Presenting the ae dil hai mushkil story loop:
- Boy meets girl
- Boy loves girl
- Girl doesn't love boy
- Boy demands love
- Girl Denies
- Go back to step one
What works like a charm is the casting and performance of the lead trio. Ranbir kapoor is a canvas of expressions and can literally emote every punctuation mark in the script. His ability to convey his yearning and longing even without speaking is topclass. Anushka as Alizeh is the quintessential happy go lucky girl and she does adequately well for us to believe her choices. The first half sees the two make us fall in love with their chemistry. We like Ranbir, assume love is the natural next step. Because, you know, pyar dosti hai. Right?
Pyar complicated hai. Pyar ex hai. Pyar future hai. Pyar shaayra hai. Enter poetess Saba, Aishwarya Rai in the second half after two failed attempts of the ADHM loop mentioned above. Single handedly, she and her character elevate the grace, beauty and poetic quotient of the film. The same, unfortunately can not be said about the pace and grip of the movie. The second half suffers from the "what's the point syndrome". This is where kuch kuch hota hai meets Rockstar and suddenly it is about Ayan discovering pain and poetry while behaving like a hurt eccentric lover who can neither get or get over his love for his best friend. Even surprise cameo of SRK only adds to the already slowing momentum. (In contrast, the highlight of the first half is the Lisa Haydon cameo that has the vatavaran in splits. Damn, I love her!)
So after a few failed attempts at the ADHM loop, pyar complicated hota hai takes a climatic refuge in the line "pyar cancer ki tarah failta hai". Errrr what.. Let's just say that, the last act is the weakest. Almost in a way trying to somehow end the loop.
To me the key problem with ADHM is that the characters while all very intense (non caricature) still are not well rounded. While saba's past is a mystery, Ali's now in now out mode from the film (as well as Alizeh's life), leavea you wondering why he does what he does. Why, even the lead pairs depth is undiscovered except their perspective on friendship and love. Their blink N miss family backgrounds are conspicuous in their absence. The melancholy of character is a "given" and not something the audience discovers (or expected to care about). That is why the drama towards the end seems more induced than natural.
I don't think this is a great movie. It's certainly good enough up there among the top 5 movies of the year so far. The music and performances are worth your spend on the movie ticket - and dare I say, Aishwarya's beauty on celluloid is worth the pop corn! A super entertaining first half. A somewhat stretched second half and an awkward climax that sticks out in an otherwise above average film, Ae dil hai mushkil is a good one time watch.