When I re-watched Karan Johar’s “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, I kept a fresh perspective, setting aside all the polarizing responses I’d ingrained throughout the years. The film pleasantly surprised me. If I overlook the inconsistencies, the long runtime and the juvenile sub-plot, I would say that the filmmaker largely explored the theme of infidelity with a humanistic outlook. He did not antagonize any of his characters – they were all flawed, complex, and confused individuals who knew what their heart desired, but reluctantly locked themselves in an imaginary closet, succumbing to social codes. KANK also displayed the power of forgiveness, and how beautiful and liberating it feels when you stop harboring angst and give love a second chance.
After a decade, Karan Johar shattered stereotypes again with his mature venture “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”, that released last year. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma (the former two actors set the screen ablaze with their palpable chemistry). It is a simply gorgeous film that deconstructs and breathes life into a very familiar theme- the most underrated form of love, i.e, friendship.
So here are the lessons I could learn from this film:
A GIRL AND BOY CAN BE FRIENDS:
Mohnish Behl’s infamous dialogue: “Ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte” (a boy and girl can never be friends), finally dies a peaceful death with this film. Ayan and Alizeh become best friends after a failed hook-up party. A series of close , person conversations between the two might make us mistake their camaraderie for something shared by a couple, but that’s not the case. They love each other and care for each other like no one other.
BRING ALIVE YOUR INNER CHILD:
Alizeh is a fun-loving, feisty woman. She is extremely social, knows how to charm people with her endless banter and here we see her mouth a number of Bollywood references. Ayan and Alizeh go to Paris and enact most of the iconic Yash Chopra song sequences, in a way reliving nostalgia. Being a Hindi film lover, it was like icing on the cake for me. It’s hard for disciplined, perfect individuals to relive their inner child, let down their guard, be present and enjoy the moment, thus helping replenish their souls. Getting a little crazy every now and then is not a bad idea!
IF YOU SPOT A RED FLAG, IT’S TIME TO MOVE OUT:
Saba Khan, a super gorgeous poetess, falls in love with Ayan but refuses to let him stay in her life. Once married and later divorced, Saba has been through the arduous path of love and heart-break, and on seeing the hidden affection Ayan has towards Alizeah on the dining table, she realises that she was only a need for Ayan; therefore, no matter what, he can never love her the way he loves Alizeah. This reminds me of a beautiful line she quotes in the film, “Main kisiki zaroorat nahin, khwahish banna chahti hoon” (I don’t want to be someone’s need, but his ultimate desire”). Indeed, she stands by her words at the cost of losing her love forever , with brave face no less.
BE HONEST, NO MATTER HOW PAINFUL IT MAY BE:
Alizeh shares a special relationship with Ayan. For her, he is a best friend, and more importantly her family, than just a boyfriend. Ayan loves her and Alizeah loves him, but it is he, who has designs for her – not the other way round. Alizeh could never love him the way he loves her, and she choose to be honest about it rather than lie to him and herself which would only destroy the both of them. This harsh reality has broken Ayan many times, but in the upside, enabled him to reclaim his inner power and his ability to put himself in the highest priority.
Last but not the least:
LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY I.E WITHOUT ATTACHMENT:
This friend-zone relationship has seen more get promises fulfilled, hearts get healed, gaining a strong support system and most importantly, a sense of belonging and calm. Like Alizeh beautifully says, “Pyaar mein junoon hai, Dosti mein sukoon hai” (There is passion in love but calm in friendship). We live in a world where marriages crumble into divorce at lightening speed. We don’t admire love the way it was done before. Nowadays, friendships seems to establish itself over materialistic pleasures and not on the string, much – needed pillar of genuineness and affection. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a breath of fresh air that reinstills your faith in love all over again. Ayan found happiness in loving Alizeah with no strings attached and acknowledged her friendship till her last breath. He was able to do that because he loved her unconditionally, accepting her the way she is. Similarly, Alizeh choose to overlook his immature, childish desperation, and chose to accept him as her biggest strength, loving him unconditionally as well.
There are many who’ve outrightly rejected the film and its premise, and it is absolutely fine. Not all films can please everyone and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is one of them. For some, it may be a film too complex (albeit refreshingly uncompromising) to come to terms with.
We all say, “I love you” but never even once say, “I friend you for life”. It not only sounds melodious and feels divine, but also offers a sense of belonging, a sense of being in someone’s arms (home) – a sukoon that we all yearn for.
Editing: Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent.