Dil Dhadakne Do. Roughly translated to “Let the heart beat.” A movie that has generated high excitement, and expectedly so, being a product of the award-winning classy director Zoya Akhtar.
Meet Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor). Primary role: a self-made business tycoon and CEO of his company Ayka. Secondary role: husband of Neelam Mehra (Shefali Shah). Kamal and Neelam’s marriage is deteriorating, yet they decide to invite their close friends to celebrate their 30th anniversary with them on a cruise to Europe, a trip that was planned by their daughter Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) and their son Kabir (Ranveer Singh). On the ship, while Kabir meets and falls in love with a dancer named Farah (Anushka Sharma), Ayesha navigates her feelings about her marriage and desires. The majority of the film follows the events that happen to the characters on the ship and how they navigate their confusion, frustration, and anger.
The most powerful aspect of this movie (and Zoya’s direction) is that there are totally and purely human moments that are very realistic and relatable. Whether it’s the brother-sister sibling bonding between Kabir and Ayesha or the vibrant younger cousins’ clever remarks, this movie has all the typical family feels with each family on the ship having its own little quirks. Ranveer Singh plays a typical younger brother who is very blunt, blatant, and to-the-point. Complementing Ranveer’s hilarious dialogues (written by Farhan Akhtar) is his impeccable comic timing, which had the audience rolling in fits of laughter during certain moments.
Women’s roles and expectations was a large (and purposefully placed) thematic issue that came up multiple times throughout the film, particularly in the context of Ayesha’s marriage to Manav (Rahul Bose). Juxtaposing the wives/moms discussing marriage plans for their kids with the younger generation of women complaining about how they are stuck trying to conform to those ancient roles provides an interesting backdrop to this dysfunctional family drama-comedy. There is one scene in particular that I absolutely resonated with where Sunny (Farhan Akhtar) makes Manav aware of the type of unconsciously demeaning language he uses to describe his relationships and behaviors with and around women.
One thing I wish there would have been more of in Dil Dhadakne Do is nature shots of the beautiful European landscape. With a director of photography as talented as Carlos Catalan, it would have been nice to see sounds and sites of Greece and Turkey as diverse as those showcased of Spain in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. But one thing that was absolutely amazing was the fact that the entire “Gallan Goodiyaan” song was all one shot! Kudos to the actors for remembering and executing all of their choreography in one go!
Dil Dhadakne Do is filled with moments of confrontation between the characters and scenes with intense expression of pain and frustration. The acting by everyone in the film is fantastic and very natural! Although Farhan and Anushka had minimal roles, they execute their roles quite well. What stands out is the contrast between Anil Kapoor’s intensity and Ranveer Singh’s comedy, providing a balance of drama and comedy. Needless to say, the music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is lively and adds to the lightness of the movie. Special shoutout to the unique and reflective narration by Pluto Mehra, a rather insightful character among an otherwise crazy lot.
Final Verdict: Dil Dhadakne Do is filled with facades, families, and fights. But there’s also quite a bit of love, laughter, and entertainment. A slightly long movie that will make you think about love, family, relationships, and being true to them and to yourself. If you enjoy films about people and human nature, definitely don’t miss this Zoya Akhtar flick!