First Watch · Movies

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil


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Karan Johar’s affair with one-sided love continues. Only this time he ups the ante of lovers in self-destruction mode. That been said, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is perhaps the most real film he has attempted till date.

I did enter expecting the usual KJo drama but the director has steered away from all of that. Instead we have a mature film which boldly explores the perils and ecstasies of deep, platonic friendship between two individuals. Emotions burn on a slow simmer. The one negative is that Johar falls back on a safe, unexpected twist as a solution to the problem, which is an escape and anticlimactic. The ending felt incomplete but in line with how he has formatted the movie – slices of life packed together – choppy, unpredictable and quick moving.

Eighteen years on, after Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Anjali and Rahul are reborn as Alizeh Khan (Anuskha Sharma) and Ayaan Sanger (Ranbir Kapoor). Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan replace Salman Khan for eye candy. Lisa Hayden, in a fabulous cameo, sprinkles some crazy humour.

Glide into their tangled, fun world then. The pair meet in a hilarious first encounter, sparks fly and douse. An instant friendship later, Ayaan is attracted, she is not. At least 10 shades of reverse Madonna-whore complex are at play here. Alizeh fears losing the only sane relationship in her life and doesn’t want to taint it with sex. She would rather have tabahi and good old junoon over sukoon. Heartbroken Ayaan falls right into the arms and charms of Saba Taliyar Khan (Rai Bachchan). Chaos central still rules though, making you fret and care about their woes.

Can we just take a moment and pay an ode to Ash here? Stunning in every frame, she takes the sizzle up several notches higher and slays it in a memorable turn. Shining in two crucial, powerful scenes, one with SRK (oops!) and the last one with Ranbir. Unapologetic, here is one woman who definitely knows what she doesn’t want. She tosses a line Jo gira hai, wahi sambhale to the ex-husband with self-assured ease.

Fawad Khan fans, happy to report he is in the movie wearing his DJ avatar like a cloak.  A big seeti and an extra star for his Cutiepie groove. The actor plays his part of messing with Alizeh’s head to the hilt with very little screen time. There is also that punchy scene with Ranbir where their chemistry is absolutely crackling.

The lead pair rock from get go. Ranbir is heart to Anushka’s soul. You are hooked. An absolute riot, filmi is their middle name as they go crazy with Tohfa Tohfa, Baby Doll and Mitwa parodies, RD Burman croons and An Evening In Paris train roll.

Ranbir is restrainedly brilliant and never seems to be short of flickers in his expressions bank. He plays an emotionally charged role with simplicity and heart. The Kapoor son’s special talent seems to be in reinterpreting his body language and style every time he plays singer. He owns the ominous run just before the title song plays and delivers both to perfection.

Anushka devours the part of Alizeh with gutso. Otherwise confident and dominating around Ayaan, Alizeh is a mess when it comes to her own emotions. Her heart-stopping scene in the hotel room after the chance encounter with Ali is the first glimpse we get into her real state of mind. The actor lends finesse to her complex situation.

For the rest, Anil Mehta’s cinematography is ace, the Yash Chopra styled Holi sequence being the eye-popper. The dialogue by Karan Johar and Niranjan Iyengar is refreshing and snappy. Pritam’s chartbusting songs need no introduction. The Breakup SongCutiepie, Channa Mereya, Bulleya and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil add the right mood and zing to the story.

KJo’s directorial touch adds candour to Ayaan’s meltdown at the wedding as well as Ayaan and Alizeh’s charged confrontations and breakdowns. A big cheer for both the women characters created with ample dare and sincerity.

Unrequited love seems to be the bane of everyone’s existence in ADHM. KJo keeps the thread hanging right until the end, adding a method to the madness.

cinemaspotter rating: 3 out of 5

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