Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: Karan Johar needs to deliver a newer, sharper film

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: Anushka Sharma is familiar, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan catches the eye but it is Ranbir Kapoor who lifts the film. He is terrific as the fellow who crumbles, and cries and shoves his aching heart on his sleeve.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Shubhra Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: October 29, 2016 8:34 am
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: This Karan Johar film is all over the place and stretched at ends. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: This Karan Johar film is all over the place and stretched at ends.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Lisa Haydon, Fawad Khan
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie director: Karan Johar

When I opt for a Karan Johar film, I want the stuff that he does best — the impossibly beautiful people, the lovely foreign locations, the humungous homes, the songs-and-the-dances, the zardozi and the flash — in spades.

What I also want is the heightened emotions and the messy love you-hate you-can’t live without you moments that he manages to create in his most felt work. He has to make me feel enough so I can keep the glitter at bay.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil scores high on the first count. You can’t get better-looking actors than Ranbir Kapoor-Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-Anushka Sharma-Fawad Khan. You can’t get more atmospheric cities than London and Paris, ohhh. And instead of New York, there’s Vienna. So far, all slurp worthy.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: Watch ADHM audience reaction


But Johar is unable to go the extra mile it in the other department, leaving you wanting both more and less: less of the incessant yak-yak (you want to tell these impeccably-styled people to stop and draw breath and then speak, so that they, and we, can absorb the moment they’ve created), less of the non-stop background music (if it is real, you don’t have to underline it), less of the frantic reaching for the next old Bollywood classic line or song (because too many of these, and ‘Ae Dil’ is stuffed with these references, makes your brand new film feel same old); and more silence (the most effective parts of the film happen when it’s quiet), and more fresh plot points.

Also read | Shivaay movie review: This is Ajay Devgn’s show all the way

Meet Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and Ali (Fawad Khan), the four who play ring around the roses with each other. Ayan is ‘private-jet’ rich but wants to be a singer, the out-going Alizeh loves Ali, and the happily divorced Saba is looking for love.

The most flavoursome relationship dramas, where characters pair up, leave, and return, are a compendium of sighs and tears and moments where you want the lovers to fall into each other’s arms because you can’t bear to see them apart. But I didn’t get there in ‘Ae Dil’. Or at least in not more than a couple of places.

That’s because of a lack in focus: this he falls in love with her-she loves another-he falls in lust with another-she teaches him how like is better than love is all over the place and stretched at ends, the intervening bits filled with songs (club, shaadi, even a ‘break-up’ ditty) and dialogue (yes, not lines, but dialogues, in the old-fashioned way: why, when your characters inhabit the here and now?). Sure, they play ‘shayars’ and singers, but their delivery makes a lot of those conversations feel forced and cheesy.

Also read | Ae Dil Hai Mushkil vs Shivaay: How the films stack up against each other

Of the actors, Sharma comes off most familiar even when she is the one who is given a clear departure. Rai Bachchan is eye-catching as the older, experienced woman but I wish she was given more time to channel hurt. Poor Fawad Khan, over whom so much controversy broke out, is dishy but doesn’t really have much to do.

Lisa Haydon comes on in a walk-on part as a ditsy girl and is a hoot. But the one who lifts this film, or as much as he can, is Ranbir. As the fellow who crumbles and cries and shoves his aching heart on his sleeve even when letting a pretty thing wipe his eyes, he is terrific.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil movie review: 5 reasons to watch ADHM

There’s a nice bro-moment between Fawad and Ranbir when the film sparks to life. And you wonder if this pair shared more screen space, would the se ‘dils’ have been in a little less ‘mushkil’ ?

I’m going to think more on that, and listen to some weepy old songs, and hope that Johar will come up with something newer and sharper the next time around.

