Movie Review: Dil Dhadakne Do

An opulent saga in the true tradition of Bollywood escapism, this movie is the ultimate eye candy in terms of visuals and people.

Story: The Mehras are a wealthy family from Delhi. The husband is a self-made man, and he has the requisite society wife and two children: a daughter, who has married well, and a son he is trying to groom to take over his company.

Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) and his wife, Neelam, are, on the surface of it all, perfect. They have a beautiful home, great kids, and so on and so forth. Under the picture perfect appearance however, there are many ripples that threaten to ruin everything.

The story is told mainly from the perspective of the family dog, Pluto, and takes place on a cruise liner, where Kamal and Neelam decide to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary with their nearest and dearest.

Review: I didn’t expect too much from this movie from the outset, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Story: The story is extremely well-crafted. The ebb and flow of personal relationships and the nuances that embody each in a typical Indian family, albeit high society, is perfection. There are a few superfluous elements, in the form of secondary characters, but all things considered, it was not that big a deal. My caveat in all of this is that, in the obvious effort to tie up all loose ends, the movie is almost three hours long. That’s a considerable investment of time.

Characters: Each main character is a complex mix of emotions and characteristics. They are each flawed in their own way: one is unfaithful, the other is cold, the third is uncertain in the face of parental authority, and the fourth is irreverent.

I especially identified with Ranveer Singh’s character, Kabir, when he finds himself in the midst of very serious situations, and chooses to say flippant things, with the utmost seriousness. The scene with his sister’s mother-in-law, where she dramatically holds a knife to her wrist was my favourite. His reaction was exactly what was going through my head seconds before he uttered the dialogue. I may have squealed in glee.

Acting: A star-studded cast really shows each character in excellent detail. Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, and Priyanka Chopra were brilliant. I am in awe of acting skill that can convey a character’s entire nature with a well-executed muscle twitch or an almost imperceptible nostril flare. Ranveer Singh was good too, but he was rather eclipsed by the others. I also think that Farhan Akhtar was great, but then again he is always great.

What I liked: Sumptuous visuals, a compelling narrative, liberal doses of humour, and realistic scenes. No unnecessary melodrama whatsoever.

Special mention for the effort to justify running after someone immediately, under extreme circumstances, with reasonable logic. Ditto for songs.

What I disliked: It was rather long, although it didn’t take away from the experience. I didn’t catch many of the other characters’ names or motivations. They were a bit like living scenery. Again, not a problem as such. Songs were a bit blah.

Rating: ✩✩✩✩

Immensely watchable.

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