Director : Karan Johar
Starring : Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai, Fawad Khan
This Review contains spoilers.
रंजिश ही सही दिल ही दुखाने के लिए आ
आ फिर से मुझे छोड़ के जाने के लिये आ
This Ahmad Faraz ghazal is one of my favorites… it speaks of unrequited love, love that is forgiving, angry, pleading, crying, aggressive, submissive… all at the same time… hopeless while waiting with hope… unfulfilled love is the most haunting…
Karan Johar weaves a tale of love, but unlike his other love stories, this one feels the most real… So a big fresh surprise from him, and one that I like.
Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) is a poor little rich boy, who can summon a private jet, but has deep abandonment issues with his mom having left him when he was two, Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) is sassy, confident and seems sorted, but as you get to know her, she has a scarred heart too, one that yearns for pain, pain that loving someone who destroys you brings… The two meet in a night-club and instantly hit it off… The first half deals with their growing friendship…. Till the point Ayan has fallen totally and completely in love with her… But she loves Ali (Fawad Khan). Of course she loves the one who hurt her…. And despite Ayan’s pleas, she drops everything and follows her heart… because, Dil toh paagal hai… a heart wants what it wants.
We have seen love triangles aplenty, Kjo himself has made them relevant again for the genX, but here he breaks his own mould. Ek tarafa pyaar gets a punch I had seen before in Raanjhanaa. But unlike Raanjhanaa, Ayan and Alizehh are best friends first. One can even think of Anjali and Rahul in a newer, hipper avatar as far as camaraderie goes, but if KKHH talks of friendship being love… our hero here puts a new spin to it. To him, as he spouts many of the Bollywood quotable dialogues… Ladka Ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte.
But infusing freshness in to love aaj kal as we know it, the girl just doesn’t love her best friend. She is not Anjali after all.
One of biggest achievement of this film is Karan Johar’s. He has taken a risk, no holds barred and retold a love story which though has all his trademarks, yet is nothing like he has done before. His Ayan is under-confident, a hero who is told in the first few minutes after meeting the heroine that he is a bad kisser… he cries rolling on the pavement after finding his girlfriend twining tongues with Alizeh’s boyfriend… And she is hero-like offering shelter and shoulder to him… In a way similar to Rockstar, Alizeh tells Ayan, who is an aspiring singer hating his MBA course… that a voice void of real pain is never going to touch anyone… the day his heart really suffers being crushed in pieces… will his voice come alive…
Predictably enough his heart is shattered by Alizeh’s marriage to DJ Ali… but his dard is not enough to get the girl… For Alizeh, her love is not her best friend… First left by his mother and now by the girl who owns his heart… Ayan lashes out, angry, petulant, entitled, and finally the futility hits him as he leaves Alizeh.
Rejection is an emotion hardest to accept… dare I say, specially by men… The fact that a girl can spurn them, as if the only reason for a girl to love them back is because they have professed their feelings is tough for them to handle. As if heart-break trumps all claims of the girl that she doesn’t love them… Ayan can not fathom Alizeh’s rejection, how can she not love him? HOW?
But he is no acid-thrower, home destroyer… the hero walks away and out of her life. But not before (one of my favorite scenes in the film) cursing Ali and her, wishing a painful death upon them, his pain at being turned down lashing out sharp and hard.
So with a broken heart, as his voice finds power, he finds an alluring, older woman, a Shairaa (Poetess) Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan)… Our bad kisser has come a long way as he shares passionate embraces, lingering love-making… and another triangle is born… Love and longing keeps making connections and separations… as we are introduced to her ex husband (Shahrukh) who still loves her…and it all seems unfair…. But then who said love is a safe bet, when actually in love all bets are off. The ek tarafa pyaar seems to be an ailment all are suffering from in ADHM…
Ranbir has unlearned everything as if taking his clothes off and bares himself like you have not seen before. Right in the opening minutes of the film, he sits quietly, letting his eyes, his quivering lips, his vulnerable demeanour do the talking and clutches your heartstrings… and the last few seconds… is where he strums them like an expert player… I can watch this film again just to see his Ayan. Yes we have seen this turn in Rockstar but you would see the difference, a honing and going even deeper in ADMH. The boy seems to have grown up…
Anushka Sharma, assured like never before, lives Alizeh vibrantly. She is a perfect foil to Ayan. Together with Ranbir, she brings every scene to life, making you forget it is a make-believe world, because they actually make you believe everything that goes on. This performance is pitch perfect.
Aishwarya is stunning, and shares a smouldering chemistry with Ranbir. Their scenes together crackle, even though she doesn’t impress me as the Shaira, her urdu, heavy “dialogues” not ringing true. But does she wow, oh yes!! More please, thank you.
Fawad Khan is there for a minuscule portion, wonder if his role was chopped off thanks to all the controversy. But he of course looks delicious!
Lisa Haydon is adorable as the ditzy, cotton candy for a brain girlfriend of Ayan. She has made the most of the cameo.
Oh and SRK!! In just a one scene special appearance he has made me go all weak kneed and ogly eyed. Still has it, my Shahrukh.
So problem kidhar hai? You must be wondering… This film is let down by the weird and banal twist in the second half, where a stage four cancer stricken Alizeh barring the shaved head, looks as fresh as a Daisy. This twist takes the film plunging down with it, as if to remove a person from the equation, permanently is the only solution. this spells sudden death for a movie that was extremely engaging thus far. What is even more banal than the twist, is the treatment of it all, the glamorization, the Kjofication left me disappointed.
Go watch it, because despite the problems, this film is definitely worth a watch, and offers a lot to love.
My Verdict : 3/5