Ae Dil Hai Mushkil “AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL” is style with substance! Shot aesthetically, this modern take on friendship and love by Karan Johar is refreshingly original, and despite its length, thoroughly engaging. It has its share of flaws, but with peppy dialogue, soulful music and an effective narrative, this latest magnum opus is totally worth a watch. The story shows Alizeh (Anushka), a fiercely independent girl, still reeling from the effects of the collapse of her relationship with a former love. Ayaan (Ranbir Kapoor) is a straight edged, preppy boy, with no remarkable experience in love or heartbreak, but nurturing a hidden desire to sing. They meet one night in London, and a mutually life changing bond forms between them, that is ridden with humour, angst and a shared love of everything Bollywood. What’s remarkable about AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL is that it steers clear of all the essential mainstream trappings that Karan Johar is usually known for. Unlike his previous works, Johar doesn’t feel the need to oblige the traditional family audiences with too-good-to-be-true depictions and needless melodrama. His interpretation of relationships is contemporary and relevant this time around, and his characters are relatable people with flaws and idiosyncrasies. That is a rare achievement in Indian cinema itself, even rarer in the mega mainstream releases like this one. But all this isn’t without flaws. The complications in interpersonal relationships, although deftly dealt with, start getting a little out of hand in the last hour or so. A simpler solution could’ve been provided and some editing in the film’s length could’ve helped the cause of the film. Even in the end, it seems Johar is hell bent on making you cry, by hook or by crook. However, these things only mildly affect your experience, especially because of the spirited screenplay and ample doses of humour that make the viewing extremely light on your mind. The most striking feature in a Karan Johar film has to be its visuals. Right from stylish clothing, to gorgeous locales, and aesthetic set pieces to colourful atmosphere, everything is just dazzling. It definitely enhances the film-watching experience. Also superb are the chartbuster numbers of the film. They set the mood each time and blend beautifully with the narrative. In fact, this film would’ve felt incomplete without the music that it has. As was expected, the performances are top-notch. Ranbir Kapoor is just phenomenal. His performance keeps you glued even in the scenes that fail to impress you. As he steers through life, his encounters and experiences and the journey towards shaping his understanding of life, passion, love and finding a soulmate, are absorbing to say the least. His emotions are real, and his depiction of Ayan is as natural as it gets. While we’re used to seeing Ranbir Kapoor give stunning performances, Anushka stuns you and how. She’s vivid, magnetic and immaculate with her portrayal. Perhaps her best performance till date. Aishwarya appears in what you can call an extended cameo, and she does a good job, apart from looking absolutely ethereal. All others are good. In all, AE DIL HAI MUSHKIL is a relevant piece of mainstream cinema that skilfully combines gloss with good content. More for the youth audiences, this film deserves a watch!