Shaking a leg on a scenic mountain, the lead pair realise their childhood dream of grooving to a Bollywood number. Mitwa from Chandni is played on a phone by the sweater-clad man, while the woman sways in a yellow sari which she learnt to wear through a YouTube tutorial minutes ago. But this is not your usual celluloid-obsessed couple. In fact, they’re not even a couple. This one-sided love story dwells in the (not so novel) equation of being in love and getting nothing out off it because the person of interest isn’t interested. But one must continue suffering this seemingly desperate state because ae Dil Hai Mushkil’. The ‘plenty of other fish’ argument is lost on director Karan Johar, who interprets a pushy hanger-on as an epic premi. At least Devdas had a bottle to curl up with.
When Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), a London-based ‘ameer’ meets Lucknowi lassie Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) at a bar, the two are locking lips within seconds, but the act concludes as quickly as it escalates. She mocks his kissing skills and soon they’re friends. She’s dating someone he learns, but so is he. Hers is a parental-approved doc, while he’s with an airhead gold-digger. Soon, they’re both single and Ayan is more hopeful than ever. But soon, Alizeh’s ex, DJ Ali (Fawad Khan) surfaces at a club in Paris where the two are vacationing and she bobs back to him like a punching clown. Consequently, Ayan acquires the much-required ‘dard’ in his crooning (a la Rockstar). His mangled arteries are unclogged when he bumps into Saba, a shayra (poetess) who constantly mumbles discourses on love, loathing, junoon and sukoon — never for a second allowing you disregard her profession. Ayan is charmed by the cougar divorcee but she’s only wiling to assume the role of a ‘khwahish’, not of a ‘zaroorat’. Following intense lovemaking sequences, the two invite Alizeh home for a meal, where Ayan’s snubbed feelings for Alizeh become apparent to Saba who calls it quits. The film continues to drag on from here and the turn of events becomes mushkil for the brain too.
Ranbir Kapoor, as an actor, has always delivered, regardless of his character’s demands, inadequacies in the script or a cat-napping director. Playing a jilted lover yet again (Rockstar, Saawariya), he tempers his character’s emotional graph with decided fervour. Anushka Sharma can’t be blamed for her Alizeh, whose character graph swings like a pendulum from overenthusiastic to subdued. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, whose svelte frame and sharp features garnered much curiosity and whistles in the trailer, makes for much more than a pretty picture. She lends a charismatic flair to her Saba and packs her Urdu one-liners with much shiddhat. Fawad Khan, who has created quite a stir recently, barely gets enough screen space to justify the storm that loomed over this release. If you’re an Arijit Singh fan, there are a lot of earworms here, the title track being the best.
Extending the boundaries of his pet theme of love and friendship, Johar attempts to be Imtiaz Ali here. But in this regard, he fails miserably in drafting his character’s journey.
Clearly, the most-awaited release of this year, KJo deserves no ladoos this Diwali for letting down his ardent fans. Hopefully, he will soon learn that like the heart, showbiz is also quite mushkil.