Dil Dhadakne Do
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Farhan Akhtar
With her debut film Luck By Chance- an incisive inside look at film industry and the follow-up Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara- a brilliant buddy movie with a ‘Follow your passion’- theme, Zoya Akhtar earned the right to be called the most talented female director in Bollywood. But instead of cashing on that reputation, the talented Akhtar (sharing her creative genes with pop Javed Akhtar, mum Honey Irani and bro Farhan) took a long hiatus. Finally 4 years after her award-sweeping 2011 ZNMD-success, she has come back with Dil Dhadakne Do. So how does the film fare?
What’s the plot?
A self-made egoistic billionaire businessman (Anil Kapoor), his frustrated wife (Shefali Shah), confused bachelor son (Ranveer Singh) and unhappily married daughter (Priyanka Chopra) make up The Mehras, an archetypal high society dysfunctional family. The Mehra family business is in doldrums. The worried power couple cooks up a devious scheme to pair up their son with a rich potential investor’s daughter. It looks like the perfect lucrative deal to secure a high net-worth business partner. A 10 day long boat-cruise to Turkey and Greece to celebrate Mehras’ 30th wedding anniversary is the perfect ruse to advance this cause. With family and friends in tow, the cruise takes off. But with so many young and old hearts with so many hidden agendas thrown together, this trip is not going to be only about merry-making and match-making; it is going to change many lives forever!
· More than anything else, DDD is a director’s film. Zoya Akhtar uses a wide colorful canvas to create a watchable contemporary high society drama enacted on high sea and against the backdrop of some scenic locations.
· She tells her story in an unhurried fashion and keeps it light-hearted and entertaining. There is plenty of fun, wit, romance and drama (not to forget some well-choreographed song-and-dance sequences) to satisfy the box office needs.
· More than the mere entertainment part, I was impressed by the director’s ability to peel off the layers of human emotions and relationships. The always busy, always on the prowl, egomaniac businessmen with their chauvinistic attitudes; the catty housewives whiling away their lives in idle gossip, fussing over designer wears, neighbors’ affairs, sons’ careers, daughters’ marriages and non-existent health problems; the young and restless children feeling pressured by pushy parents to do something which they don’t want to do…Zoya insightfully portrays the complex world of Delhi’s hi-fi Punjabi business community through engaging characters and sequences.
· A love marriage breaking down over the years as a result of non-communication, indiscretions and insecurities; an arranged marriage failing to work because of physical and emotional incompatibility; the couples becoming strangers and staying together for the sake of public image and financial compulsions; emotions being replaced by practiced chores….Zoya’s portrayal of decaying marriages is so spot on!
· The Mehras hog the spotlight in acting department. The way in which Anil Kapoor (sporting silvery hair for a change!) portrays the crude, confident, arrogant and yet vulnerable Mr. Mehra is one stupendous performance laced with deadpan humor. As his screen-wife Shefali Shah once again proves what a good actress she is. Her irritable, indifferent, outwardly impeccable and inwardly insecure Mrs. Mehra is simply wonderful.
· Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh look the perfect Mehra siblings and enact their respective roles with panache. Anushka Sharma, Farhan Akhtar and Rahul Bose carry their parts well but their roles are clearly secondary in the script.
· The boatload of supporting cast is very good in portraying the variety of idiosyncratic characters.
· Aamir Khan’s voice-over for Pluto Mehra, the family dog, who plays the narrator!
· Too elitist, urbanized theme which may feel alien to mainstream Indian audience.
· Too many characters and plot tracks.
· The languid pace sometimes bothers.
· The climax feels half-baked, hurried and ineffective.
· The message that ‘Every heart should follow what it truly desires’ does not really come through strongly.
If you don’t compare to its far better predecessor ZNMD, then DDD is yet another well-directed and well-acted watchable entertainer from Zoya Akhtar. The lady is a fab director who makes enjoyable contemporary flicks, manages to speak between the lines and certainly knows how the human minds and relationships work!