It's no secret that most directors have certain, specific ideologies and genres they excel at representing. If larger-than-life, period romances are Sanjay Leela Bhansali's calling card, then navigating violence is Anurag Kashyap's specialty. 

And capturing, or rather building, the modern-day romantic 'fairy tale' is Imtiaz Ali's claim to fame. Or rather, it was.

Imtiaz Ali and Ranbir Kapoor
Source: News18

The director who immortalised modern love for the millennial generation is today gifting us 'love stories' that have neither the romance nor the story. 

Love Aaj Kal BTS
Source: Firstpost

In 2007 Imtiaz Ali became a household name with Jab We Met. Aditya's (Shahid Kapoor) 'prince charming' persona, Geet's (Kareena Kapoor) effervescence, and their picture-perfect relationship managed to become the modern-day fairytale. 

Jab We Met
Source: India Today

He followed it up with his take on break-ups and being friends with your exes in the 2009 romantic drama Love Aaj Kal. While it did not do complete justice to the issue of work-life balance, it was still a novel story. 

Love Aaj Kal
Source: Hindirush

However, with his next few films, namely Rockstar, Highway, and Tamasha, he definitely hit the ball out of the park. None of them were perfect stories. But perhaps that's exactly why they left an indelible impact on the audience. 

Tamasha
Source: Hollywood Reporter

For the millennial generation Rockstar, with its phenomenal soundtrack, was the epitome of tumultuous, self-destructive love. It encapsulated the same feeling of a flawed but passionate romance that was first introduced by the classic novel, The Wuthering Heights

Rockstar
Source: bollyspice

And while Rockstar was not devoid of problem areas, there is no denying that the film evoked strong emotions in the audience. 

Highway and Tamasha followed the same journey. People had different takeaways from the film. But the stories did make an impact! 

Highway
Source: Firstpost

Backed by powerful performances, a strong screenplay, and memorable music, Imtiaz Ali's movie offerings became the millennial expression of love. It was perhaps the imperfections in his film that allowed his movies to resonate with a wide group of people. Then, dare I say, he became the Yash Raj for the millennials moviegoers - the man who brought to us the many shades of love. 

Imtiaz Ali
Source: filmeshilmy

But, if his last two films are anything to go by, Imtiaz seems to have forgotten how to make us feel. Despite including the king of romance, Jab Harry Met Sejal left us annoyed and cringing at the cliches.

Jab Harry Met Sejal
Source: Forbes

The trailer for Love Aaj Kal was so disappointing that even diehard fans, like yours truly, could not help but hate on it. Also, did we really need to see the same story play again?

The premise for the new Love Aaj Kal was that love has changed from the time it was first explored in the original film. While that's a fair premise, it is essentially the same tale of two love stories running in parallel timelines. And the worst bit is, irrespective of the timeline, it makes us feel nothing. 

Love Aaj Kal 2
Source: Zee News

Whether it's a creative block, a need to pander to the star rather than the story, or just a failed understanding of love in the age of dating apps, but Imtiaz Ali's movies have started becoming far too imperfect to be relatable or frankly, even entertaining. 

As someone who has fallen more in love with his fictional characters than real people in the past few years, it is hard to understand his protagonists or ideologies now. 

Jab Harry Met Sejal BTS
Source: DNA India

As someone who cried to Agar Tum Saath Ho, experienced a catharsis with Highway, recited Geet's dialogues in front of the camera, and was in love with Socha Na Tha before it became a cult classic, it's disheartening to see him serve movies that have all the elements, but none the feel. 

Imtiaz Ali and Alia Bhatt
Source: cineblitz

Perhaps I've become too jaded for Ali's brand of romance, or perhaps, his romantic offerings have become far too 'conventional' to make sense. Imtiaz Ali defined modern love at one point. Today though, I'd rewatch Rockstar for the hundredth time, than sit through the 2020 Love Aaj Kal.