Director: Karan Johar
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, Fawad Khan
Some deem watching Ae Dil Hai Mushkil an act of sedition. So pervasive is the sanctimonious chorus and barbaric dancing around the trumped up notions of patriotism that there’s no hiding anymore. It’s time to let your politics hang out for all to see and swear at. And so I bought the ticket. But sadly, while our film-going experience has undergone a drastic change, our films haven’t, at all. Especially the ones from the House of KJo. Of course, the principle at stake was important, but had it been on the merits of the film, ADHM is so not worth the fight. Not even an idly-piddly one. ADHM is the story of Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), Saba Taliyar Khan (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), Alize (Anushka Sharma) and one Pakistani pariah whose role has been reduced to a joke. It begins with Ayan, a famous singer, settling down to give an interview about his singing, music, lyrics and how it all draws its power from adhura ishq, i.e. love that’s one-sided, and the dard it leaves behind.
His lyrics, he says, are by Saba Taliyar Khan, and then goes on to narrate the stories of two adhura ishqs. The first story is about a girl he met and tried to make out with in a nightclub in London, leading to much humiliation and jokes, but a deep bond. Alizeh was still trying to get over DJ Ali (Fawad Khan) while getting ready to marry Dr Faisal. And Ayan was dating Lisa (Lisa Haydon in a role that was really written for her. She’s bloody good as a gold-digger bimbette). The first half of the film is one long frolic through London and Paris involving pretty, rich kids with seemingly no jobs but well-kept apartments. The first part of ADHM works well, that is till the film is in the zone that Karan Johar has honed with regular practice — of love being born between two kindered souls. It’s standard operating procedure, from Dostana to Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani...
But as soon as he’s out of that zone, his film goes all flatulent, letting out tiny, tiny verbal farts about zakhm and dard and ishq... More than bored, I was feeling pukey. But even the first part that worked, it relies so much on Bollywood of the past to generate connect and goodwill, that it almost felt like Farah Khan and her brother had something to do with the script. Though ADHM doesn’t have much of a story, its plot bears a resemblances to One Day (2011 film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess).
The film is, of course, pretty. And it has pretty people — Aishwarya looks gorgeous. Fawad Khan hardly had a role. In total he is probably on screen for all of three minutes. But man, he really does light up the screen — he is drop-dead gorgeous.Anushka and Ranbir have nice, boisterous chemistry, but that’s courtesy mostly him. She’s good, of course. But he is powerful and can make your eyes well up in seconds. He carries the pain of one-sided love in his eyes, and it’s powerful.