I have decided to do short reviews of films whenever I am low on time. Yes. That works better for everyone reading it as well. So yay!
Okay, so first things first. It is not easy to make family films, and I am not talking about the ones we necessarily feel we can watch with our families, but the ones which have the story of a family at its centerpiece. Most of the times, you have the risk of falling into the cliched tropes of daily soaps or indulging in drama sagas like early 2000s. But Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do manages to steer clear of all such banalities. It ‘s a fresh satirical take on a dysfunctional Mehra family based out of Delhi who plan a lavish cruise to attract business investors and resurrect the falling image of their company. Their bigger problems lie within them as Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) is a patriarch who doesn’t mind having affairs with younger women but won’t give his own daughter a rightful position; Kabir Mehra (Ranveer Singh) has always grown under the shadow of his father but never learnt to stand up for his dreams; Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah) who puts up with all the upper class hoopla and her husband just because she had no option but to reinforce Kamal’s patriarchy; and finally Ayesha Mehra (Priyanka Chopra) who landed herself in a hurried marriage but is seemingly the most sane member of the family. There is also Pluto Mehra, their dog, voiced by Aamir Khan who preaches just like Aamir in Satyamev Jayate and though the dog calls himself the sanest member of the family, he is plain simple boring, trying to spoon feed the audience.
DDD is not a masterpiece, but it manages to do a lot of things right. One scene in the hospital room after Kamal gets a stroke is one of the best written scenes in recent history. There are many more such lime fresh genuine which strikingly expose the hypocrisy of the rich and the behaved class of our society. Zoya handles them with ease, and the actors rise and shine upto every opportunity. Literally, every choice of casting is spot on. But in the end, it is Ranveer’s restraint and Anil’s intensity that form the rim of this rainbow. Even with a runtime of 170 minutes, DDD is extremely engaging due to its dry humor soaked screenplay.
The problem with DDD lies in its plot. The problems of each character are too small for the time it takes for them to come around them. It takes a lot of time to setup and set voyage, unlike the cruise they are on. But then, Zoya and Reema Kagti’s screenplay is more about those small moments. Some subplots involving smaller characters are not well exploited so much so that, you feel that even Farah (Anushka Sharma) and Kabir’s love story does not get its full due. Sunny (Farhan Akhtar) is Ayesha’s ex-boyfriend who is brought in just to expose her failed marriage with Manav (Rahul Bose) and it sort of kills the film’s idea of feminism. Again, the undercurrent of forced career choices does not get its resolution as Kabir must not worry about work, he can just manage by saving his love life. But then in a weird cynical and yet realistic way, dysfunctional families don’t really solve their problems. Here, they confront them, reconcile and move on. Most technical aspects of the film are stunning except for the OST which is just meh.
On the whole, Dil Dhadakne Do is definitely Zoya’s weakest film, but not a weak film overall. It is largely entertaining, and save for Aamir’s ‘stare-into-your-soul’ voiceover, is a very well made film as well. I don’t think I need to say it as most of us are already running to the theaters to watch it. One small thing Zoya, give us another Luck By Chance.
Rating – 3/5