Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Movie Review: The Passionate Actor Ranbir Kapoor Returns, Karan Johar Uses European Arthouse Cinema Storytelling, Anushka Rocks, Aishwarya Sizzles – You’ll Either Hate It Or Love It

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Movie Review: Karan Johar’s latest romance with cinema ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ is a tricky film to write about. It is easy to not like the film for some, while some will fall in love with it right from the first frame, and some would hate it to the core. While there will be those who arrive with the baggage of expectations based on Karan’s past romantic flicks. And this set of viewers is in for a big disappointment, as there’s none of that grandiose and hyper melodrama, doting elder parents, or the loud emotional background score. Yes there is that wedding song and a disco number, and no worries about money making, however, Karan Johar has chosen to keep everything else including the people as real as possible.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) attempts to redefine love and friendship. ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ said ‘Pyaar dosti hai (love is friendship)’, and ADHM declares and tries to prove that love and friendship are two different things, and friendship is superior to love. The one dialogue repeated a hundred times is ‘Pyaar mein junoon hai, par dosti mein sukoon hai’ (there is passion in love, but peace in friendship). The film does look like a mashup of a host of other Hindi and English romantic flicks, but it never takes away anything from ADHM.

Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) meets Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) at a party. They meet and meet again and again. Ayan falls for Alizeh, but she loves Ali (Fawad Khan). She marries Ali. Ayan is heartbroken, and gets into a relationship with Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a divorcee seeking companionship. It all gets complicated when Ayan meets Alizeh again after years, only to discover the love is still there. Saba moves out of Ayan’s life. Ayan and Alizeh meet again, and emotions reach a peak. I will skip the details here – leave it to watching it.

The first half is about Ayan and Alizeh, and their Bollywood obsession, singing and dancing to cheesy ’80s songs. Their short holidays and breaks, the occasional songs make it a fun ride till the point of intermission. Later Ayan finds solace in Saba with a mostly physical relationship, wherein he also gets an interesting perspective on one-sided love from Saba’s ex-husband playeds by Shahrukh Khan in a cameo.

This is not Karan Johar’s most mature film till date, as Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna will always be at the top. However, it is handled with less candyfloss and more realistic treatment. There is a certain bit of Before Sunrise and Imtiaz Ali in the first half, while the second half is more of characters in situations shot after shot, frame after frame, in a non-judgmental mode mostly.

The comic timing of the lead pair is awesome, and makes for some nice laughs. Anushka Sharma plays her character remarkably well, tweaking her expressions and acting to suit the role. But the real star is Ranbir Kapoor – we have waited too long for the passionate actor inside him to return to form. And he is so honest and real in the portrayal of his rather messy, turned-down one-sided lover, that as a viewer it is easy to relate to him the most amongst all the other characters. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as the sultry seductress is like fresh breath of air – this lady is aging very well. Though her character needed more depth and meaning. Fawad Khan as Ali is charming, and sizzles the screen whenever he appears. Sad that some of his scenes were chopped off.

While you are beginning to go with the flow, and accept the characters, there is a strange twist in the last 30 minutes which may not go well with some audience, as it does look forced, but people with an appetite for melodrama, might find it fine and even shed some tears.

With ADHM, Karan Johar dumps his trademark film making style, and takes the European art house cinema route, where characters appear on screen in a fast story telling with very few transitions between situations. It is more like a journey of  moments, weaved into frames. This may work with some, may not work at all with some. Sharp colour matching has been used extensively in various scenes to convey the emotions, if you observe closely.

And yes you do feel that at many junctures, a series of tweaks have been made to make the film more Indian, and take away all things Pakistan, considering the recent controversy. For e.g. While Anushka Sharma says ‘Lucknow’, you can see her lips say ‘Lahore’. The nationality of Alizeh and Saba is never revealed as Pakistani.

The music is so well blended into the film that each song sounds like a gem. This is a very non-Karan Johar film which will disappoint many, but that in fact is the strength of ADHM.  I would conclude with a non-judgmental outlook, and recommend it to anyone who wants to watch moments. But if you seeking a Karan Johar film with the usual peppy cosmetic takeaways, avoid. Ranbir Kapoor fans – watch it . You have no choice or option.

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