Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya review: Kriti Sanon stands out in electrifying love story

Bollywood star impressive as humanoid android who marries robotics engineer played by Shahid Kapoor

Kriti Sanon and Shahid Kapoor's chemistry on screen is electrifying in Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya. Photo: Maddock Films
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On February 14, 2016, Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics activated Sophia, their latest in a line of humanoid robot inventions.

Dubbed a social robot by National Geographic, her creator's primary purpose – according to her creator David Hanson's archived blog post – was to be a critical asset in a study that aimed to find if human interaction with AI could “induce feelings of love and self-transcendence” in the former.

Sophia may not have been Hanson's first robotic invention. She definitely ended up being the most talked about, though, generating immense memetic popularity in the days since her launch a month after her activation.

Today, eight years later, Kriti Sanon headlines a career-best performance in Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya as humanoid android Sifra – short for Super Intelligent Female Robot Automation – whom robotics engineer Aryan (Shahid Kapoor) falls for before he knows who she really is.

The sci-fi romance is the debut directorial venture of screenwriting duo Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah, who marry the thematic undertones of Lars and the Real Girl (2007) and the rose-tinted romantic dilemma of Her (2013), packaged in the sheen of your favourite early '00s high-stylised Bollywood romances. Think Dostana (2008), Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003), or Salaam Namaste (2005), where good-looking people with swanky houses and aspirational careers fall in love.

And it's shot like one, too. Cinematographer Laxman Utekar uses the film's picture-perfect production design to his advantage, ensuring every frame looks dazzling. Sachin-Jigar's soundtrack is lovely and gorgeously marries future bass, Indian semi-classical and soft underscores to create the perfect aural atmosphere for two characters falling madly for each other. Mitraz leads the pick of musical numbers with Akhiyaan Gulaab, an R & fusion single licensed and gently repurposed from the musical act's album Zehen and works perfectly with the rest of the film's vibe.

The film's real standout, however, is Sanon, fully committing to her role and bringing forth an immersive and inspired performance. Her chemistry with Kapoor on-screen is electrifying (pun unintended) and makes you want to be swept up in their whirlwind romance.

For all of its gloss, the characters are written with believability and earnestness, which helps the viewers buy into the film's premise and stick with it for the most part. Shahid Kapoor is believable as the unlucky-in-love career professional with some stressful type-A personality traits, and his camaraderie with Dimple Kapadia – herself an excellent, if shorter, presence in the movie – is among its highest points.

Split down the middle by an intermission – as is common for most Indian filmsTeri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya has a hell of a job cut out for itself, and meets its biggest Achilles' Heel: a narrative that threatens to meander in the middle of its second act. Thankfully, by Act 3, Joshi and Sah take really big, bold swings in their storytelling that you can't help but respect, even if its unconventional (and open) ending may not work for everyone. Could it have been shorter? Sure. Do these flaws stop the film from being a primarily engaging time at the movies? Not really.

Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

Loosely based on Hanson's Sophia project, Joshi and Sah's directorial debut packs in tons of potential and asks pointed questions: the power of a creator over its sentient AI, humanity's relationship with tech, and the emotional volatility of unconventional love.

While its narrative could have benefited from a more fascinating, in-depth exploration of the questions it asks, it doesn't take away from the fact that Teri Baaton Mein Uljha Jiya remains a beautiful and mostly entertaining romance that has the power to immerse its audience and hold their attention for more than three-quarters of its 143-minute runtime. Recommended.

Updated: February 09, 2024, 2:39 PM
Teri Baaton Mein Aisa Uljha Jiya

Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5