Watch ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ for the dazzling chemistry of Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma
Director: Karan Johar
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor , Anushka Sharma , Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan
“Pyar mein junoon hai par dosti mein sukoon hai”:-)
A boy and girl meet on a drunken night-out in London. An awkward make-out session later, they team up to paint the town red. Bar-hopping through the city, Ayan and Alizeh bond over their love for Bollywood films, fractured relationship with parents, and past and present lovers. A sequence lasting a little over 10 minutes, it’s made up of smartly-written banter (Niranjan Iyengar and Karan Johar), and elevated by lead actors Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma’s sparkling chemistry. Kapoor and Sharma bring their A-game to these scenes, and to the rest of Karan Johar’s new film.
Yet, you can’t but feel a sense of deja vu, as if you’ve already seen this story unfold before.
In Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Tamasha’, Ved and Tara meet on a sojourn and instantly connect, choosing to live out their romance in the shortest span possible. In Ayan and Alizeh’s case, it’s just “friendship”, given that the latter draws a line very early on. The girl has already been through heartbreak, which brings with it a sense of maturity she infuses into the relationship at the onset. The boy’s immaturity stems from a lack of any real-world experience till this point, given that he’s just a rich boy having a good time in a posh city under the garb of “MBA”.
Karan Johar’s ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ (ADHM), in fact, leaves you with a sense of multiple deja vus.
The film it comes closest to is one directed by Ali too – ‘Rockstar’, which is about a singer who achieves greatness only after he gets his heart broken. He pours the pain into his music, winning love and recognition along the way, but remains hollow inside. ‘ADHM’ could have easily been an Ali film, given that it traverses areas the director has visited multiple times in his films; most significantly, modern relationships trying to break out of straight-jacketed definitions set out by, to an extent, society and, ever more so, by our movies.
But in Johar’s world, the story comes enveloped in a sheen missing in films by most other directors. The production design is impeccable, the cinematography gorgeous, and the actors are portrayed with a sense of intimacy that only comes from a close knowledge of their off-screen personalities. This also seems like Johar’s most personal film yet, uncorrupted by the need to infuse humour for mass gratification and melodrama for affect. The film’s emotional trajectory remains as much on an upswing as in ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’, but Johar tempers the storytelling for contemporary audiences. It signals a willingness to adapt, a quality sorely missing in the director’s last film, ‘Student Of The Year’.
Yet, indulgence isn’t something Johar can keep at bay. The references to old Hindi films gets overbearing after a point, and both halves suffer from needless exposition. The film dedicates a fair amount of time to Ayan’s affair with the character of Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). This feels essential for Ayan’s graph at first, but given what Johar has in store in the film’s dying moments, it’s an unnecessary detour (since the crux of the film lies elsewhere). ‘ADHM’ feels overstuffed as a result.
A strong emotional core, and a stellar cast, is what sees ‘ADHM’ through. Kapoor plays the hurt lover with practised ease, given that he performed similar roles in ‘Saawariya’ and ‘Rockstar’ (and which he should probably stay away from for a while now). Yet, he manages to bring in little nuances that make Ayan seem distinct from, say, Janardan Jakhar. Aishwarya may not possess the range of the other two leads, but she fits the role of Ayan’s older, breathtakingly beautiful paramour in a way most other female actors wouldn’t.
Anushka Sharma is splendid in a role that’s more complex than the average Hindi film protagonist, making use of her energetic body language and personality to make Alizeh come across as a person so real, you feel you know her. It’s hard to take eyes off her, and while she compliments Kapoor beautifully (and vice versa), she also steals the limelight quite often, delivering a performance as well-portrayed as it’s different from Aarfa in this year’s ‘Sultan’.
The most remarkable quality of ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is the fact that Alizeh remains steadfast in her feelings towards Ayan (even in extraordinary circumstances), challenging the notion of romantic love every step of the way. In a movie so heavily reliant on intimacy and heartbreak, it’s Alizeh’s staunch belief that some relationships have greater value when not saddled with romantic expectations, which makes a lasting impact. Alizeh alone makes ‘ADHM’ worth a watch.
“Acha chalta hoon
Duaaon mein yaad rakhna
Mere zikr ka zubaan pe swaad rakhna “:-)