What if someone took the script of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and decided to turn it on its head and then modernised it for today’s generation that’s closer to friends than family?
Boy meets girl on a train, spends a romantic holiday in the mountains, they separate, miss each other and meet at a wedding when boy wins over family... Oops, friends. This is Dilwale Dulhaniya ‘Chodd’ Jayenge for the Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara generation but one that may not stand the test of time.
Simply because the attention span of the Whatsapp generation has reduced so drastically that you cannot make a three-hour long film for them without inducing yawns and restlessness.
If you are a DDLJ fan however, like most of us are, you will probably be able to sit through the first half, just studying the departures. Here, the girl doesn’t plead with her folks, she leaves a note. Girl is not late for the train this time, just lost, for the hero to extend his hand and pull her in. Girl drinks with boy to deal with the cold but here, she asks for it and behaves. Girl wears glasses in the first half and gets rid of them in the second. Okay, that’s just the same in both films.
What’s interesting about Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is that it does not judge its characters. Some people are meant to be vagabonds and leaving home does not translate to loving your parents any less.
DDLJ was about manufacturing consent from the older generation to let go. Here, the older generation has already let go. No expectations, no disappointments. This is about the journey back home.
In many ways, this is also Ayan’s first film Wake Up Sid turned on its head. If the hero there didn’t know what he wanted from life, here he knows what exactly he wants. That’s the problem. He knows he does not want to stay in one place. He is awaara, as the tattoo tells us. This is about negotiating priorities — friends, dreams, love and family.
The scenes and situations are all a little too convenient and seem too scripted, manufactured and assembled — one for friendship, one for romance, one for feel good, song and dance, repeat. And this goes on forever. Till it is conveniently and instantly resolved.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is gorgeously choreographed and gloriously shot. Ranbir dances like a dream, Deepika turns in a career best, Kalki is endearingly solid, Aditya Roy Kapur gets an extended supporting role to show us he can act and Kunaal Roy Kapur once again demonstrates what a bundle of talent he is, even if it’s just a cameo. It’s always a delight to see Farooque Shaikh act and Madhuri dance. The elements are all there, the moments are quite well etched out too. But how much can you pack in? Like Naina (Deepika) tells Bunny (Ranbir), “You can’t do everything. Something will always get left out.” Wish Ayan didn’t have so much excess baggage for us to lug around. For hours. More so if he wanted us to experience the “raftaar” (speed) of life. And youth.
Director: Ayan Mukerji
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Aditya Roy Kapur, Kalki Koechlin, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Farooque Shaikh, Poorna Jagannathan
Storyline: Vagabond boy meets geek girl in the mountains and separate only to meet again eight years later at their best friend’s wedding
Bottomline : An understated romance that takes ages to unfold but rich in detail