Saturday, 29 October 2016


Bottomline : An intense love saga that boasts of heartfelt performances, a superlative soundtrack and the deft hand of Karan Johar, but the weak storyline and sluggish pace hold the film back from catapulting to the high-octane, emotionally engaging drama which the filmmaker is so darn good at delivering.

Ae Dil Hain Mushkil, KJo’s sixth full-length feature film as a director in 18 years, plays around with recurring themes of his previous films like unrequited love, blurring of the line between love and friendship and the capricious and volatile reactions which ensue only to complicate matters further. It is no-brainer that Karan revels in the fact that he likes to operate well within his comfort zone, and while that may not particularly be an issue, ADHM still lacks a solid story at its core which makes it all the more troublesome to relate to its characters. His attempt to capture the vibe, or vaatavaran as Lisa Haydon may refer to, of our generation’s relationships and the complexities that follow is noble, but the conflicts are more surface-level than deeply affecting. Frankly, Johar caressed and handled these emotions to a much greater effect in the grossly underrated Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, which by far remains his most mature film. Still, it is to the credit of his adept direction that he manages to give us moments of genuine passion despite circling around and clinging on to the same point throughout the film. He also, as always, draws first-rate performances from each of the three leads, particularly Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma.

It would be wrong to cite ADHM as Ranbir’s comeback film, because even when movies like Bombay Velvet and Tamasha bombed, it was for no fault of his. Always the kind of actor who liked to experiment, Ranbir had come into his own so early in his career with films like Rocket Singh (which, despite being one of my favourite films, performed poorly), Barfi and Wake Up Sid. In ADHM, too, he uses his expressive eyes to convey volumes , and despite playing a morally questionable character, he comes off as wholly convincing. Anushka Sharma gets a major chunk of the reel-time and she effortlessly does the heavy-lifting as Karan puts her character through the emotional wringer. As for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, it is baffling that she has the least screen time given that she was used to promote the film and draw more audience to watch it. Still, she makes it a point to juice up the proceedings merely by her dashing screen presence.

So that’s 2.5/5 for Ae Dil Hain Mushkil. It sure has got the stamp of Karan Johar all over it, but the stamp pad needs to be re-inked.