When you make a movie every few years, the tendency is to try and achieve grandeur more than focus on quality and to ornament the story with a multitude of emotions replete with sequences which may not be coherent. This is inherently what pulls this Karan Johar movie down. What started as an exploration into the age old issue of the line of demarcation between friendship and love, and the sheer passion which occupies an individual, despite the dwindling nature of the relation he is pursuing, ends up being a convoluted, over lengthy and muddled emotional roller coaster.
Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma play Ayan and Alizeh, two individuals with internal conflicts thrown together by chance and ending up on a joy ride which is filled with banter, Bollywood odes (few strike gold, but mostly cringeworthy) and a sense of comfort with each other which inexorably makes us apprehensive of what’s brewing in their hearts. Spoiler alert (or not), Ayan falls head over heels in love while Alizeh just treats him as her Jigra. Things take a fall down south when Alizeh’s past, in the form of the chiselled ex lover DJ Ali (Fawad Khan, shining in all his glory) arrives to play spoilsport. As the ex lovers rekindle their love story, the sudden turn of events rips Ayan’s heart apart. He almost goes into a meltdown from there on. He tries to find solace in the arms of an older and wiser woman, the absolutely stunning Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, but that is short lived, as his heart seems fixated on Alizeh. The story lacks pace in the second half and often leaves character arcs incomplete. This is mostly visible in the treatment of the Ali and Alizeh story. As an audience, we will care for Ayan and also understand the emotional dilemma of Alizeh if her past was explained better. The reason for her failed relation with Ali is not addressed properly, which leaves a huge plot hole.
Ranbir shines through the movie with his now famous unrequited lover act which he has mastered in movies of the past. Let me be bold in saying that after Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn, Ranbir’s eyes hold a range of emotions among the leading actors in Bollywood. He plays vulnerable, hurt, stubborn with equal aplomb and emotes his heart out through those eyes. He even makes the poor treatment of Bollywood references from the past movies a tad bearable.
Karan Johar made the cardinal sin of trying to mash up multiple movies and sequences from the past in his attempt to make the audience an emotional wreck. In the process, he made the movie lengthy by at least twenty long minutes. Taking cues from movies like A Walk to Remember, Kuch Kuch Hota Hain and Rockstar and using songs from past Bollywood movies, his attempt at a tribute to movies of the past is not convincing and feels overdone. He is lucky that the music is a saving grace of this movie and all the songs bring freshness to the utter dullness which pervades the screen time. To his credit, he makes the leads look stunning and the locales exotic. Be it London or Paris, Karan is a master at showing foreign locations and making his actors shine against heavenly backdrops. But good looks can only get you that much. As an audience, you start looking at your watch by the end and a sense of relief emanates from every part of the theatre when the end credits flash.
There is a sequence in the movie where Alizeh shifts with Ali after her marriage to Lucknow. Apparently, the movie was supposed to be about few Pakistani and Indian people entangled in relationships on foreign shores. But due to the spoilsport nature of a few men , the script was changed and the roles of the two Pakistani actors cut (Yes, there are two good looking men from across the border…ladies). We cannot but wonder at the impact which such last minute changes made on the movie’s eventual presentation. This is speculative, but not without logic, as Fawad’s arc is left incomplete in the movie.
Ae Dil Hain Mushkil is not the Diwali Masala movie we need to force feed ourselves. The audience has matured over the years and the subject matter of the movie was pregnant with ideas and possibilities. Yet, somehow, Karan Johar took the easy way out throughout the movie and gave us an undercooked product which is a sum of 3 acts which drop in energy and impact at an alarming rate. Spend your Diwali with your family at home watching reruns of Karan Johar’s better work from the past. This can be given a pass.
gobblpoint: If you are hell-bent on watching music videos of a few hit songs on the large screen, you can go and watch this in a hall.
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