review

So-So, by Divya Shah, India-Forums : ...Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat serves you with yet another 'Anurag Kashyap' kind of flawed love story which deals with various kinds of prejudices and paints a grey picture.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...The usage of an ugly phrase like ‘love jihad’ has been so normalised that you forget how it can be weaponised, or how thoughtlessly and effortlessly a heavy-handed patriarch can ruin a young life. Can love push back hate? That’s at the core of the film, and it’s a question worth singing out loud.... full review

So-So, by Shubham Kulkarni, koimoi : ...Anurag Kashyap sets out on a journey to tell love stories set against the backdrop of patriarchy by loses his way too.... full review

So-So, by Titas Chowdhury, : ...Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat isn’t one of Anurag’s better works, but it surely has a heart. It might not be as intense or Kranti-kari as it had promised, but it a sublime quality.... full review

So-So, by Divya Bhonsale, NewsBytes : ...Kashyap has connected this movie with his 2018 film Manmarziyaan by bringing back Vicky Kaushal as DJ Mohabbat. He's also the highlight of the movie, and so are his words of wisdom on love. His dialogues such as "Mohabbat tab hai jab tu hai, warna toh kya hi hai (Love exists when you exist, nothing matters otherwise)" are worthy of listening to.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Hands down though, the winner of Kashyap's patriarchy and privilege pooh-poohing exercise is Amit Trivedi and Shellee's spirited soundtrack. Not only do they capture the sound of modern love in all its spunky moods but also the timeless hope, fueling it generation after generation -- mohabbat se hi toh kranti aayegi.... full review

So-So, by Pratikshya Mishra, The Quint : ...Anurag Kashyap’s Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat might not be his best work but the film’s subliminal and astute messaging is enough to keep the story running, flaws kept aside.... full review

So-So, by Tanul Thakur, The Wire : ...Kashyap takes an unexpected but pleasant detour with this movie: confronting hate not with anger but… music and love. It ends with a song doubling up as hope and theme: “Mohabbat se hi toh kranti aayegi [love will bring revolution].” I’m sure there are many in this country who cling on to such a roseate worldview (including me). But an idealist piece hits even deeper when, like idealism itself, it feels complete – a world unto itself.... full review

So-So, by Ronak Kotecha, Times of India : ...Overall, it’s a love story fraught with regular societal challenges and clichés, told in a unique way. But beyond that it falls woefully short of making this film an entertaining and a deeply engaging experience. Like Alaya’s character Amrita tells Yaqub after their long and arduous journey, “Na koi plan hai, na purpose” – well, our thought precisely.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...There are other stereotypes, too, like a predatory gay club manager and a prison montage that looks straight out of Riz Ahmed’s breaking-bad phase in A Night Of. Kashyap’s best films have had rhythm and density problems, where the sheer volume of opinions is at odds with the expression of them. Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat is the reverse; the endless posturing is a ruse for its complete lack of depth.... full review

Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...There’s one intriguing bit in the film, when a kindly elderly couple is revealed to be bigoted on multiple levels. It’s something a younger Kashyap would have doubled down on, made menacing and significant. Here, it passes by unexamined. It’s been a while since Kashyap’s seemed like himself.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Anurag Kashyap‘s direction is far below his own high standard. It’s a red card for him, I guess. Overall, Almost Pyaar with DJ Mohabbat is almost a waste of your two hours and a couple hundred bucks you’d like to spend. Modern love can be far more intelligent and unique. This isn’t just that.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Raj : Anurag Kashyap has lost mojo like Ram Gopal Varma

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Gun fights and fist fights.
  • Language: A few curse words.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A rape scene in a men’s prison.
  • Concept: Love?
  • General Look and Feel: Modern and dark.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Almost Pyaar With DJ Mohabbat - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
120 minutes

Comments (2)

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Dear Meeta, very nice review. Anurag Kashyap tries to show on screen things people have not seen before (just for shock value) like here - girl stalking..!
I always like the moral contemporary take of yours while you watch movies. That's what makes it so interesting.

@Raj thank you for appreciating that effort. I like to talk about how the movie made me feel and why I think it made me feel that way.

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