Ek tarfa pyaar ki taakat hi kuch aur hoti hai. Auron ke rishtey ki tarah yeh do logon me nahi batati. Sirf mera haq hai ispar. There is nothing like the power of one-sided unrequited love. Unlike other relationships, this does not get divided between two people. It's mine, and mine alone. I own it. Karan Johar brings his magnum opus Ae Dil Hai Mushkil with these powerful words. The teaser of his much awaited film was released a few days ago. His last film Student of the Year released in 2012, and given this is his first film after a gap of four long years (excluding a short stint in Bombay Talkies), expectations are quite high. The gorgeous cast of stars in the film, which any film maker would be envious of, only adds to its expectations.
The 90-second teaser perfectly does its job of teasing the audience. There is little that it tells about the story except that it is about one-sided love and is likely that all the characters are in a one-sided love with someone. There are three main characters, Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor), Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), and Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), along with Ali (Fawad Khan) who seems to have a smaller role. Ayan seems to be in love with Saba, while Alizeh is in love with Ayan. Ali, perhaps, likes Alizeh.
A visual resplendence is a characteristic of Karan Johar's cinema. His movies show beautiful people struggling in love. All the three characters look simply gorgeous. Ranbir displays a particular vulnerability in the opening shot. During the teaser, there is a visible contrast in the personalities of Saba and Alizeh, and the way Ayan interacts with them. At one point, the three of them seem to be sitting together. If Alizeh is dressed in white, then, Saba has to be dressed in black. At some other point, Alizeh covers Ayan up in the blanket, while Saba takes off his muffler. Ayan puts a yellow cloth on Alizeh, while he takes off Saba's clothes. Alizeh demonstrates a plethora of emotions like a child, while Saba remains mysterious, distant, and mature. Ayan meets Alizeh in places where they have fun, such as a skating rink, exploring the city on a bike, and revolving around doors, while he meets Saba around grand palaces. Even the pictures of the place where he meets Saba have classic pictures in black and white, reflecting a certain maturity in his romance with Saba.
White and Black
Covering up, and taking off
Child-like and Mature
Covering up, and taking off
There is a feeling of déjà vu in Ranbir Kapoor's scenes. He is playing a singer in the film, a throwback to his role in Rockstar, after all as they said in that movie, toote hue dil se hi sangeet nikalta hai. At another point in the teaser, Ayan is walking back and crying while Alizeh is seen behind him. A similar scene was seen during Kabira in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, where Bunny walks back crying, unable to decide what his heart wants, while Naina stays behind.
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Rockstar
Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani
One of my favorite sequences in the teaser is a lovely scene of Ayan where he holds onto a pillar with his mehendi-filled hands. I have not seen any groom in a Hindi film (I am sure there are others) with such intricate design of a mehendi. All the three characters look picture perfect. And, then, there is Fawad Khan who manages to make an impact in few seconds in the teaser.
Mehendi in Ayan's hands
In Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, after Rahul runs to Tina to say that he loves her, Anjali comes back crying to her hostel, and says, "Mera pehla pyaar adhoora reh gaya, Rifat Bi." In Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, the characters talk about incomplete relationships, and their incomplete lives. When Sam is dying, he advises Maya, "In adhoore rishton se kisi ko khushi nahi mil sakti." When Dev proposes to Maya, he says, "Tumhare saath rehkhar shayad zindagi puri nahi hogi, lekin zindagi to hogi. Kya yeh adhoori zindagi mere saath jiyogi, Maya." This theme of adhoora is again seen in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil's title track. At one point, the lyrics say, "Adhoora hoke bhi, hai ishq mera kaamil." His love might be incomplete, yet it is complete in itself. After the themes of incomplete first love, incomplete relationships, and incomplete lives, Karan is exploring incomplete love itself, but this time, it is not dependent and is complete in itself. Mohtaaz manzil ka to nahi hai, ye ek tarfa mera safar. There is a certain maturity, and a sense of a satisfaction in this beautiful concept. It will be really exciting to see the treatment in the film about this.
A Karan Johar film is not just any normal film release. It is an event. Even if there was no dialogue in the film, I would simply go and keep looking at the gorgeous people. Eagerly awaiting for the film's release. This Diwali will shine brighter than normal.
In one of the earlier stills of the film, Anushka was seen reading The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by neurologist Oliver Sacks. The book is a collection of fascinating, and unusual case histories of Sacks' patients, who are stuggling to come to terms with their memory, and about who they are as an individial. Interestingly, The Blue Mug play, starring Vinay Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranvir Shorey, Rajat Kapoor, Sheeba Chadha, and Munish Bhardwaj, is also based on the same book.
1. On Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna—Link
2. On Rockstar—Link
3. On Ranbir Kapoor, a great column by Rahul Desai—Link
4. On Ae Dil Hai Mushkil's title track, an excellent piece by Prasanna Vighne—Link
"Adhoora hoke bhi, hai ishq mera kaamil,
tere bina guzaara, ae dil hai mushkil."
—Ae Dil Hai Mushkil