Junglee Pictures and Excel Entertainment’s Dil Dhadakne Do (UA) is a comedy drama set on a cruise ship. Kamal (Anil Kapoor) and Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah), to the outside world, are a perfect socialite couple but in reality, they can’t stand each other. They have invited their family and close friends on a 10-day cruise around Turkey, in celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary. It is at this party that the seemingly Utopian world of the Mehras starts falling apart, leaving Kamal and Neelam aghast at how the world will judge their personal lives.
Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra), their elder daughter, who is a successful businesswoman, is married to Manav Sangha (Rahul Bose) and it is on this cruise that she tells her parents and Manav and his mother (Zarina Wahab) that she is unhappy in the marriage and, therefore, wants a divorce. Kamal and Neelam are shocked and Kamal actually tells her to think of a divorce at her own risk as she won’t be welcome back into the Mehra family. Neelam Mehra feels, marriage is a journey full of ups and downs and tells Ayesha to adjust rather than thinking about divorce. Also on the cruise is her ex-buddy, Sunny Gill (Farhan Akhtar), who is the son of Kamal Mehra’s trusted manager. Kamal had, some years ago, sent Sunny for further studies to the USA but the real reason for sponsoring Sunny’s education trip was to separate Sunny from Ayesha.
The Mehras’ second child is Kabir (Ranveer Singh), the sole heir to the huge business empire of his dad. He is passionate about flying and his dad has bought him a private jet. The seemingly successful Ayka company of the Mehras has actually hit bad times and is bankrupt because of which Kamal wants Lalit Sood (Parmeet Sethi) to buy a stake in the company and bail him out. But the egotistic Mehra can’t get himself to tell Sood to acquire a stake in the company, more so because Sood is known to be a shark who soon takes control of the companies he acquires a stake in. Therefore, Kamal has invited the Sood family on the cruise with the single intention of setting up his own son and Lalit’s only daughter, Noorie (Riddhima Sud). That way, Lalit’s acquisition of a stake in Ayka would ensure that the control remains within the family only. To the horror of Kamal and Neelam Mehra, however, Kabir falls in love with Farah Ali (Anushka Sharma) whom he meets on the cruise and who is a dancer and a Muslim.
What happens thereafter? Are Kamal and Neelam Mehra able to save their ‘family honour’ from the prying eyes of their socialite-friends even as they grapple to save Ayesha’s marriage and get Kabir to agree to marrying Noorie Sood so that their company can be saved from ruination? Or do Ayesha and Kabir, who are each other’s emotional anchors, revolt against their selfish parents, for whom, society and status are more important than the happiness of their two children?
Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti have penned a story which has many layers and at the core of which is the tension within the Mehra family on several counts. The duo’s screenplay keeps the audience engrossed, engaged and entertained but intermittently so. For, in several scenes, Akhtar and Kagti take too long to come to the point and, in the process, end up boring the viewers. Since the entire film is narrated from the point of view of the Mehras’ dog, Pluto, the narration does get monotonous at times, when it starts sounding like a sermon. In fact, the dog’s initial talking gets on the audience’s nerves after a point of time. However, the comedy punches and the inherent humour in the drama, although quite class-appealing, do save the drama. Resultantly, the screenplay emerges like a fresh and entertaining take on relationships but with boring portions in between. The first half has more dull moments than the second half. In fact, the post-interval portion moves at a fast pace as the simmering differences between the four Mehras come to the fore. The ultimate showdown which Kabir has with his father is supremely engaging. Having said that, it must be added that the humour is meant more for the classes and the city audience than the masses and public of the small centres. But the emotional part of the relationship drama is definitely universal.
The comic dialogues by Farhan Akhtar are witty and humorous whereas the dramatic ones are even cutting-edge at times. The dialogues of Pluto have been penned by Javed Akhtar and they are appropriately philosophical and humorous.
Anil Kapoor lives the role of Kamal Mehra and plays the selfish and manipulative business tycoon with elan. It’s a delight to watch his facial expressions and body language moving in synch with his mood, in different situations. Shefali Shah is equally outstanding as Neelam Mehra. She acts with the confidence of a seasoned actress who knows what the audience wants. Ranveer Singh is extraordinary in the role of Kabir Mehra. His layered character unfolds so dramatically because of his superb performance that he absolutely endears himself to the public. Priyanka Chopra is wonderfully restrained as Ayesha Sangha. She plays her character with a lot of maturity and leaves a brilliant mark. Anushka Sharma shines in a brief role. Her conviction comes to the fore in her scenes of a modern girl who knows her priorities. Rahul Bose is outstanding as Manav Sangha who is unable to understand his modern wife. He underplays his character so beautifully that he leaves a lasting impression. Farhan Akhtar is lovely in a special appearance. He looks very handsome and acts with effortless ease. Riddhima Sud is fair as Noorie Sood. Zarina Wahab is fantastic as Manav Sangha’s mother. She makes a lovely mark each time she comes on the screen. Parmeet Sethi, as Lalit Sood, and Dolly Mattoo, as Naina Sood, play Noorie’s parents with confidence. Aamir Khan’s voice acting as the voice of Pluto, the dog, is very fine. Sarah Hashmi is quite nice as Divya Mehra, cousin of Ayesha and Kabir. Khushi Dubey is cute as Putlu Mehra. Pawan Chopra (in the role of Kamal Mehra’s brother Prem Mehra) and Ayesha Raza (as Prem Mehra’s wife, Indu Mehra) act ably. Divya Seth Shah (as Saira Hashmi), Shireesh Kumar Sharma (as Saira’s husband), Ikhlaque Khan (as Amrish uncle), Manoj Pahwa (as Vinod Khanna), Preeti Mamgain (as Vandana Khanna), Vikrant Massey (as Rana Khanna), Vandana Sajnani (as Anju) and Debanshi Shah (as Nitya) lend very good support.
Zoya Akhtar’s direction is mature and she brings to the fore the smallest nuances so beautifully that one can’t help but marvel at her eye for detail. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is good but the absence of chartbusting music is sorely felt, especially because the backdrop is a celebration party. The title song and ‘Galla goodiyaan’are the more appealing numbers. The other songs are quite good. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are both, interesting and meaningful. Choreography of the ‘Galla goodiyaan’ song (by Bosco-Ceasar) is the best. The other song-dances are also well-picturised. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Jim Satya’s background music is lovely. Carlos Catalan’s camerawork is of a high order. The cruise ship, the sea and the foreign locales have all been captured beautifully by him in his camera. Neil Patel’s production design and Chandrashekhar More’s art direction befit the huge canvas of the film. Anand Subaya’s editing is sharp. Production values are rich.
On the whole, Dil Dhadakne Do is a good entertainer for the multiplex-frequenting audience. It will be liked by the youngsters and the classes more than the mass audiences. Business in the cities will be good on the strength of audiences of multiplexes and premium single-screen cinemas. However, business in smaller centres and in lesser single-screen cinemas will be dull. All in all, it will fetch some profits.