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Movie Review: Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Is Karan Johar’s Most Mature Film So Far

Originally published on Follo.in
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Back in 1998 when Karan Johar made his first film ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, he made a whole generation believe in the concept of ‘pyaar dosti hai’ as his hero said those lines ever so convincingly. Of course, that stays true. You cannot have love without friendship. Almost 20 years later, he is back to address one of the primary concerns that came out of the ‘dosti’ aspect between a guy and a girl. Of being what is now termed ‘friendzoned’.

The difference is simple. Every diameter is a chord. Every chord is not a diameter. Every friend does not need to be the lover. And that’s where the complexities come in. Karan Johar brings out this complexity through Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor)- the protagonist of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – when he tells the love of his life Alizeh, what was made immortal by Mohnish Bahl in Maine Pyar Kiya, “ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ban sakte.” Yes, you may almost feel like being dragged back to the ‘80s when this happens in the film, but then that does not take away from reality.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is possibly Karan’s most realistic film till date. Ae Dil deals with a practical problem after all, albeit far too glorified. We have seen one sided love in Aanand L Rai’s Raanjhanaa, which took us right into the heartland. Karan chooses to set his story in London – a city he evidently knows better. His lead characters are urban and speak the language, which will be easily lapped by the youth. Ayan and Alizeh are filmy kids who through movie references in the dialogues and have dreams shaped by Bollywood. And probably so are their ideas of love.

We have Ayan, a rich kid who stays away from his father. He finds emotional connect with Alizeh, a stronger persona, who too is staying in London away from her family. There is an instant liking towards each other and they become friends. Alizeh finds in Ayan a best friend, while Ayan finds far more than just a friend. He finds his anchor, his love. Alizeh, however, has already had her heart crushed in love and has no plans of falling for it again.

We have a breezy first half when the two take you around London and Paris before the inevitable happens. Ayan gets his heart broken. And he finds his music too – one that only a broken heart could have found. Might remind you of Rockstar. After all tute huwe dil se hi sangeet nikalta hai! And it should also remind you of Devdas. Of Devdas, of Paro… and of Chandramukhi.

Ae Dil flows fine till you will suddenly find it drifting away late in the second half. When Karan Johar could have easily opted to close the act he chooses to introduce further elements. Here Karan not only stretches the screenplay, but also his luck. An unnecessary effort to bring a closure is made. A closure that could have been done without. This is where the film loses the viewer.

Limitations aside, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil boasts of remarkable performances. Ranbir plays an extra-emotional young chap who needs to be slapped back to sense by his new friend. He does it with ease of a seasoned actor. But it is Anushka Sharma who clinches scene after scene with her best performance till date. She is, of course, provided a far more powerful character. And then there is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, looking stunning in every frame, talking through her eyes. Her part, in essence, has similarities with that Chandramukhi is Devdas, not an easy role to play. Fawad Khan has a lesser character and does justice to it. Also notable is Lisa Haydon is a short appearance.

Ae Dil is also backed by Pritam’s music. It has some of the year’s best songs and Karan Johar as a director does not fail in using them to the optimum. This is Karan Johar's most mature film till date, if you look at the way he decides to end it. He shows the ability to let go off the clutches of some of Bollywood’s norms in terms of endings. You just wish he also hand the sensibility to cut off at the right moment than taking things too far.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is your movie for the weekend if you love the idea of love; if you love watching romances; and if you have loved Hindi movies. It does test your patience nonetheless. It is your movie for the weekend if you are patient enough.

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About Noyon Jyoti Parasara

Lazy dreamer who believed he could be a writer. Writes on anything that takes his fancy. More often than not about love, friends and life.
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