When you enjoy a film that falls short of a good story but rides high on realistic moments, high-octane screenplay, brilliantly written dialogues, superlative performances, scintillating camerawork and a director like Zoya Akhtar, you know that commercial films have been redefined, there and then.
Without a doubt Zoya Akhtar’s one of the finest filmmakers we have in this country and right from her first film
‘Luck By Chance,’ she had carved her own niche by making an artsy-yet-commercially viable film, though it couldn’t manage the numbers, it received a lot of critical acclaim and slowly, through television and other mediums people actually realised how wonderful it was. After her first film failed at the box office, she decided to let go off her artsy ambitions and she went into the commercial zone, keeping realistic elements intact, with ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and she succeeded big time.
It was loved by the critics, as well as the audiences and Zoya had become the queen of ensemble films in India.
Similarly, her third film ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ twirls between her first two and keeping the content in mind, it’s probably her weakest, but if you were to take a filmmaker’s opinion (or an aspiring filmmaker’s opinion), this one’s actually her most accomplished film as a director.
Written by Zoya herself and Reema Kagti, DDD is about a rich dysfunctional family (The Mehras) from Delhi, as they set out on a 10-day luxury cruise in the Mediterranean to celebrate Kamal and Neelam Mehra’s 30th marriage anniversary.
It’s about The Mehras and their problems, as it captures the plasticity of all those ‘perfect’ families that we’ve probably seen around us. Many people believe that money can buy you happiness and most of us presume that all these wealthy families must be having a perfect life, as they don’t have any problems or hiccups in their day to day lives, but that’s where we go wrong.
DDD captures the hypocrisy, it captures the backwardness of a lot of those wealthy families and I’m sure it would’ve offended a lot of them because a lot of it was real and I’m sure hard-hitting, as well.
The messed up Mehras somehow find themselves back towards the end of the film, but the journey seems a bit too long.
‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ is more of a momentary film than a story based narrative, as the one line plot is simple-
A wealthy dysfunctional family, a tad bit broken-comes together in the end and we have a happy ending.
So basically, we were watching a three hour film that had a predictably strange end and we always knew how things would shape up.
But it’s really hard to engage your audience for this long without having a proper narrative and that’s where the team of this film blew me away. The screenplay works more than the plot, even though it’s really broken at times and could’ve been way crisper, but still, it tightens up in the second half.
The dialogues by the genius and multi-faceted Farhan Akhtar work like magic. His dialogues saved nearly half of the film, especially the dialogues he wrote for Ranveer’s character Kabir. They’re packed with humour and wittiness.
Another thing I really liked about the Kagti and Zoya’s writing-Their characterisations.
The way they developed each and every character, irrespective of that character’s length-It really was brilliant, as not even for a moment you could feel that a particular character was just forced into the narrative and you’ll come out remembering almost every character, so hats off to both these ladies for capturing the essence beautifully.
And Farhan complimented their characterisation by penning down some of the craziest lines of the film.
For instance, I loved Zarina Wahab’s dialogues (She plays the typical Delhi wali aunty who has all the problems in the world, from arthritis to asthma to what not and she’s played her part with perfection) and even Manoj Pahwa’s bit.
Javed Akhtar wrote Pluto’s dialogues (narrated by Mr. Aamir Khan) and the dialogues actually make a lot of sense if you listen to them carefully. From a dog’s perspective we’re shown the unnecessary complexities of human beings and it was really heartening.
The music of DDD is pleasant and breezy, even though it’s not as good as Zoya’s previous two films but ‘Gallan Goodiyan’ and ‘Pehli Baar’ work like magic.
The background score is topnotch and works brilliantly.
When you have actors like Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, Manoj Pahwa, Parmeet Sethi, Vikrant Massey and the gorgeous debutante Ridhima Sud, how can you ‘not’ expect good performances? Even the rest of the actors, all of them.
The cast is brilliant and rock-solid. But for me shockingly Ranveer Singh was the start of the film, along with Priyanka Chopra and the extraordinary Shefali Shah.
I felt the film would’ve fallen flat if Ranveer’s energy wouldn’t have been exercised properly but Zoya Akhtar can never fail as a director and she proved it once again that she knows her job very well.
This was a director’s film, as some of the most brilliant scenes didn’t have much writing to it. Those scenes were purely dependent on the director’s vision. It was Zoya who could’ve guided her actors through and she did just that.
For instance, the sequence where Kamal (Anil Kapoor) finally stands up for her daughter Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) or the scene where Kabir (Ranveer Singh) opens up in front of his parents and confesses his love for Farah (Anushka Sharma) and also, the scene where Neelam (Shefali Shah) breaks down while gobbling on some cake kinda violently, only a director like Zoya could’ve mastered those scenes.
And not to forget, Carlos Catalan’s out of this world camerawork. He’s another unsung hero of DDD. I couldn’t help but rave about his brilliant cinematography and I still can’t believe, ‘Gallan Goodiyan’ was a one take song. A new high in Indian cinema!
Though ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ is not one of the best films you’d see, but it’s certainly one of those films you’d want to go and watch, just for the incredible talent-right from the Akhtars to the all the actors.
It lacks a brilliant story, it stretches a bit too much and the end is really weird and abrupt, but still, it’s worth it.
Commercial films have been redefined and DDD is one of those feel-good films you’d see around. It’s not a typical Bollywood film, but you’ll still feel at home.
Watch it for Zoya Akhtar’s brilliant direction. She’s blown me away completely.