Dil Dhadakne Do: Move over Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar is new queen of Richie Rich blues

Piyasree Dasgupta

Jun 10, 2015 09:51:03 IST

The man - hair gelled stiff, chest scrubbed clean of fuzz - usually comes wrapped in tee-shirts that seem indifferent to the shape of an average Indian male abdomen. The women strut around in designer clothes that will spawn a million clones in Delhi's Sarojini Nagar and Mumbai's Linking Road for the rest of the whole year. Then there's a Punjabi song which will make Indians seem like mutants whose superpower is bhangra. All this bundled into a film about dreadfully cool-type people who you typically roll your eyes in public but secretly hope to run into in bars or on Facebook.

Now, guess whose films we are talking about?

Were you going to scream Karan Johar aka KJo? Close, but not quite. And that's because we have a new queen in town - and it's ZoAk. She is Kjo, just updated.  And the proof is in the glitzy pudding.

Money, money everywhere

 Dil Dhadakne Do: Move over Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar is new queen of Richie Rich blues

Images courtesy: Facebook

Like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G), like Dil Dhadakne Do (DDD). K3G had Amitabh Bachchan wriggling into blazers and jackets like he was in an endless James Bond themed costume party. Anil Kapoor is found in DDD in expensive-looking suits and tees, wafting in and out of boardrooms, bedrooms with just too many pillows and parties with way too many bottles of scotch around.

There's money screaming 'look at me bi*****' from every frame of Dil Dhadakne Do. Just as it was in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD). And Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, or Kabhi Khushi Gham or Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. In fact, like there could be no KJo film about a un-Louis Vuitton world. While hearts broke under glittering chandeliers in gymkhana sized living rooms in KJo's world, in Zoya's post-KJo reality, they break in Buicks speeding across European countrysides and luxury cruises cutting through the Arabian Sea.

Anupama Chopra sums up the ZoAk-KJo world aptly when she says, "Because Zoya is a master of, what I call, Posh People Angst. This is a sub-genre of Hindi cinema in which beautiful people, wearing beautiful clothes, suffer in beautiful locations."

In Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, affluence was essentially the backdrop of the film, just scenery just as it has been in all the earlier KJo films. In Dil Dhadakne Do, Zoya at least tries to engage with the behind-the-scenes of the Page 3-perfect world she invites her audience to watch. For example, a scene that the DDD team thought was a cracker one and even put in the trailer, is one showing Anil Kapoor raising a toast to his wife during a super-posh dinner. You don't have to look too far to find its twin - a similar dinner scene in ZNMD where Abhay Deol mistakenly gets engaged to Kalki Koechlin.

Only, the DDD scene has slightly more nuance than the ZNMD one.

But then she loses interest in that bit of her plot and instead waddles back to familiar Bollywood territory - of love, miscommunication and resultant heartbreaks. So it goes back it being the 'not-rich person's guide to dealing with getting dumped the rich people way'.

Same characters, different names

Rahul was in Karan Johar's world what the T-Rex is in the Jurassic Park films - lucky charm, star attraction, money-maker, all rolled into one. No wonder then Johar didn't even change Shah Rukh Khan's name in K3G after Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Much as his name, Rahul was essentially the same person movie after movie. The guy whose hairstyle is as persistently bad as his sense of humour. He goes from being college stud to boardroom ninja with exactly the same lines, hairstyles and just a slightly different wardrobe. Maggi is the only other great Indian success that has resisted change the way KJo's Rahul did. Though it hasn't turned quite as well for your 3 am bowl of hot, piping goodness.

In a heartwarming tribute to Karan Johar, Akhtar turns Farhan Akhtar into her version of Rahul. Farhan in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is the nightmare boyfriend type, a commitment-phobe whose middle-name is 'charming'.The writer-type with great abs and enough moolah to travel across the world in the fanciest of vehicles.  Just like Imraan the copywriter in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, and Sunny, the journalist in Dil Dhadakne Do. 

And then there's the slightly impish, extremely rich Mama's boy kind, who makes boring look goodlooking. That's Abhay Deol, the builder's son in ZNMD and that's Ranveer Singh, the rich, clueless industrialist's son in DDD. While they don't have the same kind of sway over female hormones, it's the vast difference in the quality of their eight-pack which is responsible for that disparity, not the characters they play.

And scuba driver Katrina Kaif in ZNMD is exactly like dancer Anushka Sharma in DDD - people from London with, umm, professions Indian mommies won't approve of.

The chartbuster 

If you were to ask, how many people lost interest in ZNMD after the Senorita song was dones, you'll get a howl of 'ayes' loud enough to compete with a Modi rally. Now, why was Senorita extra cool, apart from Hrithik Roshan's feline dance moves? Because it was sung by Roshan, Abhay Deol and Farhan Akhtar themselves. So yay, what's better than guys who wax, dance, cook and mouth cocky lines? Obviously, guys who wax, dance, cook, mouth cocky lines and also sing? With that song, Zoya Akhtar made the dating prospects of average Indian men very bleak, but no one was complaining.

Cut to Dil Dhadakne Do. We have another song that's a chartbuster  sung by Priyanka Chopra and Farhan Akhtar in now what has become a ZoAk film tradition.

This formula too owes its origins to KJo. He's the mastermind behind shaadi anthems called Bole Chudiyan (Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham) and Mahi Ve (Kal Ho Na Ho, Nikhil Advani's KJo-ridden debut film). However, from KJo to ZoAk's time, the chartbuster has evolved the way pizza toppings have in our country. Just like jerk-spiced chicken replaced tandoori chicken as best post-beer pizza topping, ZoAk has dispensed with shiny lehengas in favour of sexy skirts. The sentiment, however, remains the same - giving the country that one song where all the stars of the film descend on the set, back up dancers pop up like unintended burps and a drunken uncle/aunty character shakes his/her booty, all of them perfectly choreographed.

Wait, wait , what about Luck By Chance, you might ask? Honestly, after watching Dil Dhadakne Do, it will be a miracle if any one remember's that movie... including ZoAk herself.

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Updated Date: Jun 10, 2015 09:53:43 IST