The new film Once Upon Two Times is so grounded in its storytelling that even when it takes a fanciful flight, we are only pleased. A genuinely good movie, Once Upon Two Times is for those who don’t want to be bombarded by an egoistic director’s obsessions and stylistic choices and just want to be a witness to a simple yet profound story. Every love story is profound, I feel, just because there is love at the center of it, the most mysterious of human emotions. But Once Upon Two Times does not make the mistake of just showing us a done-to-death meet-cute to talk about love. It brings families into the picture as well, in a very fresh manner. The movie will definitely speak to young urban couples who want to marry but also focus on their careers and not forget about their families during this nerve-wracking phase of decision-making. Writer-director Sakshi Mittal lets the story breathe at its own pace, not rushing things along to suit some Instagram scrollers’ attention spans. It is the primary reason why the film builds its world organically and takes us on a journey to figure out what love is in our time, at least for middle-class twenty-something-year-olds. And is it really different from the love stories of our parents?
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Ahaan, the son of a businessman, wants to become a singer, trying to keep a promise made to his late mother, who was a renowned singer herself before her untimely demise. Ahaan meets Ruhi, his one true love, who isn’t jealous of his other love, singing. She encourages him to make it big, but reality hits Ahaan hard when he bungles up his big break. College was over, and Ahaan was 25, and this was a cutoff age in his mind. Angry and frustrated, he couldn’t just behave like a failed singer and felt he had to go to Edinburgh University to do something that could get him a ‘real’ job. Ruhi is a little perturbed to hear that he would be away from her for two years, and more than that, he was leaving behind singing, which was the thing she loved most about him. The only way out of the conundrum and the insecurity was to get married, and they made the decision. They knew that they had to get their parents on board with their marriage, and the opportunity arrived when Ruhi’s father got a free vacation from his company. Ahaan made his father ready for the trip to meet Ruhi’s family. Problems arise when Ahaan’s father, Kaushik, finds out that Ruhi’s mother, Purnima, is his ex-lover from college.
How Did Ruhi’s Father, Nipun, Handle The Situation?
Ruhi and Ahaan couldn’t imagine that they could have almost been siblings. Kaushik and Purnima’s explosive meeting resulted in a pandemonium in the hotel the families were staying at. Now it needed a man with a healthy sense of humor and a heart full of love to not make the situation even worse. Kaushik and Purnima were busy digging up dirt against one another, but fortunately, Nipun didn’t escalate the situation any further. Purnima had told him about a certain Kaushik whom she had almost eloped with after college. So this was a moment of surprise, but not shock. Nipun handled the situation in a brilliant manner and called Kaushik and Ahaan to join him in a poker game. Nipun did think about how fit Kaushik was and how much money he had, but deep down he had unshakeable faith that Purnima loved him, not Kaushik. The ‘eloping’ part was always understood as a by-product of raging hormones and immaturity. Now they were mature, and yet the fights between Kaushik and Purnima were not ending as planned. Kaushik detested her for leaving him at the train station, and it seemed he was not yet over it. Neither was Purnima, who must have felt that Kaushik couldn’t stabilize himself in time; otherwise, their lives could have been different. Purnima did add that she knew what she had with Kaushik wasn’t love, as there was no scope for telling each other the truth.
How Did Ahaan And Ruhi Reconcile?
Such fights were unexpected and a little too jarring for Ruhi and Ahaan. They weren’t showing it but hadn’t fully processed the secret. Ruhi seemed to be more mature when it came to the relationship, and she told her mother not to worry about Ahaan and her. Ruhi couldn’t say with certainty whether there was scope to tell Ahaan the truth, but she made Purnima understand that they would ‘create’ that space.
Purnima believed that men ended up like their fathers in temperament, and Kaushik believed that the fate of a woman was similar to that of her mother. The question now was whether parents’ love stories, however flawed they may have been, had any connection to their children’s love stories. The ‘creative’ aspect Ruhi talked about may have been present in her but was certainly blocked up in Ahaan. His singing was his passion, and Ruhi knew that without it, there would be problems in the future. Kaushik may have wanted to elope with Purnima because he wanted to escape his hopelessness. Ahaan was being hopeless as well when it came to his singing. He was losing self-belief, and after her talk with Purnima, Ruhi decided to confront Ahaan about it. Ahaan’s anger had once erupted like a volcano when he was asked to sing by the local people in a marriage ceremony, and it erupted again when Ruhi asked him to return to his music.
It seemed like Ruhi and Ahaan were not ready to meet the challenges of speaking truth to each other. The trip ended, and Ruhi and Ahaan seemed to have put all their plans on hold. A breakup was imminent. The only good thing that seemed to come out of the trip was that Kasuhik got to bond with Ahaan and bury the hatchet with Purnima. He saw that she was happy with Nipun, and there was nothing more he could ask for.
During the ending of Once Upon Two Times, Ahaan came to a music school to donate his mother’s books containing her compositions, which he used to practice. But at the very last moment, he canceled that plan and ran away with the books. That was his mother’s wealth she had left behind that he was trying to give away for nothing. In a moment of inspiration, he opened all his creative outlets and sang like he hadn’t done in years. He found his mojo again, and at that time, Ruhi came back to him! She was right. Singing was the connection between the two, as she knew that Ahaan would never be truly happy without it. Ruhi was on her way to be a wedding planner as she had an assignment in Malaysia, but serendipitously, she came back at the exact moment Ahaan was deep into his practice. They embraced, and it looks like they will definitely marry each other. Even if they stay apart for a while, there would be no problem, because now they not only share love but also their truth. They are one and the same thing, it turns out.