18 years ago, Karan Johar directed his first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with the message that ‘love is friendship’, so I guess it’s fitting that Johar would once again revisit those themes 18 years later. However, there is an added sense of realism and maturity in the film and shows that not all love stories have a happy ending. After watching the film I’m happy to say that Johar hasn’t missed a beat and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is one of his finest films to date.
Bound by the love of Bollywood tunes from the 80s Ayan (played by Ranbir Kapoor) a wannabe singer and Alizeh (played by Anushka Sharma) become close friends after hooking up at a party following a breakup with their respected partners (Lisa Haydon and Imran Abbas). Ayan’s friendship with Alizeh turns quickly into romantic attraction for him, but Alizeh just wants to be friends. Over the next two hours and thirty minutes Johar’ takes his main protagonists on an emotional ride and tests their emotions with ex-flames, DJ Ali (played by Fawad Khan) and Saba (played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan).
Apart from Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, the director’s most controversial film, most of Johar’s films are very family friendly, but in his latest film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, the director builds up the intensity and brings up memories of Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar. Take for the scene in which Ayan shows off his singing but Alizeh explains that his music has no feel or emotion in it because you haven’t felt true heartbreak yet.
What holds the film together are the performances and Johar’s all-star cast. Looking like a million bucks, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, although limited on screen delivers a lasting impression. In one of the best scenes from the film, Bachchan convey’s volumes of depth through her eyes with minimal dialogues.
Anushka Sharma playing a free-spirited yet complicated character on screen, she has a very pleasing presence and her chemistry with Ranbir feels fresh. Sharma brings energy to the role and does some of her finest work especially in the second half of the film.
But of course the film rests on the shoulders of Ranbir Kapoor and once again he delivers yet another sensational performance. From comical, to heartbroken, to confused, Kapoor uses his facial expression to showcase what his character is going through. Just look at his eyes and watch the way he lip-sings with so much passion.
Despite trying to choke up the audience in the final sequences, overall Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, is a genuine heartfelt moving drama that brings out real emotions and is topped off by Ranbir Kapoor, who proves why he’s the best actor of my generation.
I’m giving Ae Dil Hai Mushkil four stars. Welcome back Karan Johar. You were missed!