Despite committed, endearing performances, "Woh Lamhe" directed by Mohit Suri and written by Shagufta Rafique, fails to captivate up to the potential offered by its premise. Loosely inspired by the life of 70's and 80's movie star Parveen Babi, the film explores a strained, passionate, and complex relationship between an egotistical, disturbed actress and a promising film director.
The complexity in Sana Azim and Aditya Garewal's relationship is explored and developed through most of the narrative, only to be abruptly abandoned towards the end. Following a snail-paced two hours, the writer's drastic move to alienate the lovers after moving so close to each other seems like a desperate solution to end the story, forcibly tying it up to its captivating opening.
Suri starts his film with the mark of a seasoned storyteller, but weak writing forces him to rehash previously established emotions repeatedly, lengthening and unnecessarily drawing out scenes that could get their point across in half the time. The narrative lacks structure for the protagonist's goal is never established to begin with. The makers seem as clueless as their audience as to the direction of the plot. This lack of plot may have even worked to the film's advantage, had the writer cared to do justice to the development of her characters by helping them ease into a more viable, articulately charted resolution. Sadly, the film ends emptily, leaving too many loose ends untied.
Overlooking innumerable continuity errors and technical blunders (out of sync dialog, out of focus shots), the director smartly allows his lead actors to improvise, in turn adorning "Woh Lamhe" with splendid performances. Shiny Ahuja and Kangna Ranaut build on their impressive chemistry from "Gangster", complementing each other's style. One wishes Suri had chosen to shoot his film with sync-sound, for the atrocious dubbing shamefully waters down the effort of the talented cast.
Pritam's shamelessly plagiarized songs are used well by the director, though the lip-synced track comes across as completely out of character for Aditya Garewal.