Music and romance go hand in hand. It’s an old Hindi
film tradition, discovered with the enthusiasm of a fresh love by
writer-director Damien SHAZELLE Chazelle.
The opening credits are like a grandly choreographed
set by a Farah Khan or a Remo D’souza with strangers of all colours spilling
out of their vehicles to join in the joy of music and dance on the roads.
It’s a jaunty way to introduce the mood of the film
and its two main protagonists, jazz pianist Sebastian and aspiring actress Mia.
In a style familiar to Hindi cinema, they serendipitously run into each other
but they’re not each other’s type. But
just as the seasons change, so do their feelings as they fall in love, with
music and dance accompanying them every step of the way.
Seb is a purist, jazz turns him on and it’s a wrench
when he has to compromise his music for a living. Mia has her own heartaches as
she goes through the humiliation of indifferent auditions. But the ecstasy of
falling in love with music and art all around them is riveting even for the
And then there’s heartbreak, making up and all their
dreams coming true. Which is too good to be true.
So does this love last forever? From the director who
stunned us last year with his award-winning Whiplash, the ending is not quite what’s expected but the sheer
chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone keeps the violins playing. There’s
some fine music by Justin Hurwitz and superb cinematography by Linus Sandgren to
enhance the stylish experience of a dreamy world.
And then there’s charmer Ryan Gosling who makes you
fall in love with him especially when he tugs at your heart and says, “Welcome
to Sebz” towards the end. Emma Stone matches him step for step, note for note.
For a film that unabashedly woos and sings to pure
romantics, La la Land gets a 3.5*
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Columnist & Author