Lessons I learned from Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”


I’ve recently re-watched “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” with a fresh perspective, keeping aside the polarizing responses I’ve had stored within me for years. The film pleasantly surprised me. Keeping aside inconsistencies, long duration and juvenile sub-plot, filmmaker largely explored infidelity from a humanistic perspective. He did not antagonized any characters, they were all flawed, complexed, confused individuals who knew what their heart desired but reluctantly locked themselves in a closet fearing to break 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 is finally back in his element breaking stereotypes and social codes with his mature work till date “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” that got released last Friday. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan and Anushka Sharma (former two burning the screen with their mercurial chemistry). The film might not have matched up the expectations pre-release hype created but for me; regardless of it’s fate in Box office (I’ve never cared for it anyways) it is a gorgeous gorgeous film that deconstructs the love we all are familiar with, breathes life to the most under-acknowledged form of love : Friendship.

What lessons did I learn from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil:

Ayan Sangar: Ranbir Kapoor

Alizeah Khan: Anushka Sharma

Saba Khan: Aishwariya Rai Bachchan.

Girl and boy can be friends:

Mohnish Behl’s infamous dialogue “Ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahin ho sakte” (boy and girl can never be friends) finally dies a peaceful death in this film. Ayan and Alizeah becomes best friends after a failed hook-up party and series of close conversations, their camaraderie might be mistaken as if they’re in relationship but they are not. They love each other and care for each other like no one does.

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Bring alive your inner child:

Alizeah is fun-loving, feisty woman. She is extremely social, knows how to charm people with her talk and here we see her mouth numbers of Bollywood references (Freak, I am just like her). Ayan and Alizeah goes to Paris and enact all the Yash Chopra song sequences, in a way, to relive the nostalgia. Me, being a Hindi film lover, it was like an icing on the cake. It’s hard for a disciplined, perfect individuals to relive their inner child, to let down their guards, feel the moment and replenish their soul to enjoy the perfect moment. Stepping into craziness occasionally is not a bad idea.

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If you see the red flag, time to move out:

Saba Khan, the super gorgeous poetess, falls in love with Ayan but refuses to let him in her life. Once married and later divorced, Saba has been through the arduous path of love and heart-break in the past and after seeing the hidden affection of Ayan towards Alizeah on the dinning table, she realized that she was only a need for Ayan; therefore no matter what, he can never love her the way he loves Alizeah reminiscing her statement,”Main kisiki zaroorat nahin, khwahish banna chahti hoon” (I don’t want to be someone’s need, but his ultimate desire”). Indeed she stood by her words at the cost of loosing her love forever with brave face.

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Be honest, no matter how painful to say and hear:

Alizeah shares a special relationship with Ayan. For her, he is a friend more important than relationship, more important than family. Ayan loves her and Alizeah loves him, but it is he, who perceive her more than a friend and not the other way around. In short, he is friend-zoned. Alizeah never could love Ayan the way he loves her and she choose to be honest about it rather than lie to him and herself, not only emotionally destroying him but also herself. This stern decision has broken him many a times, but in the upside, has enabled Ayan to recognize his inner power and his ability to put himself in the highest priority.

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Last but not the least

Love unconditionally i.e without attachment:

This friend-zone relationship has shown more promises fulfilled, have seen heart get healed, strong support system and most importantly, a sense of belonging and zen. Like Alizeah beautifully says, “Pyaar mein junoon hai, Dosti mein sukoon hai” (There is passion in love and zen in friendship). We live in a world where marriages and divorces are falling apart in lightening speed. We don’t adore love we used to do earlier. Nowadays, friendship seems to establish over materialistic pleasure but not on genuine emotions and affection as a pillar. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is a breath of fresh air that reinstil the faith in love all over again. Ayan found happiness in loving Alizeah with no strings attached, acknowledged her friendship till she lasted and he’s able to do that because he loved her unconditionally, accepted her the way she is. Similarly, Alizeah choose to overlook his desperation, and choose to accept him as her biggest strength, loving him unconditionally as well.

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There are many who’ve outrightly rejected the film and the premises and it is absolutely fine. Not all films can please everyone at a same time and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is one of them. A film too complex and refreshingly uncompromising to get the grip with.

We all say, “I love you” and never even once said, ‘I friend you for life”, it not only sounds melodious and feel divine but also offer sense of belonging, a sense of being in someone’s arm (home), zen that we all yearn for.

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