Much talked about, much publicized film, Dil Dhadakne do released yesterday to great fanfare and appreciation from industry colleagues. But does this Zoya Akhtar film deliver?
The film is a voice over of the world through the intelligent eyes of Pluto Mehra, the Mehra family’s dog. Pluto conveys every emotion beautifully, with dialogues written by Javed Akhtar and voiced by Aamir Khan. On the contrary, the film’s most tender moments, I felt was between Pluto and Sunny Gill (Farhan Akhtar) and Kabir Mehra (Ranveer Singh).
The high society Dilli family of the Mehras has its patriarch, the self made Kamal (played effervescently by Anil Kapoor) and his socialite, doting wife, Neelam (Shefali Shah, outstanding).
Shown to be of a typical, ancient mindset, for the Mehras, their daughter ceased to exist in their household when she was married off by them in an arranged marriage to the Sangas (Zarina Wahab and Rahul Bose), an equally tight-assed, hoity family of Mumbai, who don’t actually approve of their Mehra import running her own business, but ‘allow’ it. That import is Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra).
So the Mehras, invite their close friends to celebrate their 30th Wedding Anniversary on a cruise liner in Europe. So we have the quintessential bunch of family and friends comprising of Parmeet Sethi, Divya Seth, Manoj Pahwa, Vikrant Massey, Riddhima Sud and the gang, with their various one liners.
But actually, it is this gang that deserves due accolades. Even though they required more screen time, they form the strong support system that this film deserved. Just wish there could have been more onscreen moments for these characters. For example the young kid and her mother who will have you in splits every time they are onscreen.
The film, co written by Reema Kagti and Zoya Akthar, is definitely minutely thought and planned. For example, the song Galla Goodiyan, has a line picturized on Manoj Pahwa, where he adds the ‘s’ ‘hello’ just like he does to every dialogue of the movie. So yes, the thought process was very much there while it started. But I guess, somewhere they lost steam or the initiative. Yes, the film does take its own sweet time in this 170 minute film, to build up the plot, but it lacks any dramatic punches or high points. So overall the film moves on in a straight line. Even in pensive moments, somehow the tension is not felt. And that is where the ship starts sinking.
I love masala and escapist cinema, no doubt. But have always said and believed that a film is the director’s intent and vision. So if the intent and approach of Zoya was to make a film with realism and slice of life feel, then the Anees Bazmee type ending was not justified at all. I meant it was ridiculous. Yes, maybe feel good, but not at all in sync with the tone of the film that she had set, which is a huge thing because you leave the cinema hall dissatisfied.
Anushka Sharma & Farhan play special appearances as the love interests of the Mehra siblings. Obviously with Farhan being the dialogue writer of the film too, he must have had his hands full, but Anushka, besides 2 songs, doesn’t have much scope on screen, either to perform or to leave an impact. And that’s exactly how her character is left too, without an impact, in a half baked role, which she obviously did to be a part of an ensemble cast.
Farhan looks damn good in the film, reminding you of Leonidas of 300, at times, but his post interval presence too, leaves a very little impact because there is no relationship shown between him and the rest too, besides 2 scenes with Priyanka. Although he gets one of the better written scenes in the film wherein he proves his point about women’s issues in India.
Shefali Shah must thank Madhuri Dixit, who refused this part, before she agreed for it. She plays the role of the insecure, scared socialite wife, who wouldn’t be bothered to get into her daughter’s affairs whilst not hesitating to sell off her company shares to buy her son, a plane, with great confidence, class and style. But somehow in the end, she simply gives into her roving husband’s cuddle, without much of an expression of why.
Priyanka Chopra oozes class throughout the film. Be it her wardrobe, dance or acting. But that again somewhere works against her. She is shown as one of the leading women entrepreneurs of the country, even listed in the Forbes magazine, but somehow turns coy in front of her in laws and parents, so much so that she cant even complete a sentence, without being interrupted. Sure, she should have had some more fire in her and that could have been the reason for marital discomfort rather than plain old suffering.
Anil Kapoor is wonderful as the scheming, money minded, socially scared, health conscious patriarch. Till then end, he doesn’t relate to anyone besides his own self and his self made empire. Everyone is just a pawn in his game of money. His experience of the trade is shown in the one scene with Parmeet Sethi, wherein they discuss a mutual alliance. Simply jhakaas! Though, wish Parmeet had a bigger role or a well written character.
Ranveer Singh, known for excessive energy and over the top reactions, steals this film. His underrated, non confident, restrained performance is the highlight of the film. More so, when he breaks free in bits and pieces with his witty punches, is when you realize how restrained his character of Kabir Mehra actually is. You will feel this when he makes fun about his cousin’s puking incident with well written puns by Farhan Akhtar.
The cinematography by Carlos Catalan is one of the strong points of the film. Be it his picturesque shots of Turkey, the cruise shots or just the close ups in the corridors of the cruise liner. His one shot shooting of Galla Goodiyan is also commendable.
Somehow the rest of the songs don’t measure up, which again in the long run will be a drawback for this film, when compared to Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.
All in all, it is definitely worth a watch once, for the Mehra family and their lovely performances. But please do not miss the supporting cast too. Because without them, this cruise liner wouldn’t sail a day.
Rating: 2.5/ 5
By: Yusuf Poonawala