Friday 05 June 2015
Dil Dhadakne Do
Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Farhan Akhtar, Anil Kapoor, Rahul Bose, Shefali Shetty
Imagine being holed up on a cruise with your immediate family, relatives, friends, ex-loves, and work associates. It is exactly this scenario that Zoya Akhtar creates in Dil Dhadakne Do.
The film explores our skewed take on relationships. How we often mistake control for love, interference for parenting, adjusting for marriage, and hypocrisy for being worldly-wise. And these wise, philosophical observations are made by our protagonist family's sanest member - their pooch Pluto Mehra (voiced by Aamir Khan).
'Humans have the gift of language, and yet there are so many misunderstandings between them,' he comments. And we see why.
The film begins with business honcho Kamal (Anil Kapoor) throwing a cruise party to celebrate his 30th marriage anniversary. His wife Neelam (Shefali Shah) is managing the guest-list for this very pricey party that will run into several days. The two are distant from each other in private, and lovey-dovey when others are watching.
But they unite as one force when it comes to the children. Thinking strictly from a reputation-in-society and business-profitability viewpoint, the two think nothing of interfering in their grown children's lives.
They dismiss their son Kabir's (Ranveer Singh) love for flying and give him no option but to manage the family business. Plus they almost try bribing him with an airplane if he marries a girl of their choice.
What they do to their daughter is equally, if not more, unforgivable. Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) is a successful entrepreneur, who did it all on her own. But all her mother advises is, 'Stop focusing on your career, and focus at home.' Her father announces that he wants to be a grandfather soon. The fact that she's unhappy with the marriage doesn't seem to matter. That she has organized most of the party, but her name is left out of the invitation card, says it all.
Rahul Bose plays her uptight husband. And Sunny (Farhan Akhtar) arrives on the scene later, upsetting an already unstable apple-cart.
Farah Ali (Anushka Sharma) is Kabir's girlfriend, whom he meets on the cruise. Unlike him— a spoilt prince with a career served on a platter— she's had to work her way in the world. He calls her 'Fearless Farah' and falls for her.
The dynamics between these central characters and their equations with the others on the cruise forms the film's crux. Aboard the ship, they encounter choppy waters within relationships and try fixing them. Some mend, some break, others strengthen. There is romance in the air, veiled competition, forbidden love, divorce and a rediscovery of old bonds.
Co-writer and director Zoya Akhtar is a master with characters and delving into their always-shifting dynamics. Here too, she creates real, interesting characters and we are always hooked on to what's happening. However there is a certain depth missing, that we witnessed in Luck By Chance and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
One of the complaints being the wishy-washy showcasing of Ayesha's character. It's disconcerting to this super-successful businesswoman unable to speak-up in front of her parents, and sit with her head lowered, when her husband is gloating about “allowing" her to work. Someone else always speaks up on her behalf, whether it's her parents or husband running her down.
Otherwise, Zoya Akhtar brings in several delightful elements of her filmmaking style—there's the gorgeous cast playing interesting characters, the overt and covert equations between them, the hints at societal hypocrisy and sexism, the romance, the gorgeous locales, and the measured pace. The pace is slow, yes, but works beautifully within the film.
The dialogue, penned by Farhan Akhtar has some memorable lines. The one in which Ayesha questions whether marriage is a race where one has to reach the finish line, is superb. And my favourite line from the film is the one where, in a conversation about being practical, Kabir says, 'If Shah Jahan was practical, would there be a Taj Mahal?'
There are some superb performances in store here. Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah are superb as the parent duo. Priyanka Chopra does full justice to her character, and makes us empathize with her situation.
But it is Ranveer Singh who remains the absolute scene-stealer. Note the scene where he's laughing when his parents are offering him a bribe of sorts. The more they talk, the more he laughs. Or the moment where he has a final conversation with his family— he's simply superb.
Ultimately the film is about everyone having their hearts set on different things, and allowing for a space where everyone's wishes thrive. Despite the few flaws, the film boasts of a robust heartbeat. Worth your time!
Rating: 3.5 stars