Dil Dhadhakne Do Movie Review

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Starring: Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Farhan Akhtar, Rahul Bose & Riddima Sud
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Writers: Zoya Akhtar & Reema Kagti
Cinemotographer: Carlos Catalan
Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Producers: Excel Entertainment, Junglee Pictures
Distributed by: Eros International
Zoya Akhtar’s ‘Dil Dhadhakne Do’ extends the central argument of her thoroughly entertaining ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’; that of following your heart’s desires over diktats of conventions & calculated choices. This time, Zoya extends her universe of the super rich, super swanky to include a dysfunctional Punjabi family, and adds layers to their interpersonal relationships. Only in the process, her point and effort at times, feels labored. An introspective, visually soothing journey within, at times, this trip lacks a booster dose of intensity.

The film is narrated in Aamir Khan’s voice, through the eyes of the wizened family dog, Pluto. In brief, the Mehras- Anil Kapoor & Shefali Shah- are a wealthy, successful married couple where the husband is a self made success story; and the wife is a socialite with a shrewd strategic mind. The marriage is a sham and their kids- Ranveer Singh & Priyanka Chopra- knows it. They also suffer it’s side effects. The son is expected to inherit their business empire, even as his wants to be a pilot; and their daughter, the successful entrepreneur, is not considered ‘family’ after her marriage. She is married to Rahul Bose, in another shambolic set up. All four and a collection of family friends set off on a luxury cruise to celebrate 30 years of marriage for the Mehras. Here, chance encounters & past liaisons bring the brother & sister closer to their reality of wanting to live life on their own terms. And the film concludes in a predictable climax. A luxury cruise with wine, blue waters, tables laden with exotic dishes & catchy songs are part of a luxuriant mise en scene.
The film’s biggest victory is it’s succinct but firm handling of hypocrisy. By playing out nuances of petty rivalries between society wives, petty competition between business bigwigs & overarching fakeness of marriages, Zoya & her co writer Reema highlight the inherent dysfunctional but compulsive hypocrisies of Indian society. A second advantage that makes this film eminently watchable is its cast- Anil Kapoor is brilliant and Ranveer Singh is definitely more evolved and impressive in this role. Priyanka Chopra handles a conflicted role with finesse; although one wishes her character’s angst had some more screen time. Farhan Akhtar is competent in his role even as Anushka Sharma feels somewhat under utilized. Shefali Shah is also fairly convincing as the suffering rich housewife who has little choice over her fate. Its supporting cast of the family’s friends adds the much-needed garnish of comic relief & realistic conversations.
Where the film falters is its narrative. There are moments where too many layers are playing out simultaneously and have little room to breathe together. This becomes distracting. A few crucial scenes give you a sense of inadequate completion; giving you the feeling of leaving engaging conversation mid way. Subtly conveying human emotions is Zoya’s strong suit; but at times, this film leaves you with a sense of unfinished drama.
Zoya has also tackled a crucial issue- that of an empowered woman seeking to leave a husband on grounds of dissatisfaction- aptly. One hopes that audiences view this element of the film objectively, and not with judgment. Accepting that a woman really might have a choice is still not common.
A detail that struck me is the engagement of this film with exotic Mediterranean ports; languid walks, soaking up the sea & sight seeing hardly find place in this crowded ensemble piece. What comes to mind is ‘Death on the Nile’- the Hercule Poirot films with a similar setting. Influences of a journey on giving perspective to a confused soul draws from it’s locations; which Zoya did so well in ZNMD. One doesn’t see that bit in this film.
Having said that, DDD is great timepass, and it’s a beautiful, visual story interspersed equally with laughter & introspection. Watch it for the family & the truism of dysfunctional relationships. You will be entertained.
The Final Verdict:
Ticket Price Value 75 Percent.

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