'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil' - Movie Review
ADHM is too long. So much so that if it wasn't for two most effortless actors we've seen in Hindi films, perhaps ever — Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma — you could be forced to look away from the screen altogether at some point
'Ae Dil Hai Mushkil'
U/A: Romance drama
Dir: Karan Johar
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
This film is too bloody long. So much so that if it wasn't for the two hugely engaging, easygoing, most effortless actors we've seen in Hindi films, perhaps ever — Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma — you could be forced to look away from the screen altogether at some point.
To be fair, at heart, this is still a movie about real issues, whether you think they’re trivial or not is another matter
Do they set the screen on fire with their combustible energy? No. They totally lack fire. They're like water, going with the flow. Which, incidentally, is the larger point of this deeply personal film (in a very mainstream space) that, more than anything else, looks at how relationships are being redefined — where you can't tell between love, casual sex, friends with benefits, or friends without benefits anymore. Does the point ring true? Hell, yeah. Does it seem belaboured and terribly repetitive after a while? Sadly, yes — a film appears lengthy for how long it takes to tell a story anyway.
This one starts off with the lead couple snogging soon as they meet. She friend-zones him right away too. He loves her. She really likes him. This imbalance or inequality is true for so many relationships — there is inescapably a leader and a follower.
In a move that's becoming progressively trademarked 'Ranbir Kapoor', he plays a rich, immature, lost puppy dog variety, who finally finds some meaning in life, mainly through his work or art. It was photography in Wake Up Sid (2009), travel and cinematography in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), the guitar, singing and songwriting in Rockstar. And well, he's singing and song-writing in this movie as well.
But there's of course more to this film than that. It is about conversations, rather inspired, I'd like to believe, from movies of Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight), who takes things to another level of course. This is very much "Bollywood", a style of storytelling that few if anyone understands better than director Karan Johar, whose EQ (emotional quotient) borders on genius levels, if you ask me.
So there are the songs — the title track and 'Channa Mereya', absolute gems. Being the cool hunter, Johar dives into the party scene of the pretty, urbane young as his characters club hop in London, Paris, Vienna — yeah baby, EDM and water is the new tequila shot, although I haven't been to noiseless headphone parties yet.
This movie is full of them. The lead characters live off their parental income, doing random courses abroad before they join their father's business eventually. Their life's concerns make #FirstWorldProblems look like chicken shit. The second lead, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (gorgeous as hell), is a shayra, or poetess. So there is much poetry as well. Everything being in line with what Yash Chopra would describe as light-hearted 'glamorous realism'.
To be fair, at heart (and there is enough heart for you to go mental), this is still a movie about real issues — whether you think they're trivial or not is another matter. It questions the point of a relationship, when a break-up is inevitable anyway, and it hits you in the same way as a close one's death. Why go through it, when one can be friends: "Pyar mein junoon hai. Dosti mein sukoon hai."
Corny, but true. It also makes this the sort of picture where the reactions will necessarily swing to extremes. There is already a gender like divide among audiences for this genre. I'm a sucker for good, soppy romantic comedies (there I said it!). They depend so much on the lead pair. As I said, the ones here deliver, like how. As do the other hotties on screen. Shah Rukh Khan makes a cameo by the way. As does Fawad Khan — it's an extended cameo at best.
Oh, which reminds me, Anushka plays a Pakistani girl (spinelessly made to look like she's from Lucknow in the film). Ranbir is a British passport holding Indian boy. Even if their governments can't stand each other, what do they incessantly bond over? Bollywood. Both are desi movie freakoids (this part has been stretched to death as well). It's the common popular culture that keeps the love between borders alive. But, obviously haters of the wrong things, who were opposing this film, will never understand this.
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