‘Pyar Dosti Hai’ – Karan Johar defined love for us in 1998 when he made the blockbuster Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Almost two decades later, he revisits the theme of friendship, heart break and one sided love with Ae Dil Hai Muskil. Of course, the characters here are more mature and situations more real. Heck! You don’t even see Triumphal Arch or London Eye.
The film starts off very well and Karan builds on the friendship between Ayan (Terrific Ranbir) and Anushka (Brilliant Anushka) beautifully. Ayan is a rich billionaire who is studying MBA (he wants to be a singer though) while Alizeh is recovering from a broken relationship. They bond over cheesy Bollywood songs from the 80’s, dance on Baby Doll in Yoga classes, do a Yash Chopra film song in the mountains and even sing a Hindi Karaoke in a pub in Paris. Basically, they are mad people and you cannot help but enjoy their madness. While these evoke moments of joy, fun and laughter; there are some genuine heartfelt moments between the two protagonists. Alizeh ‘explaining’ Ayan what heartbreak actually feels like (Keeping a mortal-pestle on his heart) as she has experienced one or Ayan & Alizeh wrapped in a quilt on a cold winter night, discussing their relationship where the former expresses his ‘attraction’ to latter but she believes it’s only friendship are pure gems. I was particularly moved when Ayan pleads Alizeh to marry him at her wedding by keeping a flower pot on his chest to demonstrate the pain. This is Johar at his best. He knows how to manipulate with the emotions and he does that unabashedly, making you reach out to your tissues.
Second half of the film sees a heartbroken Ayan meeting Saba (Gorgeous Aishwarya) who is a shayara. She writes, he sings and their wounded hearts find solace in each other. However, this is not permanent because first love in a Karan Johar film is not easy to forget and though Ayan is physically involved with Saba, he remains emotionally attached to Alizeh. Even though her part comes with clumsy Urdu lines, she does justice to her role and leaves an impact in a short role. Shah Rukh in a cameo does well and when he says ‘Ek Tarfa Pyar Ki Taakat’ line you know no one does this better than him and how you wish he was young once again.
Johar is a master story teller and he is one of the best we have when it comes to portraying the complexity of relationships but post Aishwarya’s exit the film didn’t work for me.
I am a sucker for Karan Johar dramas and I have never been bothered about the length of his films but how I wish this was a bit shorter. Some of the scenes seemed forced making no sense and I was eventually tired of Ayan’s broken heart act. So much that I stopped feeling for Ayan and Alizeh. I was neither moved when Ayan slept for 2 says in freezing cold on a terrace waiting for Alizeh nor did I feel bad when Ayan cries like a child outside her hotel. I was also bothered about excessive use of Urdu because this is not Karan Johar’s forte and this was him trying to be someone else.
Even though she had a blink & miss appearance in Student of the Year, when Farida Jalal dies in the film, I cried a lot. In fact I still drop a tear whenever I watch it. This is the power of Karan Johar. But he seems to have lost that in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. Even after investing more than 2 hours in the characters, I didn’t cry when one of them dies.
It’s not a bad film at all but the Karan Johar magic is missing. May be he should get back to doing what he does best and stop being so real. Meanwhile, I shall probably revisit Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna which remains my favorite Johar film 🙂