Movie Mania: Dil Dhadakne Do

Director: Zoya Akhtar

Cast: Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, Farhan Akhtar in a cameo, Aamir Khan in voiceover.

Running Time: 167 minutes

*spoilers ahead*

Zoya Akhtar makes movies that are beautifully crafted, original, entertaining yet meaningful. The multi-starrer movie Dil Dhadakne Do (DDD) is another one from the kitty.

DDD is a story of the Mehra family, with Kamal Mehra, portrayed by Anil Kapoor, as the CEO of his company Ayka, his wife Neelam, portrayed by Shefali Shah and their two children, Ayesha-Priyanka Chopra and Kabir-Ranveer Singh. They are highly dysfunctional, with Kamal and Neelam having a tumultuous relationship, Kamal’s rumoured affairs, Kamal’s condescending attitude towards Kabir and his business relationship with Ayesha. The story begins when, on their thirtieth anniversary, Kamal and Neelam invite their guests to a ten day cruise party, where they are forced to interact, introspect and reflect upon their lives.

Ranveer Singh’s performance is commendable. Easily the person on whom the film relies. The ease with which he plays Kabir, spunky, witty, romantic and protective of his sister is flawless. He has channelized his energy perfectly and there is finesse in the way he has portrayed emotions onscreen. He’s a one to look out for. Also, his relationship as shown with Priyanka is sweet and true.

Priyanka’s character is that of a strong sturdy independent entrepreneur, having a troubled marriage with her husband Manav- Rahul Bose. She plays the character of Ayesha with ease, but there could have been a little more depth to her character because she came across as average, not a person who would be remembered so much.

Anil Kapoor, with his grey hair and moustache, is good. He plays Kamal with ease and perfection. But there are times when questioned his conviction, lie the one time when he immediately changed his heart after Neelam says, “Tum toh mujhe bhool gaye.” There are times when I felt like laughing at his overacting too. But that was bearable.

Anushka’s character is also one of a strong woman who left her home to purse a life of her own and fulfill her dreams. She is shown as an independent, free spirited woman and there is not one minute when I questioned her identity. My only disappointment- she didn’t get enough screen time.

There are many side characters too- Vikrant Massey, Rahul Bose, Zarina Wahab, Parmeet Sethi and Ridhima Sud, each of whom add substantially to making the movie workable. The dialogues, the comic scenes all attribute in making this movie beautiful. Like a scene where Manav’s mother is threatening to kill her herf with a butter knife, or when Kabir jumps from the ship, and when Kamal, who collapses and faints turns out to be extreme gas, and when an underage cousin of Ayesha’s says that after her mom’s horrific dancing, she had to come to the bar. There are heavy moments and there are light moments which make it interesting. The song collection complements the film. My only complaint, it should have a more conclusive ending, like what happens between Ayesha and Sunny, or what happens when they got of the cruise.

Movie Mania- Mary Kom

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Priyanka Chopra has certainly outdone herself on this one. For all the people, it is a must watch, not just because of Priyanka, but because of Mary, her story one that needs to be told. From misogynist officials, to her father’s hatred of the game, to her pregnancy, and the superb comeback, she is a lady to salute. Priyanka adapts the character with ease and simplicity and does justice to the role. Darshan Kumar, who portrays Onler Kom, Mary’s extremely supportive husband, has acted perfectly going from the lovestruck puppy to the caring father and the supportive husband convincingly. The story is easy to follow and synchronized to perfection, ending right with Mary winning the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, where Priyanka blends her emotions of happiness, sadness, and relief flawlessly. Sunil Thapa’s supporting role as Mary’s coach is okay, but I feel it could have been stronger. The energy filled first half gives way to a more soft and a warming second one. (Warning: Contains spoilers.)

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There are many strong and defining scenes: one where Mary comes out with a shaved face saying, “Sar bhari ho gaya tha. Ab gala to nahi kaat sakti thi.” Also a scene where she is asked to present five reasons why she wants to learn boxing, “I love boxing. I love boxing. I love boxing. I love boxing. Ab pachvah bhi batana pageda?” Then there’s a scene where she asks her retired coach to start training her again where he ties both her children on her back and says, “Ab hum double mehnat karenge.” And it’s absolutely wonderful to watch the entire crowd in the hall stand up in attention when the Indian Nation Anthem plays in the end. A thrilling and a goose-bumping experience, which shows Omung Kumar, the movie director couldn’t have done better.

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For me, it was not just a biopic. It was a film with a clear and a defining message. You have to struggle, take risks, work hard, persevere, never give up hope, and most of all, you need to have a direction in life to excel in what you do. You need to have a path, one that takes you towards success, fame and popularity because of what you do, and you have to be proud of what you do.

This movie, for me is a must watch, not just because of Priyanka’s performance or the story, but because it is a story that needs to be told to every Indian, making them proud of their country, because Onler Kom deserves it and because K. Kosana Meitei, her coach deserves it and  because Mary Kom deserves it. Mary certainly couldn’t have better.

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