3D directed by Zoya Akhtar only explores the single, unvaried dimension of families and turbulence in relationships. While Aamir Khan's urban storytelling is just animated enough to be called a progressive move for Zoya, this is a film which speaks in Hindi and thinks in English. This is a especially disappointing thing, because it has been released in an year when the filmmakers are pushing boundaries and explaining to the audiences in different flavourful mannerisms about the nature of their tonality. The film is artificial, and the urban legend rarely comes to play. It is the worst by Zoya. And, she can't make worse than this, I believe. The film is decent, but it is also a little lot boring. Not recommending this two-hour-plus extended cruise party. Instead, attending one with the relations and neighbours and friends for real is more engaging.
The last couple of weeks of the summer holidays saw the box office making merry on the back of "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" & "Piku". The vacations have now concluded but Bollywood would still be banking on Zoya Akhtar's "Dil Dhadakne Do" which has hit the screens this week to keep the good times going. Undoubtedly, the promos has caught the fancy of the fans after all it seemed like a rollicking rom com with an ensemble star cast. So will it actually live upto Zoya's previous ventures???
Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) was a self made man whose company "Ayka" had touched the heights of success through his sheer hard work & business acumen. But in recent times, the wheels were coming off from his company as he struggled to keep it afloat while his son, Kabir (Ranveer Singh) didnt seem to be upto the task as he longed for a career in aviation. Even the spark in his relationship with his wife, Neelam (Shefali Shah) seemed to have lost somewhere over the years. However, when it's an affluent family that mingles with only the upper strata of the society; all that matters at times was just what their friends & foes thought about them rather their own feelings for their family. In order to mark their 30th wedding aniversary, their daughter Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra), a successful entrepreneur who was also involved in an unhappy marriage arranges a cruise for them & their guests. It was not just a leisure trip for Kamal but rather a business proposition to ensure Ayka stayed in his hands. So does things work out in the manner that he had hoped for or will the Mehras finally realise that life isnt just about pomposity and materialistic gains???
This movie has been in the news for some time thanks to its star cast but I actually happened to hear it from a friend of mine who had seen the shooting of it when he had gone to Turkey for a conference. Anywaz Zoya is back with her latest venture & as in "ZNMD", the script was the result of her fruitful collaboration with Reema Kagti. However, unlike her previous ventures; this one fails to strike a chord with the audience. There is no doubt that they have a fair idea regarding the pretentious nature & at times, frivolous issues that the wealthy clan seems to have which they have portrayed precisely, but it doesnt go beyond that. Another major drawback of the movie is its length, as it does take a toll on our patience. But thanks to Farhan Akhtar's dialogues, the film does have a humorous undertone throughout or else it would have made for a mediocre experience. In the technical department, the art direction, costumes & Carlos's visuals were impressive but Anand Subaya & Mana Mehta should have made the movie much more crisper. As for the music, Shankar Ehsaan Loy might not be in the best of form here, but it still deserves mention.
The biggest positive of this movie was the star cast who had all performed impressively even though the script had let them down considerably. For once, I absolutely loved Ranveer's performance as he was spot on with the comic timing & as the spoilt brat with a heart of gold. Anil Kapoor rocked the show with his range of histronics in sync with the arrogant & patriachal character that he was. Giving him apt company was Shefali Shah while Priyanka & Anushka also impressed, though I have to admit I was kinda baffled by the former's characterization of being submissive & independent at the same time. As for the rest of the cast, Farhan had a small role but he seemed apt for it while others like Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, female who acted as Ranveer's aunty etc were also fine.
Verdict: The film will surely have a fantastic initial & should do booming business in the urban circuit. However, it's unlikely to garner as much dividends as the producers would have expected as the lackadaisical script & the lengthy running time would surely be turn offs for the audience. In short, it's a decent one time watch thanks to the praise worthy performances but whether you want to watch it within the confines of the theatre or living room is your choice!!!
Nice portrait. The conflict within the family is nicely depicted. But, conventional... not much new idea is added. Expected a lot but got few.
Zoya Akhtar's brilliant takes on life and human relationships is the reason one gets involuntarily attracted to her films. Although, unlike her previous features, this one is just a contaminated concoction.
And the contamination is probably the filmmaker's ambition, which adds too many side stories in its shallow primary plot, only to end up with a disastrous mess. The story of rich and influential Mehra family is that of a normal, Indian family's, given that it has its own business empire and expensive hobbies. One stops and thinks about the adjective "dysfunctional" that is being used everywhere to synopsize the film. As it begins narrating the story, one will definitely relate to at least 5 of the total 17 million characters in it.
