Karan Johar is back with Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and it’s filled with typical clichés: from falling in love with the girl who’s trying to get over a break-up, having that favourite spot in the city where one goes to spend time when they’re lonely to even the heroine clad in chiffon sarees atop Switzerland’s snow-capped mountains.
Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), a rich dad’s son who aspires to become a singer but is earning an MBA in London picks Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) up at a party. They don’t finish their one-night stand, but what follows is the usual plot of yes-we-bumped-into-each-other-in-a-happening-nightclub-and-we-hit-it-off-really-well-but-won’t-date.
As this cliché idea fails, Ayan falls in love with Alizeh who on the on the other hand gives her long-gone-love: badass, traveling DJ, Ali (Fawad Khan) another chance. They tie the knot; Ayan leaves their wedding midway (yes, they weren’t getting married to each others as the trailers and music videos saw mehendi on Ayan’s palms, that’s just marketing game pumped up, good for them, what you see is not what you get). Ayan then tries to fill the void in his life.
Enter poetess Saba Khan (Aishwarya Rai). In her thirties, the coy, pithy, wise, divorcee Saba woos Ayan and falls in love with him (by the way, they meet in an awkward, airport-café setting –another cliché).
Ayan meets Alizeh after years and he hasn’t forgotten her yet. Saba realizes this and leaves Ayan. Eventually, Alizeh leaves DJ Ali as well but does not want to unite with Ayan either. The climax is a bonus cliché that involves an airport, the beloved flying away, the lover finding out at the last moment, train and taxi journeys to the airport, security personnel and all that drama.
Unnecessarily long, the runtime could have easily avoided a good thirty minutes by cutting the build-up in the first half that includes a bimbo Lisa Desouza who is with Ayan for his money. Not just the runtime, even the dialogues occupy too much every minute. There’s no time to breathe and no time to feel the romance between two souls. Just enough spice but too much salt.
Most of the dialogues also lack wit and fail at delivering humor. Ayan at one point while flirting asks Alizeh if she would like some “low-fat-yogurt” and at another says, “I always stand up for you” *gross*. It doesn’t end at that, there are also mentions of “nangi mohatarma (naked mistress)” and “kacche mein izzat maang rahe ho (are you commanding respect in your briefs”? And “love tedha hai” is the most annoying one for its mix of English and Hindi words. Why couldn’t it be “pyar tedha hai?” Guess Karan Johar wanted to avoid one cliché here, it would be too similar to “pyar dosti hai”.
There are editing bloopers too. Alizeh says no thank you’s and sorry’s in friendship after she brings her “friend” Ayan a pot of cactus as an apology.
The movie has everything, spectacle and all, just that it wasn’t packaged properly. Great locations in London, Paris and Vienna; amazing outfits, Anushka’s long, slit-cut kurtas trendily teamed with jeans (her outfit changes towards the end of the movie for obvious reasons, in other words, bad direction) and Middle-eastern jewellery (long earrings and chunky silver neckpieces); upbeat and foot-tapping numbers by Pritam—Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and the Break-Up Song are takeaways of the year.
Watch the movie for Anushka’s ebullience which turns into moroseness in the second half or for Ranbir’s acting prowess—his “get lost” to Alizeh is the most effortless yet brusque ever seen—and romance with Ash, they play up the age difference effortlessly and beautifully.
Or even better, just watch it for Ash. All that the lady needs to do is be present in the frame. Her talking is a bonus and her slither (read walk) can heat the room up. It makes for a mind-blowing comeback that too as a seductress—a terrific one at that.
Had the content been worked upon more, winnowing the unnecessary parts and concentrating more on details, dialogues shorter and less meaty, this story of unrequited love would have been a hit. Sorry but, ADHM, watching you was Mushkil!
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy??
Runtime: 157 long minutes