Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Producer: Dharma Production/Fox Studio
Director: Karan Johar
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Fawad Khan, Alia Bhatt (guest appearance) and Shah Rukh Khan (guest appearance)
Rating: Three and a half
Every Diwali rings in cheers for moviegoers and filmmakers cashing on the festive season where serpentine queue make a beeline at the ticket counter. Films are a celebration in India and Diwali makes it a double dhamaka affair. Can life happen without Diwali release in India? Karan Johar returns after a huge gap of four years wielding the directorial baton with his magnum opus and a multi-stellar cast of the likes of Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. It’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM).
Karan’s forte has always been relationships, family values, set on a grand scale which represents brand value KJO. Don’t expect any of that from ADHM. The film is about mature relationships and the beautifully depicted conflict between love and friendship. By far, it’s Karan’s most measured and sensible movie on relationship where he doesn’t fall into his own usual trap of traditional cliché extravaganza. ADHM is a sensitive and intense love story where romance is a theme that has always been explored in Hindi films but here its treatment takes the pie.
The movie starts with an interview the singer Ayaan (Ranbir Kapoor) gives where he narrates on unrequited love which rolls into flashback on his ‘difficult’ relationship with Alizeh (Anushka) and after the latter doesn’t warm up to his feeling, he meets the happily divorced poetess Sabah (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan).
Karan Johar is a terrific storyteller who weaves a unique tale of romance, unleashing its passion and intelligently tapping the conflict between love (Ayaan) and friendship (Alizeh). The metaphors emerge like strong characters in the film. It bares the soul of human emotions in a relationship open and make it a passionate affair about friendship, emotions and human conflicts. Certainly, Karan Johar has treated the movie in a very sensible and mature way, exploring the different shades in women characters and struck a chord with the young generation with witty dialogues the Hindi cinema way. In the film, both Ayaan and Alizeh are huge movie buffs.
It’s about friendship and love where the protagonists make every conversation refer to Amitabh Bachchan or Irfan Khan, for that matter. The scene where Alizeh and Ayaan sit inside the room speaking about bestest friends and attraction is one of the high points of the movie which Karan has captured in such a supersensible manner. It’s so real and vibrant, touching every chord in one’s soul.
Ranbir Kapoor is one of the best actors of his generation who never ceased to surprise us with his versatility and genre. In ADHM, Ranbir surpasses himself in every frame playing the lost guy he is famous for and has a gala time. He is simply mesmerizing and flamboyant doing a Shammi Kapoor, along with Anushka crooning to One Evening in Paris. One is in awe, watching him perform and jigging to Tohfa Tohfa or Baby Doll which shows why he is one of the most trusted artists who carries the lineage of his illustrious grandfather and greatest showman, Raj Kapoor with such aplomb. He redefines romance in the film, reminding you of the great Shammi Kapoor and the most adored lover boy Rishi Kapoor but gives a new edge in carving his own identity. He is simply sensational and proves why he is one of the most reckoned talents in the industry.
Anushka Sharma is electrifying as Alezah and the kind of passion that she brings to her character is simply fabulous. Her joie de vivre as an actor and invective energy makes her a winner. She wins heart in every shot as the independently vulnerable woman.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is also a comeback of sort for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan who is a head turner as Sabah and her poise, elegance, charisma, persona towers throughout the few scenes that she has in the film. Aishwarya has been presented as a strong woman and she lives that role with perfection. Kudos to Karan and Manish Malhotra for presenting her in such a stunningly beautiful manner. She is India’s answer to Julia Roberts.
Fawad Khan as Anushka’s ex-flame and the DJ is okay in the film and doesn’t really sparkle since he doesn’t have much screen presence to showcase his mettle. Alia Bhatt in the cameo looks hippie and beautiful, putting an endearing act. The cherry on the cake is Shah Rukh Khan who steals hearts in the few minutes speaking about the beauty of one-sided love and warms the heart. It’s such a delight to see King Khan in a cameo, winning our hearts like he always does. Lisa Hayden is over the top and forces herself to act which she cannot bring herself to. She is expressionless and loud.
The dialogues are fantastic and stay with you whether it’s Pyar Mein Sukoon Hai aur Dosti Mein Junnoon Hai, Chaata Marna or Ek tarfa Pyar. The forte of the movie is the take of Anushka’s character on soap opera with the hilarious, Nahin Nahin or the Hindi movies moments of the hero coming to the airport to sweep the heroine off her feet. Ranbir tying the saree of Anushka and both doing the Chandni dance emulating Rishi Kapoor and Sridevi nail it.
On the flip side, the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil suffers in places for its unusually low pace and lacking the Karan Johar’s signature style he is most famous for. The length of the film could have been chopped as well to make it crisper.
It’s the most honest film that Karan Johar has made with a soul and directed in such a measured manner. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a Diwali bumper and dhamaka, perfect for the occasion. The title song, Bulleya and Break up stay with you and something which the youth will identify with. Anil Mehta’s cinematography is art on canvas touching the audience sensibility in an aesthetic manner. Go for it.