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First Published on: October 28, 2016 12:06 pm
  1. R
    Feb 5, 2017 at 9:49 pm
    After Lisa left the script, it was plain and simple torture ......
    1. A
      Oct 28, 2016 at 9:42 pm
      Whoever is the critic ... that's such a wannabe way of writing .... purely speaking on the basis of your review .. the way you write ... it's kinda outdated now .... hone your skills
      1. S
        Oct 30, 2016 at 12:45 pm
        Not even worth watching once lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Don't waste ur time .. n surviving this film for 2 hrs is also mushkil hi Janaab ..
        1. C
          Nov 1, 2016 at 1:40 am
          3rd Cl movie
          1. D
            Nov 11, 2016 at 1:38 pm
            Worst Indian Movie. Very Upset to see the way Indian News Editors are giving rating on 1st 3 Weeks to earn good return of Business. I am sure media is sold by Producer of this movie. Mr.Johar , Do not make People full. Needless to say Bollywood has no standard. 2016 not a single indian movie is up to international standard. All Cheap nonsense attempt to make people full
            1. D
              Dharmendra aund
              Oct 31, 2016 at 1:38 am
              Shivaay is a must watch movie.
              1. G
                GOUTAM SAHU
                Oct 29, 2016 at 1:42 pm
                Bakw movie....... Waste my money...... Just a kind of boring movies...... Karan stop making movies......... You made just pathetic kind of movie.... Ek dom Baja cinema...... Amar Ektu o valo lagenee.
                1. H
                  Oct 28, 2016 at 6:47 am
                  Boss you call this a review ? It means nothing and tells anything but about this movie!
                  1. J
                    Jehan Mohamed
                    Oct 28, 2016 at 9:06 am
                    Overal its a good movie. The film starts with some exciting scenes but gets boring in the half end. Not as expected I was waiting to watch a movie as good as kuch kuch hota hain and kabhi alvida na kehna.
                    1. M
                      Madhuri singh
                      Oct 29, 2016 at 11:17 am
                      Senseless movie...y karan has to make sm movie every time... When he has best of every thing at his disposal.. B it actor , banner, technicians, ppl who r ready to oblige him.....
                      1. M
                        Oct 28, 2016 at 9:45 am
                        The movie was awesome...Ranbir was brilliant...loved it..for all the hullabaloo fawad had barely two scenes...must watch
                        1. S
                          Nov 10, 2016 at 3:02 pm
                          One of the worst movie i have watched. I just did not understand the movie. Besides anything else discussed in the review and other comments is that there was clearly lack of characters in the movie to lift the movie.
                          1. R
                            Nov 2, 2016 at 3:48 am
                            Do you play Clash of Clans? Try Strongest clans get gems from here! (y4tTX)
                            1. S
                              Oct 30, 2016 at 4:37 am
                              Good filim ..#fun
                              1. Y
                                Young Indian
                                Oct 28, 2016 at 6:58 am
                                Is this a review or just a writeup about the movie lt;br/gt;?
                                1. Y
                                  Young Indian
                                  Oct 28, 2016 at 6:57 am
                                  in simple words it is just a paid review
                                  1. T
                                    Oct 29, 2016 at 1:13 pm
                                    Balwas movie by hijra johar
                                    1. T
                                      Tridib pal
                                      Oct 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm
                                      Madam have you ever loved any Bollywood movie in the last 2 years?your taste no is no longer in sync with people's taste. I stopped having faith in you when you compared Shiva Ananda nath, prabhas dance near the waterfall in baahubali to mere lyril ad. You should stick to Hollywood. Maybe that will match your expectation.
                                      1. U
                                        Uma Ghate
                                        Oct 28, 2016 at 2:09 pm
                                        Can not help if I am a sucker for romance , this movie is a clic example of a lot of tears of joy and tears of sadness . Four well defined characters, eyes that speak and conversations that make you laugh as well as make you feel . A bit lengthy second half but the romantic me swam through the emotional tsunami . A must see if the heart wants to jump and fly
                                        1. अण्णाजी
                                          Oct 28, 2016 at 8:11 am
                                          So IE decides not to measure this one on their sclare of STARS.
                                          1. A
                                            Abhishek TIwari
                                            Nov 1, 2016 at 8:51 am
                                            Only a total moron would rate this higher than Shivaay.
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