Cruise Control

Film: Dil Dhadakne Do

Cast: Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Shefali Shah

Directed by: Zoya Akhtar

Duration:  2 hrs 47 mins

Rating:  * * 1/2

Dil Dhadakne Do is about a bunch of people who think they are going places but actually they are going nowhere and they all have some serious problems to boot. Of all places, the resolution incidentally happens on a cruise ship during a holiday in the Mediterranean. That’s Zoya Akhtar’s ultra long Dil Dhadakne Do, a film that has a decent beginning and a redeeming end with a whole lot of nothing to fill up the spaces in between.

We are introduced to the Mehra family with a voice over, that’s turns out to be of the family dog (Aamir Khan’s distinct voice). The patriarch Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) is a rich self made tycoon and never misses a chance to remind everyone about that.  His wife Neelam (Shefali Shah) is not exactly suffering in silence, she makes her presence felt from time to time, but she is suffering all the same. Their son Kabir (Ranveer Singh) is still learning the ropes as far as managing their business is concerned, he has no knack for it, instead, he is interested in flying he family plane. At that point you very well know how his career is going to unfold.

Their daughter Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra), now a successful businesswoman, was married off to Manav (Rahul Bose) who treats her marginally better than a doormat. Her erstwhile heartthrob Sunny (Farhan Akhtar) also lands on the scene and at that point, you know very well how this love story is going to unfold.

Now the dysfunctional Mehra family is under a huge debt and yet they plan this big celebration aboard a cruise liner because it is their 30th wedding anniversary. They are also hoping to rope in some investors; their plan is to marry off their son to one of the rich businessman’s    daughter so that their company can be salvaged. If you think this “dosti ko rishtedari mein badalte hain” happened only in the 60’s and 70’s, then think again.

It doesn’t take too long for the setting to be established but from there on, it doesn’t go anywhere. Well, physically it does, to many fancy places, including Istanbul targeting an audience that has aspirations. A serious amount of time is spent showing off all the locales while you wait patiently for the story to change gears. It doesn’t.

It is only in the climax that it gets going, even if it is a bit illogical.

There are too many characters and you barely understand any of them. We get a glimpse of Ayesha and her mother, though the former is a woman of resolve, the latter looks a bit confused. Kabir is more of a fun person who shares a chemistry with Farha (Anushka Sharma) but since other characters have to be accommodated, there isn’t enough screen time for him.

Co-written by Reema Kagti (of Honeymoon Travels fame, another road movie about dysfunctional families, except that was in a bus this is a luxury ship) the screenplay not-so-cleverly makes way for what is coming up next. For instance, when Sunny’s name is mentioned you know Ayesha shares a past with him but yet that matter is delved upon till the cows come home.

The film touches upon patriarchy and women’s issues in a not so subtle manner - but at least it might make a point to a segment of the audience.

On the acting front, Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah play their parts with conviction; the latter in fact stands out among all the ladies in the film. Ranveer Singh has his moments and Priyanka Chopra is apt.

Dil Dhadakne Do has the makings of a Bollywood blockbuster, big stars, exotic locales, romance, bit of humor - never mind if the story is a bit tedious and about an hour too long. When it comes to Zoya Akhtar, give me Luck By Chance, any day.