The battle between Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Ajay Devgan’s Shivaay took a turn for the worse on Thursday evening, just hours before the two films were to release in India, when the incorrigible KRK leaked the opening scenes of the film on Twitter and also savaged the film to smithereens.
While I reserve my critical comments on the film until tomorrow here’s what we can safely say about this Diwali’s battle-royale at the boxoffice.
Karan Johar’s Ae Dil hai Mushkil(ADHM) is a definitely a more viewer-friendly film for Diwali. It’s funny, warm, cute,and tender, though plot-wise extremely slender. Not unlike the beauteous Ms Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s figure. But then, enticing offers come in svelte packages. And this one is one helluva goodlooking film with locations to match and songs that seem to play whenever the directors heart bursts with the joy of unfathomable love. And that happens with irresistible frequency in this frothy ode to that thing called love.Perhaps lacking in substantial character motivation and plot , but making up for these losses with its visual vitality and seductive way of expressing love which is part poetry and part bumper-sticker wisdom, ADHM is a chic if somewhat shallow love saga, far more confidently directed by Johar than his other film KabhiAlvidaa Na Kehna.
Clocking at nearly 3 hours Shivaay is one glum and selfimportant saga of a moderndayShiva who is trying to recover his teenaged kidnapped daughter from a flesh trader. The plot seems largely derived from Pierre Morrel’s 2008 thriller Taken where Liam Neesonwas the dad wreaking havoc on the world after his daughter goes missing. But 23 years ago in Santhana Bharathi’s Mahanadi ,Kamal Haasan did a far more effective job than both Liam Neeson and Ajay Devgan of the part of a father on the look-out for his adolescent daughter pushed into the flesh trade .
Shivaay is more a vehicle to glorify Devgan’s star power than a seriously probing look at a father-daughter relationship, or for that matter, at the deep dark bottomless pit that is the flesh trade.
This is where Ae Dil Hai Mushkil really scores.Even when its veers towards unmitigated tragedy a la Devdas, it never takes itself too seriously.Karan Johar’s tongue never leaves his cheek. Devgan presumes the audiences’ collective mouth is so wide open the tongue never reaches the cheek.If only our action films would stop being in awe of themselves.The stunts have a long way to go before they can be comparable with their Hollywood counterpart.