A mostly faithful remake of the Korean drama Always, Deepak Tijori’s Do Lafzon Ki Kahani stars Randeep Hooda as a former mixed martial arts fighter who falls in love with a blind teacher in Kuala Lumpur. Jenny (Kajal Aggarwal) is the chirpy type whose trilling more than makes up for Suraj’s limited vocabulary. Suraj (Hooda) has given up fighting and a brief life of crime after a life-altering accident, and he meets Jenny during one of many jobs he is juggling. Jenny mistakes Suraj for the parking attendant he has replaced, and the two bond over a television soap that airs from India as the clock strikes 8pm. Why doesn’t Jenny’s well-appointed apartment have a television set? All’s fair when it comes to soppy romances.
Suraj is lured back into the ring with the promise of a cornea transplant that will restore Jenny’s sight. The contrivances that ensue before the couple is joined forever will be familiar to fans of Korean romances, as will be the Christian themes of sin and redemption.
Hooda is well cast as the laconic and brooding Suraj – he even resembles the Korean actor – and works better in the slowburn romantic sequences than the low-budget mixed martial arts fights. Aggarwal reins in some of the grating buoyancy that has won her huge fans in Telugu cinema. Her idea of playing a blind person is to stare at the invisible spot that is 30 degrees off Suraj’s ear, and she is better turned out than the average sighted person, but she at least captures Jenny’s simplicity.
All the ingredients are present for a three-hankie weepie about a love that survives obstacles, but the movie lacks energy and frisson between the leads. Tijori keeps almost all the bits from the original, but the technical polish from Always is missing. The low-grade aesthetic isn’t as much a creative decision as a sign that somebody on this production decided to keep a firm handle on the budget. The title says it all: unable to improve on or add anything to the Korean source, the filmmakers have decided to keep it brief.