Dil Dhadakne Do
Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar lead this Hindi feature about a dysfunctional family.
Rating: M Offensive language & sexual references
Hindi with English subtitles
What is a normal family? Is a dysfunctional family the norm? Dil Dhadakne Do’s Mehras are the latter. Patriarch Kamal is a self-made, successful businessman, Neelam his quietly suffering wife who maintains the ‘happy family’ façade within their high society circles; their children, the high achieving but meek daughter Ayesha and Kabir the son who does not want to be heir.
As is the culture, the son is constantly praised while the daughter is put down and expected to submit all the time. On their thirtieth wedding anniversary the Mehras invite their friends and family on a cruise to Turkey and Greece. That is where it implodes.
Family dynamics as shown in Hindi cinema are always set within the patriarchal paradigm where the wrong is made right via compliance to traditional social structure. Dil Dhadakne Do sets out to break that in the simplest, most entertaining manner not yet seen in mainstream Hindi films. And using the Punjabi stereotype too.
Marriage, divorce, gender equality, religion, and most of all love and forgiveness are addressed subtly and on-the-nose, slightly over the top, with identifiable situations. The dialogue is sharp; the silence sharper.
All the main actors are very good but Shefali Shah and Priyanka Chopra stand out, sinking their teeth into well written, strong female roles. The rest of the ensemble cast further enhance the film.
If there anything to quibble about then it is the voice over which does not always work as a storytelling device. And the chaotic end does not quite fit into the emotions the film has worked up in the audience. It is chaotic, as if Zoya Akhtar, the director (and co-writer), did not know how to wrap it up.
Otherwise Dil Dhadakne Do is solid, old-fashioned commercial Hindi cinema with a universal story.