Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) vs Shivaay – Diwali Patakas | Review after watching both the same evening!

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After many light years worth of wait, Ajay Devgan’s Shivaay and Ranbir Kapoor-Anushka Sharma-Aishwarya Rai-Fawad Khan’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil finally released yesterday and I must say, those 6 hours spent watching them back to back, were worth all that wait and desperation.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil

Rating – 2.5/5

Starting with ADHM, the most controversial film of the year so far, all thanks to the hot-as-hell Fawad Khan and Karan Johar’s press statements, it can be called as a better, contemporary version of all of the KJo’s movies combined. Looking at the plot of the film, you are forced to say, “Aah, same old, same old.” but at the same time, it gives wings to your dreams of living in London, alone and carefree. If only real life were like Karan Johar’s movies. Sure, there are people who have this in reality, but in Johar’s films, people are given professions for cosmetic reasons, the way dressing is added to salads. Everyday realities aren’t always taken into account.

So, in his latest film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Ayan Sanger (Ranbir Kapoor) is purportedly studying for an MBA degree, but secretly harbors dreams of being a singer. Yet, once this is established, it never really comes in the way when Ayan embarks upon impulsive European sojourns with Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), a girl he meets at a club. What does Alizeh do, you ask? There’s some line about working at yoga studios, Bollywood dance classes, but mostly she’s a full-time, Bollywood-loving sass (who can be a trifle annoying, truth be told). They meet-cute like Kapoor and Deepika Padukone’s characters in Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha, a film that Ae Dil… has much in common with. There’s plenty of, ahem, classy self-referencing — Johar harks back to lines or moments from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Kal Ho Naa Ho multiple times, with no attempt at subtlety. Once again, Kapoor plays an immature, entitled, and tortured lover who learns that heartbreak and suffering will benefit his art. Once again, Sharma plays a fast-talking, fully filmi patakha who becomes the object of the leading man’s affection. And once again, the phrase ’till death do us part’ acquires too literal a meaning.

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But when you deliberately skimp on characterization in order to simplify your script (i.e. not work harder at it), it shows. For instance, Ae Dil… wants us to think of Alizeh as a free spirit, so it goes out of its way to never really introduce us to, say, her parents or any other friends. Later in the film — don’t say I didn’t warn you about spoilers earlier — when she falls terminally ill with final-stage cancer, she continues to be inexplicably alone, so as to make it easier for Ayan to re-enter her life when the right time comes.

Perhaps the only surprising thing about Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, aside from three starry cameos, is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. She plays Saba, a poet from Vienna, whom Ayan meets on a flight but waits three months to call back; perhaps it’s because she’s annoyingly fluent in shaayari and he isn’t? Anyway, the point being that Bachchan, after a long time, is poised and completely reined in — her performance was jaw dropping. She looked absolutely classy and gorgeous, donned sophisticated outfits and left a mark with her dialogue delivery. Ayan seems completely taken in by her and moves to Vienna to live with her, whilst occasionally dabbling in music.

But, amidst all this, the most I was waiting to see was Fawad Khan and he looked drop dead gorgeous. Fawad Khan (in a seven-minute role) plays the rakish Ali, a scruffily handsome professional DJ whom Alizeh ends up marrying, is effortlessly charismatic. But then, his meager presence and sketchy role definitely infuriated me.

Up until Anushka shows up at her favorite rooftop where she says “Love tedha hota hai”, and finds Ranbir waiting for her, everything was fine, but soon after that, things started downgrading. The point at which ADHM nosedives is when we’re treated to visuals of Kapoor and Sharma wearing fake-looking prosthetic scalps (he ‘shaves’ his head out of solidarity), looking like a cross between Ouro from Paa and the characters from the TV show Alien Nation. A scene in an ambulance makes a valiant attempt at redemption, but for me, the damage done was irreversible. Not only do they look ridiculous — why couldn’t they have actually shaved their heads? — but also because it makes the entire story take a painfully sentimental and predictable turn.

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Ultimately, Karan Johar’s latest drama treads familiar terrain and is watchable in parts, but succumbs to clichés in a disastrous final act.

Shivaay 

Rating – 3.5/5

Now coming to Shivaay, Very rarely do you come across Hindi films that marry form and content so beautifully. Shivaay is cool from the surface, but beneath the sheen, there’s substance too. Mounted on an extravagant scale, the film is a visual delight. The film travels from one breath-taking locale to another in those 16 reels, often making your jaw drop to your knees thanks to the sweeping impact it makes. Shivaay is a hi-octane thriller and the thrills, stunts and pace — vital for any thriller to strike a chord — are sure to keep you on the edge from Scene A to Z. A film like Shivaay raises the bar for Hindi films. If you’ve tasted the best. Shivaay is director Ajay Devgn’s finest effort so far. The execution of the subject is such, you just can’t help get transported to a world of make-believe. Ajay has handled a number of sequences with aplomb.

Shivaay is the story of a man trying to right many wrongs. Set against the backdrop of the icy mountains, Shivaay (Ajay) is living what seems like an ordinary life – helping the army in lost and found missions, trekking with tourists and flirting with foreign belles, one in particular – Olga (Erika Kaar). Shivaay and Olga’s love story happens so quickly that before you start digging into your popcorn they have a child – a daughter named Gaura (Abigail) who might be a mute but her expressions and over enthusiastic antics compensate for her lack of speech. Shivaay’s world turns upside down when Gaura discovers a letter left by Olga describing how she abandoned her daughter after birth. Their journey to find Olga takes the father- daughter duo to the scenic locales of Bulgaria where most of the film takes place. Ajay throws in a child trafficking subplot that serves as a catalyst to play out one of the longest drawn climaxes of 2016. There is no villain, rather there are masked men who Shivaay has to fight to reach to the one who is responsible for his daughter’s kidnapping. Shot on a lavish scale with high octane stunt scenes Shivaay works because of its emotional connect with the audience.

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Ajay Devgn managed to impress all with his jaw-dropping performance in the film. But, the story line is not so appealing. “Shivaay” is not the light, fun, crackerjack Diwali film you’d like to sit through this festive season.

On the other hand, KJo’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” is clearly a multiplex film which portrays the story of love, friendship, and breakups. The film gets full marks for its locations and actors, especially Ranbir for his intensity.