After all the controversies that threatened the very release of the multi-starrer, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) is here, right on time for the Diwali to light up our screens.
And after a brief Kabhi Khushi Khabi Gham background score, the screen paid tribute to the brave men of our Indian Army, who guard us in rain and snow, away from the fun and laughter of festivities and families.
The screen blinks and in comes Ranbir Kapoor, with a pair of round glasses, as Ayan Sanger telling us the tale of his life (read love). But why would he start narrating his love story during an interview. Well, that’s not a question you should ask in a Karan Johar movie.
So we go with Ayan to a pub, where he sets his eyes on a beautiful damsel in a long kurta swinging to the beats of the disco – Alizeh Khan (Anushka Sharma). Their eyes meet and we’re led to the bedroom. Pause.
That is more like the moment when Karan Johar is telling us that he is taking a deviation from the usual course, even when he is attempting to tell us the timeless tale of love. After their intro rendezvous at the disco, we get to see Ayan and Alizeh bond over Bollywood dialogues.
And we get those in hordes at the movie like when Ayan and Alizeh mouth the ‘I don’t like youuu’ scene from Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, complete with touching the tip of each other’s nose.
References from Hindi movies are strewn all across and like the lead pair confesses – they couldn’t help as they were brought upon Bollywood. Well, we’re not complaining on that one.
But all is not well with Alizeh, who still is nurturing a broken heart, and chides Ayan for not knowing what it means to lose a loved one. Ayan, a rich kid who desires to become a Mohammad Rafi, is taken over by Alizeh and finally accepts her as a 'bestest' friend. But friends in a romantic tale – or is it the eternal fight between love and friendship? We let the storyteller unravel it for you.
In the acting department, the lead pair looks good both together and onscreen. They light up the screen every time they are together and their conversations are full of spunk and energy.
Aishwarya Rai as Saba doesn't show up until the second half and tries to do justice to her role of being the healer to a now-heart-broken Ayan. They do heat up the screen but the controversial kiss was missing from the movie that aired in Kochi.
Lisa Haydon and her accented tongue add to the humor of the movie. Fawad Khan as DJ Ali and Alizeh’s heartache makes his presence felt.
Alia Bhatt is lost in the melee of discos, while SRK brings in a dash of glamour.
Though for a brief period we are taken to streets of Lucknow, most of the scenes are shot in London and Vienna. But surprisingly, the Hindi dialogues we get to hear are laden with Urdu words. Both Alizeh and Saba mouth shayaris and Urdu sayings; you may struggle a bit to keep up with them.
The peppy numbers by Pritam don't keep you exactly hooked, but the soulful renditions by Arijit Singh, including the title song Ae Dil Hai Mushkil stay with you. Camerawork by Anil Mehta is good, so is the editing. Karan Johar has given the gala dance numbers a skip in this one.
If you can overlook the fact that the only ailments that plague those living in Bollywood cinema is the travails of love, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a likeable watch.
And the final applause goes to writer-director Karan Johar, who has once again pulled off a romantic tale in all its pomp and grandeur. After all it’s jolly good Bollywood!