Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

What’s all the brouhaha about?
We in Pakistan don’t have the privilege of watching the latest Bollywood film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (This Heart is Difficult- ADHM) which was released this weekend (and has the ever popular Pakistani actor Fawad Khan). That’s the problem. Given our other choices at the cinema (Jack Reacher and The Accountant), moviegoers have resorted out to eating out more and skipping out going to the cinema.
There are people out there who are upset at not being able to catch the new Bollywood films (even those who pretend not to like Bollywood!). They are trying to find torrents and pirated DVD for this movie. Then there are the staff working at the cinema who talked about the lack of business and cinema houses making losses (Pakistani films don’t generate as much business as Bollywood films, realistically speaking).
Pakistan and India are at odds, with the recent developments of both nations expelling the diplomats. Pakistan wants us to watch Pakistani films. They don’t want us to watch Indian films. What they don’t realise is that by banning Indian films, they’ve boosted the pirated market for Bollywood DVDs.
So, what’s the story then?
We have three main principal characters: Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) and Saba (Aishwarya Rai). Ayan is a wealthy musician (something like the character he played in Rockstar but has a private jet now).
He meets Alizeh, who is a lucky go super friendly bubbly vivacious woman. They spend some time together and pretty soon, Ayan falls in love. But Alizeh doesn’t. She merely ‘friend zones’ him. She believes that friends cannot be lovers, and so would like to keep it that. We find out that Alizeh has been hurt by her lover DJ Ali (our very own Fawad Khan, with a thick facial beard) who throws her heart away.
Moving along, Ayan, now super hurt from being friend-zoned, meets Saba, who is somewhat of a poetess. He fancies her and they spend some time together. We find out Saba has also been hurt in love, courtesy her ex-husband (Shah Rukh Khan in a cameo), who in turn is also hurt in love.
By now you get the point that everyone in ADHM has been hurt or friend-zoned. Everyone has unrequited love. Nothing new. Which is what brings us to the next point.
Why this movie?
Karan Johar aka KJo (director) has said that this movie is very close to him and there is a reason why he’s making this film: unrequited love. We don’t know who he gave his heart away to (a woman or a man) but clearly KJo has experienced the feeling of unreciprocated love (the same feeling that Adele and Sam Smith used so powerfully to create Grammy award-winning musical albums). ADHM has elements of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and the Hollywood film The Fault in Our Stars. With KJo, we don’t expect originality but that same familiar path down those love stories that are mushy and fuzzy, with lots of human, emotional dramas. There will be women (and perhaps some men) who will shed tears and leave the cinema halls emotional.
KJo says “…it is not a conventional love story or love triangle. It’s a film that dwells deeply on relationships, heartbreaks and how love completes you, defines you and yet leaves you wanting for more. I have never had, in my entire career, a film that has come to me so fast, so organically and so from within.”
The Reactions…
Bollywood celebrities have given this film a massive thumbs up, the newest fans being Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. They are raving about Anushka’s performance along with Ranbir’s. Some have even labelled ADHM as the film of 2016 (which will be taken over by Aamir Khan’s Dangal IMHO).
However, critics are giving ADHM an average rating. Nothing new, same old love story, same emotions are some of the reasons they are citing for the lacklustre affair. Their score rating ranges from 2/5 to 3/5.
Audiences in parts are loving it, and given the recent publicity the movie got due to the political tensions between the two nations, a lot more people went (some even went to see if Fawad Khan’s role was cut or not– it’s not cut!). Any publicity, whether good or bad, is always good for a movie. There may be others who may have a meh reaction.
The Controversy and the Hype!
There was a lot of controversy surrounding this movie due to the reason that while Pakistan and India were politically at odds, that a Bollywood movie has a *gasps* a Pakistani actor— some of you will find it shocking that there is another Pakistani actor too, Imran Abbas who somehow never got any attention or mention. There were rumors of the two female characters, Alizeh and Saba, who play Pakistanis too.
So, is it really a big deal? Not really. None of the characters are playing Pakistanis and Fawad Khan isn’t getting any rave reviews like he did for Kapoor and Sons (makes you wonder about his rather close friendship with KJo and why Fawad is doing movies for him). In fact, no one is talking about Fawad Khan anywhere. This movie belongs to Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma. There is no controversy and the hype is completely unjustified, though it did help the movie gain more viewership.
So, what’s the final verdict…?
Unless you are a die-hard fan of mushy love stories and KJo, this movie won’t bring anything new to you cinema going experience. If you are a die hard fan, then this movie will be a treat (given all the gorgeous locations, good looking cast, music etc etc) for you. In other words, you’d be fine not watching this at the cinema at all.
2.5 out of 5

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