Dil Dhadakne Do: Another disfunctional family comedy

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After releasing the first look pictures of Dil Dhadakne Do amidst a growing media frenzy producers Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar have come out with the long-awaited trailer of the film. In her latest offering Zoya Akhtar stretches her characters-on-a-holiday premise from her Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara (2011) days.

The peppy trailer follows the super-rich Mehra family and their children on a cruise holiday. As Abhay Deol’s character’s impromptu wedding to Kalki’s had been the main narrative point, here too Ranvir Singh’s Kabir Mehra, an apparent pilot, is being mollycoddled into marrying his obviously disinterested girlfriend by his overbearing parents Kamal and Neelam Mehra—essayed by Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah respectively. The trailer is fun to watch as you see this ensemble cast being introduced as individual branches of the prime plot. Priyanka Chopra is Ayesha, the older sister stuck in a marriage of convenience and trying to avoid her older flame, Farhan Akhtar’s sunny Gill. Thrown in the mix is Rahul Bose as Ayesha’s spouse and Zarina Wahab as his concerned mother. Anushka Sharma comes in as the icing on the cake as the sultry Farah Ali who turns heads, particularly Kabir’s.

Seeing the slice-of-life comic treatment of the film one is reminded of the recent trend in Bollywood. With films like English Vinglish (2011) and Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) Bollywood is consciously trying to come in its own after a prolonged period of self-important melodramas whenever it came to family stories. Discerning viewers will obviously find echoes of the deadpan dysfunctional family comedy of Hollywood as was seen in the delightful road-trip film Little Miss Sunshine (2006) or the more recent caustic humour of August Osage County (2013).

Like in those films Zoya after much hardship has gathered a very eclectic ensemble of actors and stars. For every Anil Kapoor she finds a Shefali Shah and for every Priyanka Chopra she has her own twin, Farhan to pull out of her hat. Ranvir and Anushka’s on-screen chemistry has been previously employed to successfully power a film—Band Baaja Baarat (2010)—but here they look a tad bored of doing the same act in every film. It is the sibling equation between Priyanka and Ranvir that seems to hold the most promise.

Although Bollywood seems to have taken a step towards original entertainment with the likes of Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Gauri Shinde, Ayan Mukherjee, Sharat Katariya there is also the looming spectre of selling out to commercial concerns. While Ayan Mukherjee’s debut film “Wake Up sid!” was a pure gem his next film “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” despite crossing the 100 crore mark was a diluted attempt with the whole Bollywoodised song-dance routine.

Enjoying the foreign locales and funny situations in Akhtar’s trailer of Dil Dhadakne Do one cannot help but apprehend what if she also falls for the lure of Bollywood’s lucre. The trailer gives a glimpse into the idiosyncracies of the multi-star cast but one only hopes that it wasn’t too much for the fiery Zoya to juggle.

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