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‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ – Review and Some Thoughts…‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ -There could be few better ways to spend 170 minutes – it’s like traveling in an air-conditioned spaceship to another dimension where there is only beauty, youth and wealth. Jobs, work and family hassles don’t exist – it’s the proverbial Bollywood NRI golden life – dance, music, money. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan – such lethal combined beauty could shatter any mirror! Little wonder then that the film has been breaking box-office records – after all, we all need an escape from ordinary daily life.
ADHM opened in the Top 10 at the North American box office this weekend which is a rare feat for Bollywood films since they play in only a fraction of the theaters as Hollywood movies. At $760,000, it marked the third biggest opening day for a Bollywood film in North America (behind PK and Dhoom 3). It grossed $825,000 on Saturday and is estimated to collect $550,000 on Sunday for an opening weekend gross of $2.14 million. It is playing in over 300 theaters across North America. Yes, unrequited love can be big, big business!
Bollywood has a myriad different names for ‘love’ and owes its very existence to love. Film-goers thrive on love and yearn for it and expect it. Indeed, what can be better than sitting in a darkened theater surrounded by love for almost three hours and that too by the master of the genre, Karan Johar? As one fan wrote on social media, “Loved the movie. Typical kjo’s recipe. Pehle hasao baad mein rulao (First make them laugh, then make them weep.)”
Yet somehow Karan Johar doesn’t quite pull it off, like he did in “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham.” You aren’t particularly invested in the outcome of the one-sided love affair of Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) and Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), even with an intriguing third angle thrown in the form of Saba, the ravishing Aishwariya Rai Bachchan. There’s yet another angle, Ali played by Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. We never learn too much about them.
The friendship between Ayan and Alizeh is very real and almost lover-like. Their chemistry keeps you believing in the final outcome that must come. Alas, it does not happen nor is the film-goer’s pain as intense as it is in the impossible longing of Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Devdas’ or the aching hopelessness of Dhanush in ‘Ranjhana’. There are no barriers of caste, class or wealth here and surely being a ‘bad kisser’ should not be held against one. One gets a lot of the almost love-like friendship and light-heartedness and not enough of the pain of unrequited love and its soul-searing quality.
Karan Johar movies tend to leave you confused – it’s such a light-hearted unreal universe that it’s hard to believe it’s a world where there can be serious consequences. It’s a world of beauty – you don’t see anyone older than 40 – there are no parents or old people in the film. It’s a paean to youth and style, to exquisite art and fashion and celebrations. So when a hard twist is added in the end, it doesn’t quite seem to belong in the film.
One of the strongest scenes is when Ayan realizes he’s losing Alizeh to Ali (the handsome Fawad Khan) – the powerful song ‘Chaana Meriya’ by Arijit Singh puts it all into aching words and you realize he’s badly mauled by the loss. ‘Andhera tera Maine le liya mera ujla sitara tere naam kiya’ As another fan said on social media, “I love this line – God…this song moves me to tears…..reminds me of my love and the pain.” Indeed, the songs are topnotch.
Unreciprocated love is a tough pill to swallow and Ranbir and Anushka both give fine, heartfelt performances. You believe in their amazing friendship but the love part doesn’t overwhelm you, and that’s not due to any lack in their sterling performances.While you’re entertained by their fun and games, overwhelmed by their beauty – all four lead stars are knockouts – you somehow never take their griefs to heart. Yes, it was fun to wallow in their beauty, check out their fashions and their dance moves. It was fun to live the life of absolute wealth absolutely for an afternoon – but after that you ran to catch your subway or cook the family dinner and the anguishes of Ayan and Alizeh and Saba do not stay with you. The ending especially seems an escape route and not really satisfying. The love affair that wasn’t actually a love affair is forgotten, and only a few lyrics with soul return to haunt you as you get on with daily life.
What did you think of the movie? Do share your thoughts!