You may call it a gimmick or an invention, but the film is wholly narrated by and through the partial perspective of a dog, the Mehra family's beloved pet Pluto. It is a twisted idea to represent relationships through the eye of an animal who stands very low in the food chain. One might expect some startling descriptions and insights from the epitome of loyalty, but all it delivers is cliché. Radiationally polished cliché.
The four-member family and their histrionics is amply expressed in the first hour, which leaves the audience gasping for story development. The plot furtherance is slower than the gait of a nonagenarian who is diagnosed with arthritis. That Kamal (Kapoor) is a self-made, vanity-filled businessman who profusely cheats on his society lady of a wife Neelam (Shah), in spite of having two adult children, one of which is a nobody (Singh) obsessed with flying and in search of true love and other (Chopra) a subject that manifests feminism in the film is what the first part will tell you in a zillion different ways. The second half is where things start to go downhill.
After an hour, Akhtar forgets about the story and delves on the melodrama. Forced slapstick is all over the place as there is no explanation provided to understand why the characters do what they do. With 2 serious plot flaws that mar the story development, the film takes its burden and slips freely down into the gallows.
Performance by the ensemble cast, direction, and cinematography are the three highlights that will cause some of its audience to forget the above mentioned facts. While Kapoor steals the limelight, Singh steals majority of the screen space. While Chopra and Sharma debate about whose lip job is better, Akhtar and Bose are missed in a couple blinks. If one wants to watch a film that is purely about the celebrities fooling around in the frames, then this is it. Otherwise, chances are high that the little fun that one has in the first half due to mild humor may be overshadowed by the folly of the second half.
Of course, there are some social issues talked about in the film with big implications, that are either left to die or snapped midway. And at the end of the day, there is only a little to grasp from the film which is basically a 3-hour long confrontation between parents and their children, with topics of marriage and relationships brushed. Giving a highly predictive ending, one of 2015's most anticipated films is something that people should skip. One might as well watch the trailer and be content.
BOTTOM LINE: Dil Dhadakne Do is a titanic that is on an odyssey, sailing aimlessly to foreign shores, surrounded by an ocean of clichés.
RATING: 4 stars out of 10. May skip.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES
There are moments of brilliance in Zoya Akhtar's Dil Dhadakne Do, but they are far-stretched and too insipid to leave a mark. As the film came to a long and halted close, I stretched my legs and felt something a miss. Even though nothing substantial happens, Akhtar makes you hold your pee pre-interval just because you have faith in her and the people on-board. But as the movie proceeds you just crave for something good to come your way. The emotions don't hit the right spot, the screenplay drags leaving you helpless with every passing second, and quite like The Mehra's you want to shout at the film to get a kick-start but you don't just because you are too nice.
Much like Zoya Akhtar's previous film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Dhadakne Do basically deals with people suffering from First World problems. The film travels across the world as their perspectives about life, people and everything that's wrong with them, changes.
I never complained about the theme of the film, because I knew that Zoya Akhtar could pull it off. But alas! she had me in splits here. First of all, even though ZNMD was about people from the First World, it was quite relate-able as it had quirky characters and touchy and realistic moments. Dil Dhadakne Do has all the potential to do what it was supposed to do, but the tiresome screenplay and the snail-pace doesn't work in its way.
The film is about The Mehra's and their 10 day cruise where they are to celebrate their anniversary. The odds are not in their favor. The filthy rich couple is on the verge of being bankrupt and their only way out is getting their son who is a good-for-nothing-nobody to marry one of their associates's daughter. On the other hand, their own daughter, who is a self-made women is not happy with her marriage and wants a divorce. The film is about a lot of things but mostly its about acceptance. The greatest problem that a family faces is accepting their loved ones for who they really are. The Mehra's are decisive but naive, inert but greedy, rich but stupid. Their greatest strength lies in them bonding together, but pretty much like every other family the words that are needed to make things right never leave their mouths.
Dil Dhadkne Do is not half as bad as millions of other commercial films but only if it had relied on real emotions and feelings to convey its central theme. Like Javed Saab's poetry in ZNMD which was a midas touch to the already good film, we have a strange voice-over where the family dog walks you through the film. The sad part is, rather than relying on the subtlety of the moments, we are forced to listen to the voice-over describing every single thing to you. I'm not saying that the Animal vs Human analogy used is bad but after a certain period of time it just doesn't feel right. Imagine a man fishing in the sea while someone describes every single emotion on the man's face. How strange would that be?
If you are really going to watch Dil Dhadkne Do, watch it for the amazing locales and breathtaking cinematography. Its strange how even in a mediocre film everything looks so beautiful. Also, the performances are great. Specially by Shefali Shah and Anil Kapoor. There's a scene where Shefali stuffs her mouth with chocolate cake. It's moments like these which could have made the film an amazing drama, but sadly didn't.
