Dil Dhadakne Do is a cinematic treat - a film that focuses on family, friendship and fun.
Kamal (Anil Kapoor) and Neelam (Shefali Shah) Mehra celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary with family and friends with a cruise. Their daughter, Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra), comes with her husband and mother-in-law. Their unmarried son, Kabir (Ranveer Singh), finds his soul-mate on the cruise in free-spirited dancer Farah Ali (Anushka Sharma). But Kamal and Neelam have other plans for Kabir. Ayesha and Kabir contend with the impact of family expectations and responsibilities on their lives while Kamal and Neelam come to terms with the chinks in their picture-perfect marriage.
The film features a well-written story by Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar that reflects the complexity of love and relationships at various stages in life. Affection, friendship, first love, flirtatious love, passionate love, mature love, parental love, rejected love, lost love, rekindled love, and self-love are all on display in various forms throughout the film.
The story is narrated in parts by the family dog Pluto - voiced by Aamir Khan - who points out some of the idiosyncrasies of the human species.
One of the notable elements of this film is that the women leads - Neelam Mehra, Ayesha Mehra and "Fearless" Farah Ali - each have an independent spirit. They respect the men in their lives, but they respect themselves more.
Neelam speaks frankly to her husband, even if he isn't ready to hear what she has to say. While this occasionally leads to arguments, she maintains her grace even when she refuses to back down. Dancer Farah Ali has an indomitable spirit that enables her to pursue her dreams, which inspires Kabir Khan. Ayesha finds strength through her work, establishing a successful travel business. While the rest of the world expects her to have children by now, she doesn't pursue that option.
Even the younger women - Noorie Sood and Divya Mehta - live life on their own terms even if it means going against the rules set down by their parents.
The men in the Mehra family follow different trajectories as well. While Kamal Mehra sets down the rules, his son Kabir Mehra sometimes chooses to disregard them as irrelevant. However, Kabir realizes that in order to break rules, you have to develop a strategy. Unfortunately, his strategies don't always deliver the results he seeks. This closet anarchist is always ready with an amusing, yet honest, observation about unfolding events around him. He is lovable and sincere, so even when he falters someone is generally there to support him.
Though dysfunctional, the Mehra family is not irreversibly so and the cruise experience brings them together in a way they could never have imagined.
The film presents a plethora characters through the Mehras and beyond who are flawed but endearing. It is easy to identify people in the film that remind us of people in our lives. The multi-layered storyline of relatable characters allows viewers to apply meaning to the film based on their own experience. In an interview with Bollywood Hungama, director Zoya Akhtar explained,
"You don't make movies to give messages. You make movies to entertain. You make movies to engage and within that if you can reflect your society in some way and show a mirror in some way, and add some of your perspective and truth in and hopefully feel like you can even change two mindsets, you know, I think that's enough."
Dil Dhadakne Do is another triumph for director Zoya Akhtar and should be on everyone's viewing list. The following playlist features the trailer and making of video for the film.
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