With the blitzkrieg that was the title song (and rightly so as it's one of the most melodious tracks of the year), and quotes like 'Pyaar junoon hai aur dosti sukoon hai', you get a rough idea what Karan Johar's next film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is about — the complex dynamics between love and friendship.
Like Ranbir Kapoor says in the trailer, "Ajeeb kahaani hai pyaar aur dosti ke beech. Pyaar humara hero, dosti humari heroine (It's a strange story, the one between love and friendship. Like love is the hero and friendship, the heroine)."
Johar's films, for all practical purposes, could be called the love series. There's love between friends (KKHH), then love for your family (K3G), followed by love with someone outside of your marriage (KANK), love in a high school (SOTY) and now Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, a film about unrequited love.
It is fairly clear from the trailer that Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma play the best friends, the two people who have unmistakable chemistry and get along because both cannot handle the intensity that comes with love. Kapoor compares love to a slap in the trailer, so you know he has his issues with it.
But it's a Bollywood film, and a Karan Johar one. So naturally, our lead pair falls in love. Ranbir with the sensual, poetic and breath-taking Aishwarya Rai, and Anushka, with the brooding and (there's no diplomatic way to say this) undeniably yummy Fawad Khan.
So far so predictable.
The trailer for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil goes through its range of emotions: lust, love, friendship, chemistry, anger, frustration, sadness — it's all there. Topped with glamour, a good-looking ensemble and a film set in London, and you get a typical Karan Johar film. One that looks great and makes you feel things.
But there are two crucial things that sets Ae Dil Hai Mushkil apart. Performances and casting.
Having seen Ranbir and Anushka in Bombay Velvet earlier (this writer thinks they had chemistry even then), you are not gobsmacked by their pairing. They both have a natural ease with which they approach their characters, making it extremely believable.
They both act with their eyes, and there's a lot going on there in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. You make that transition with them from being stellar friends to extreme baggage of having two other people involved in their relationship.
Which brings us to Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan. Very smart casting on Dharma Productions' part. Bachchan is every bit the older, sensual woman her character poses to be, and Fawad acts as a stellar distraction (come on, we'd all be in a fix if we had to chose between Ranbir and Fawad) in the whole Anushka-Ranbir dynamic.
So this Diwali, Karan Johar brings to you a story about love and friendship (and both), and he does so while catering to all kinds of audiences. Those who loves his films for the large scale, dramatic and good-looking features that they are will love Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, but he also doesn't take his characters or story for granted.
Also, welcome back Ranbir Kapoor. This is your time to shine.
Watch the trailer here: