By Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times
Karan Johar and his team must thank all the controversy around their film’s release for creating a huge buzz, because otherwise Ae Dil Hai Mushkil boils down to little more than a mash-up of all those clichéd dreamy films that are high on cinematography and melodrama but low on realism.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil traces the life of Ayan Sayengar (Ranbir Kapoor) who is “private-jet-type” rich and is living a life dictated by others’ wishes — pursuing an MBA as a singer cannot keep his dad’s business floating and being in ‘love’ because that’s what his mercenary girlfriend Lisa (Lisa Hayden) wants him to believe.
Then arrives Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), a very sorted and mature woman who knows exactly what is wrong with her life, knows how to handle her “weakness” and how to enjoy life. She is also the one who makes Ayan become the real person that he is — one who enjoys cheap Bollywood songs, loves to sing and dances like no one is watching. We bet you haven’t seen Ranbir in anything like this before, not Rockstar and certainly not Tamasha.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is like revisiting Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with a 2016 twist — friendship and the chemistry that friends share beat love and eventually translate into that eternal love. Of course, this is 2016 and marriage isn’t the ultimate goal of love. Also, because this is a modern-day story set in London and Paris, the eternal lovers will find several other lovers before they get back. Except, instead of touching your heart with such pure humane emotions —irrational yet real, the film appears rather superficial. There are also sequences that remind you of Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Kal Ho Na Ho.
There is this intense passion/love Alizeh nurtures for her ex-boyfriend Ali (Fawad Khan), but we do not get to see her story. Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is a divorcee poetess who meets a heart-broken Ayaan and falls in love. Shah Rukh Khan makes a small guest appearance and does what he did in Luck By Chance: impart some gyan to our hero. Only, this time it is on love and not stardom.
Johar has given major screenspace to Ranbir and Anushka and they do not disappoint. It is amazing watching their friendly banter and the fun they have. The chemistry is very organic and authentic — the one thing in the movie that feels real and will certainly remind you of your best friends. Several sequences of Ranbir are par excellence — the ones where he is either alone onscreen or with Anushka.
Anushka, on the other hand is impressive with her new avatar as the woman who knows exactly what she wants from each of her relationships. Fawad Khan and SRK have very little screenspace to even comment on their performances, but you get to enjoy that sexy smile and the star persona respectively in the small bits they have. Aishwarya as Saba is what you imagine Aishwarya to be — sexy, smart, independent and someone with a great sense of self-importance.
Written by Karan, the dialogues are typically KJo — very filmy and artsy at the same time. At times, they even sound like the words are an attempt to make up for the lack of feelings. There is this one sequence that I found really insulting to Fayyaz Hashmi’s ghazal ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’ because of the setting and added music.
And now for those still looking for controversies: Fawad’s is an extremely small role and none of the characters claim to be Pakistani citizens, unlike earlier reports.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil offers little in terms of story and fails to get the audience empathise or feel for the characters and events in the movie. What it does offer is brilliance in the name of Ranbir and Anushka, some awe-inspiring shots of Aishwarya and Fawad and a very beautiful canvas as it is shot at exotic locales of London and Paris.