Dil Dhadakne Do: Redefining the Indian Family
Family entertainers in Bollywood reminds you of two names Rajshri Productions and Sooraj Barjatya, where the large family sings, dances, laughs and cries together with their “Sanskar” intact.
Zoya Akhtar’s “Dil Dhadakne Do” redefines the Indian family or should I say the Indian High Society family. Portraying the Mehra’s, Zoya dissects the hypocrisy, the fakeness and the make believe world the so called high society families live in.
DDD is primarily a story of the Mehra family, a rich Punjabi family from Delhi which is headed by Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) the father, Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah) the mother, Ayesha Mehra/Sanga (Priyanka Chopra) the daughterand Kabir Mehra (Ranveer Singh) the youngest son and heir to the Mehra Empire, not to forget the cute Pluto Mehra (Aamir Khan’s voice) the dog, who is the narrator as well.
So the plot unravels in the luxury cruise where the Mehra’s are celebrating 30 years of Kamal & Neelam Mehra’s, Wedding Anniversary with their friends, or should I say so called friends. How the skeletons of the Mehra family comes out of the closet, the so called business deals in the name of family ties, the bitchiness of the high society crème del a crème wives and the merry go round of relationships constituents the premise of DDD.
Story & Screenplay written by Zoya Akhtar & Reema Kagti emphasizes the relations and their complexities, how we fake in front of the world and how an Image in the society is more important than the feelings and relationship. But the biggest flaw of the movie is its pace. In an attempt to make it realistic somewhere the writers compromised on the pace. Another issue with the script was that it focused on too many issues of the heart and the end result was that none of the issues made any impact. But some sequences are so impactful that it remains with us long after the movie is over like the confrontation scene of Sunny and Manav, the pre climax hospital scene between Kabir and Neelam and all the sequences when Pluto is narrating the story. The one relationship which becomes the highlight of DDD is the relationship of the sibling Ayesha & Kabir, all their sequences do not have too many dialogues but their expressions said it all. The principal characters of Kamal, Neelam, Ayesha and Kabir are very well written, especially Kabir’s character which starts being a not so confident guy to a guy who comes on his own, the transition is shown beautifully. The screen time of 170 mins is another flaw, which could have been edited at least by 30 mins. The biggest flaw was the climax which according to me was NOT well defined and concluded.
The dialogues written by Farhan Akhtar is witty and yet impactful. Javed Akhtar’s dialogue of Pluto gives that necessary impact which was required.
The best USP of the movie are the performances, starting with Anil Kapoor who plays Kamal Mehra, his portrayal as the dominating, egoistic control freak yet weak and vulnerable when alone, is spot on and Anil yet again proves his mettle as a performer. Ayesha played by Priyanka Chopra was the most difficult role of the movie, a strong headed individual yet being loyal to her parents was not an easy portrayal, but Priyanka does it brilliantly and convincingly. Ranveer Singh’s portrayal of Kabir is the highlight of the movie, his portrayal goes through various layers and Ranveer portrays it seamlessly. Rather for the first time Ranveer’s scenes wherein he does not have any dialogues yet he creates an impact with his expression, I think this is Ranveer’s second best portrayal after “Band Bajaa Baraat” . I have to mention Pluto the dog, he was so cute that he remains in with you even when the movie gets over, and Aamir Khan’s voice over enhances the impact. Shefali Shah as Neelam Mehra gives the most restrained performance and it works wonders and makes her stand out in the ensemble cast, I must say Shefali is the most under rated and under used actress of Bollywood. Anushka Sharma as Farah Ali is wasted and her character is not only brief but does not add too much, she is decent in whatever she is given but does not create any impact. Farhan Akhtar as Sunny is a guest appearance role, but every sequences he over shadows the rest in the frame, Farhan’s aura is impeccable and I think one of the best guest appearance role in recent time. Rest of the cast comprising of Divya Seth, Manoj Pahwa, Parmeet Sethi, Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, newcomer Ridhima Sud, Vikram Massey, Ayesha Raza, Vandana Sajnani, Dolly Matoo everybody did an excellent job and enhanced the overall impact of the movie.
Carlos Catalan’s cinematography remains the highlight of DDD as it was for Zoya’s previous movies “Luck By Chance” & “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”, all sequences across India, Turkey, France, Italy, Spain and Tunisia has been captured beautifully and takes the movie a few notches higher.
Costume design by Arjun Bhasin, as usual is classy yet understated and apt for each character. Neil Patel’s Production design captures the mood of the movie well. The editing by Anand Subaya and Manan Mehta was the weakest; I think the editing could have been crisp.
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is not that great excluding the title song and Galla Goodiyan song which has been picturised by Bosco-Ceaser well, the other song which has been well choreographed is “Girls can Swing”.
Zoya Akhtar scores high on performances that she has extracted from the ensemble cast but unfortunately fails in creating a cohesive screenplay and fails miserably in concluding the movie. I would say DDD is Zoya’s weakest film till date.
I would say a huge opportunity lost with such a crackling star cast if the screenplay would have been good then it would have a classic for sure….I will go with 3 stars (One additional star for the performances)…
Movie Rating: (3 / 5)
Watch the trailer