Final Verdict: I really liked the third act of the film, but to get there you need a truck-load of popcorn and a lot of patience. There's a good film in here but it got lost somewhere in the sea.
(ALSO PUBLISHED IN JAM MAGAZINE)
Dil Dhadakne Do looks redundant from the surface, but it's meaningful inside. The film is based on a family kinship. Here the story is being portrayed by a rich but dysfunctional family. Their world is filled with quandaries, just like any other family. The account is about how they look into these problems and try to overcome them to make their lives peacefully.
Everyone acted their best. I found Anil Kapoor and Ranveer Singh the best of the lot. I adored Anushka and found Ridhima Sud dainty. Yes, the dog aka Pluto is cute and narrates the story in his way.
The soundtrack is terrible, but the background score is quite good. The cinematography is superior.
Zoya Akhtar's director is good. She takes a diverse yet good case. Don't equate this with her earlier one.
Overall the movie's runtime is big, but deserves a watch. The movie is flawed but sensible, practical and relevant to our life in some way or another.
Visually pleasing but lacks emotional depth and connectivity which was there in the previous movies of Zoya Akhtar (ZNMD & Luck By Chance). This movie can easily be given a miss and can be seen on a DVD instead.
“Glossy wrappers lack good gifts” is a phrase that might have to take a small break from the real world, for Zoya delivers such an enjoyable piece of art that it becomes tough to get over the impact. Dil Dhadakne Do is happiness gifted to us by Zoya, in a really glossy gift paper.
When the film begins, we come to know the internal problems through which the Mehras are suffering. A family headed by a headstrong couple who are desperate to expand their failing business, Mehra parivar is nothing but an exaggerated reflection of our own families. A modern high class family with primitive thoughts.
The best thing about the film is the way in which Zoya has played with relationships. For instance, we have never seen siblings which are so supportive of each other. Instead, we have always seen a boring, love-hate-fighting relationship. It is thoroughly examined that the film is a visual masterpiece, credit here to the cinematographer. Dialogues, by Farhan Akhtar are outstanding. They win the audience’s heart and thus, win half the race. The background music is average. The music is decent, with Gallan Goodiyaan being an impressively enjoyable song in the film. The script is quite convenient. For a director like Zoya, who has the guts to direct fearless films, this kind of script does not quite suit. A dog being used to narrate human behaviour is again not very admirable. This narration tool should be used only when your film needs to connect to the masses of small towns, in order to make them understand. But Zoya, knowing her target audience should not actually have used this style. In films like DDD, such narration acts as quite a distraction when audience is enjoying delightful scenes, and they suddenly get a tip on human behaviour, something that quite fails to make any impact. Another flaw comes when Kamal Mehra decides a cruise trip. Now, not even the richest of all kings would dare to pay for a cruise trip when facing bankruptcy. Again, the film’s climax is very hurried. In fact, it packs up without even giving a proper ending. But the climax, despite being such a hurried one, has a strange feel good factor about it.
Performances are by far the best thing about this film. Ranveer Singh as Kabir Mehra does a wicked job. It is for the first time after Lootera, that he has done something so good as to be honoured. Special mention should be given to his sublime comic timing. Moreover, the way his character develops through the film is remarkable. He starts off as a man who is absolutely aimless in life, one who is a spoilt brat before everyone but his parents, seeming very confident on the crust, but very nervous inside. And by the end of the movie, even the fear of his parents has vaporised, and in a very realistic way.
Priyanka Chopra as Ayesha Mehra is very good. Hers is a role of a smart, yet grounded woman, and she does justice to it. The best thing about her is that despite having such a nervous role, it is her body language that brings comedy in her parts.
Anil Kapoor as Kamal Mehta is absolutely outstanding. He delivers the best performance in the film. He is a real character to be remembered. He is facing bankruptcy, and yet prefers to pay for a cruise trip to keep his respect high. He appears to be a very steel hearted man, but yet, when a finger is put on his daughter, he’ll choke you to death. Splendid.
Shefali Shah as Neelam Mehta is again very good. A woman who seems to be modern, but can go to any limit to save her daughter from a divorce. A woman who fights her tears when her husband ignores her for other women on her anniversary, she is a very strong character.
Anushka Sharma in her role is quite good, while Farhan Akhtar leaves us rooting for him. Rahul bose also gives a good support, while Ridhima Sud as Nuri seems to be a trained perfectionist.
On a whole, Dil Dhadakne Do is a really enjoyable fare. Although the kind of film it is, it deserved a lot more than being victimised by such a flawed script. Yet this heavily inappropriate script cannot stop this film from being a good watch. Even its hurried climax has a feel good factor about it.