DIL DHADAKNE DO (2015): Rhythmically Different
Zoya Akthar’s last film, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, was universally appealing for telling a modern day story of life and relationships that went beyond the superficial, and was able to create a successful blend of commercial storytelling with character driven performances. This amazing writer/director is at it again with another movie that is about relationships, but in a family setting, in what I’m calling, a never before seen portrayal of family dynamics within Bollywood movies. Take a look at the official trailer for the film below, and keep going to see how this movie will exceed expectations.
While the film looks very obviously glossy and fun, a lot more seems to be working for the film than is apparent at first glance. First of all, I commend the business woman in Zoya Akhter and her ability to once again leverage additional funding though guaranteed Tourism endorsements and tie-ins, by having the story be set aboard a cruise ship, presumably visiting exotic destinations through out the film, given the sweepingly gorgeous shots in the trailer.
What’s interesting though, are the brief glimpses of the types of relationships between all the characters, that showcase a side of these relationships that may not have been featured in a Bollywood movie to date. And definitely not all together in one story.
The Trailer starts off with a pair of frustrated parents attempting a life altering conversation with their son, even resorting to bribes to influence a decision like his marriage. While invoking a chuckle, this isn’t that far from the truth for South Asian families. Social status is huge in the South Asian culture, and children’s decisions add or take away from the parents’ perceived images to the world, so their influencing those decisions result from harmless nagging to destructive manipulation, as can be seen here. So it’s very unique that Ranveer Singh’s arc focuses on his marriage reflecting the social standing of his affluent parents, and the film seems to centre around that for him, as well as the love interest played by Anushka Sharma.
I’m also liking the story arc given to Priyanka Chopra’s character; the daughter of aforementioned parents, contemplating divorce, while the parents’ only concern seems to be once again, how it reflects on them. In Bollywood, divorce is often a plot device used to depict strong willed independent women, in an implication that contradicts the attempt itself. Divorced women are often showed as tragic characters, reliant on pity or admiration from other characters, and if a child is thrown in, then you’ve got a smorgasboard of cliches. So the focus being given to this issue, and showing a female character struggling with it on its own merits is new.
The agitators of both these lead characters seems to be the superficial parents played by Anil Kapoor (finally looking his age) and the always amazing Shefali Shah. The elder couple’s troubling marriage is also a source of immense interest for me, as that too is something that’s rarely focused on in Bollywood movies. Elder couples are shown to be either the epitome of golden year love, or comedically dysfunctional for the sake of the genre. Real problems between a decades-long relationship is never shown in Bollywood, and I’m very intrigued to see it all play out in the hands of a Director who has proven herself very adept at handling these situations.
‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ has all the makings of another commercially successful film for all involved, and the quirky relationships even remind me a bit of Wes Anderson films, without the glaring cinematography. Although, the full title song below, presumably for promotional purposes only, does have that similarity as well.
‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ stars Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma & Farhan Akthar, releases June 5th, 2015 and is directed by Zoya Akhtar.