The characters in Karan Johar’s film live in fantasy. None of the realities of life apply to those who inhabit this land. Money is incidental that never stops flowing, his characters don’t need or have any ambitions of professional growth. Here a day’s plan is summed up in going for hot yoga and Bollywood dance class. Parental pressure to make something out of one’s life is non-existent and the sole motto is love. The characters are just obsessed with love or some variant thereof to the extent that nothing else matters. Never one to believe in subtlety, Karan Johar drives home the point of one-sided love by a series of relationships.
Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) loves Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), Alizeh loves Ali (Fawad Khan). There’s Saba (Aishwarya Rai) who loves Ayan while her ex-husband (Shahrukh in a cameo) can’t get over her. If this sounds too much of one-sided love going around, it is!
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Owing to the lack of a coherent plot, the film moves scene to scene. Nothing wrong with that if the director had kept the goings on sane. What are we supposed to do when the lead pair, in their 20s if not 30s, jump up and down in a hotel room bed and saying things like “home is so boring, wish we could live in a hotel forever”. I have heard 5 year olds say the exact same words. And this fascination with hotel rooms when Ranbir’s character flies around in his personal jet just does not add up. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is supposed to be about complex human emotions, but I did not find any effort to go beyond a shallow glance, unless innate chit-chat in a pub means deep profound conversation.
After a while, when Aishwarya’s character is brought in on the proceedings, you expect a little mature treatment. Alas, her character, like others, lives in a dream world too – sprouting Urdu shayari and a Meena Kumari hangover in dialogue delivery. Karan’s take on Hindi films of the 80s and some of his own films is sometimes funny. But then it drags and becomes annoying.
Karan has included all the highpoints of his previous successes – one-sided love, unhappy marriage, even a terminal disease. But therein lies its biggest weaknesses. Under all the gloss and pretense cool, the film is still stuck in the 90s. The whole friend vs. lover went out of fad long back. Today is the age of co-habiting, commitment be damned. For this generation, matters of the heart is not of utmost importance, as Johar would like us to believe. Hell, a Devdas now would probably be called a loser.
Ranbir tries hard and succeeds in giving a believable feel to his character. Anushka Sharma grates on the ears initially but gets better as the film progresses. Aishwarya Rai is adequate in her short role. Fawad Khan is barely there.
In one of the comic scenes, Ranbir and Anushka dance to cheesy tunes of 80s songs. Hits back then, these songs sound woefully dated now. So is Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Stuck in the 90s, such stories induce yawns now. A very cheesy treatment treatment of your previous hits, Mr. Johar!
Rating : 2/5
Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma ,Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Fawad Khan
Director: Karan Johar