A lot of people die of shock when they hear that "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" is one of my favorite movies and the story one of my favorite love stories. I have received such reaction a lot many times so I thought it would be a good idea to actually write about why ADHM is indisputably a very admired movie for me; definitely my favorite.
And as I write this article, I am listening to the most pure song to have ever been written about pain of unrequited love, the one song which expresses the feelings of pain and gratitude in love with grace (grace is an important word here); the one song which makes it clear that the lover is heart broken but not resentful; the one song which succeeds in showing that the lover is pining for the beloved every moment yet the passion has not withered; the one song that elegantly brings to light the vulnerability involved in love yet the courage to admit that vulnerability, to accept that vulnerability and to embrace it wholeheartedly. If you can guess, the song is the title song of the same movie, ADHM. Well, this song would take up an entire post and this is not that post, this post is about the movie ADHM and why it is one of my favorites, close to heart.
So, bringing focus back to the movie. The movie is beautiful and as with all movies revolving around love, affection and passions, relatability to movie is one of the biggest deciding factors in the individualistic review of the movie. So, I have to give people a gentle empathetic nod when they express indifference or dislike towards ADHM, their opinion is perfectly acceptable but I harbor a different opinion.
I was left bewitched by the movie, I watched it last year on Diwali day. The lover in Ranbir Kapoor, the estranged boy friend in Fawad Khan, the sandwiched beloved in Anushka Sharma, the wise former lover in Shah Rukh Khan and an image of "aspired-lady" in Aishwarya Rai Bachchan all have played their respective roles in the best way to make the movie what it is. But for me the movie is all about Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and of course, Shah Rukh Khan (his lines on Love at the art gallery are big reminders to all of us on what Love truly is, but more on that later, or in a different post, because it demands another post). You can remark that I am a little biased towards SRK, well I am , not because of his acting prowess(which is definitely state-of-art) but something else shines more, his gentle demeanor towards ladies.
Coming back to the movie, ADHM. So, in a nutshell the movie revolves around two protagonists - Ranbir and Anushka. We'll not focus on the names but the character they depict in the movie because that is what matters more than anything else. Ranbir who does not know what love is meets Anushka who definitely has had profound experiences of love, separation, pain, pining and eventually falls in love with her, or should I say he rises in love for he gets to understand the fabric of love, love transforms him, it brings out the pain and vulnerability of love in him and that pain becomes his songs - exactly what Anushka had remarked was lacking in him when he had first sung to her. And as with all love stories, the path of their ambiguous relationship is not smooth (ambiguous because Anushka has someone else in her heart who occupies more space than Ranbir), the original lover comes in the picture, an unsettling situation happens and Anushka has to go with the one she loves. Ranbir is left all alone, unbearably broken, probably feeling the pain of love for the first time in his adult-life romantic relationship. And when separation happens after a good time spent with the beloved, it is emotionally challenging, the lover cries to himself/herself, pines for the beloved, the warmth but never expresses. I believe this pain that ensues after separation has been magnificently portrayed in the movie; Love is more about pain than companionship, the torrid love I am talking about, the kind of love that invigorates us, sets us on fire and places peace in our hearts at the same time. Without any temperance or any restrain the movie depicts the pain that Ranbir goes through, tear-eyed everywhere he goes (not at all like those attention seekers, but very genuine, very pure and yet he endures). At the airport when he meets Aishwarya Rai he breaks down (breaking down in its own essence is a unique experience, it proves that the heart was indeed given to the beloved), he shares everything with her.
Anushka's marriagedeepens the void that was created when she had left, the void sort of gets filled by Aishwarya, but never to the extent that the name of Anushka is wiped from that void; Ranbir consistently finds himself lost in the thoughts of Anushka. He does not express it much, but in his heart he pines for her all the time. Why? Because he knows that he loves her but more than that he knows that the pain he feels is his vulnerability in love (the wiser me would say "attachment" but I do not want to say that here because something else seems more important to talk about here). What binds me more to the movie is the pain that Ranbir feels, pure, unvarnished, unassuming, innocent and extremely real.The relationship which Ranbir lands up with Aishwarya is the type in which he just slides without being conscious of what he is doing, it just happens but in his inner heart he knows that someone occupies more space than Aishwarya. Aishwarya eventually discovers that at the dinner table when they invite Anushka. Logically, the mature lady that Aishwarya is, she takes a decision and persuades Ranbir to leave her because he obviously has Anushka in his heart; Ranbir relents.
How true .
Once again, he is thrown from frying pan into the fire, he cannot contain the anguish, the discomfort that often accompanies unrequited love, all his concealed feelings surface again when he sees Anushka after a long time and the vulnerability in love resurfaces. He runs all the way to her, surrenders to her, admits the hollowness and void in his heart, completely bows down to Anushka unable to contain his emotions; Anushka understands and admits that she loves him but that love does not involve romance. Anushka's stance is understandable and respected , but what further attracts me to ADHM is only Ranbir, the character he has played. Throughout the movie I can feel the pain that Ranbir is going through, unable to move on completely he moves to and fro between Anushka's presence and Anushka's absence.
Now, I am the kind of person who holds a very practical standpoint when it comes to love about which I have talked numerous times on this blog yet ADHM very genuinely depicts the pain and vulnerability of unrequited love, and that keeps me glued to this movie. I have an issue with the term "unrequited" though, I believe no love is unrequited if it is done with every cell in the heart, love is never validated by the response of the beloved. Even though I have used the term in this post, I believe love is love, unrequited, requited are just unnecessary man-made constructs, sort of peripheral phenomenon.
ADHM depicts the ambiguity in romantic relationship with immense vividness, drama but the drama which is not overly unbelievable, its credibility is well within limits, the movie succeeds in showing the pain of separation, the vulnerability of torrid love and the helplessness that accompanies love. But that helplessness never crosses the limits of respectful distance and holds the integrity of the relationship of the time spent together. Ranbir never acts foolishly and never chooses a violent or abusive way to channel his pain, he instead uses it to transform himself, he finds expression of that pain in his creations, that pain becomes his songs. Most people forget this aspect of love and separation, when we get separated there is all the more requirement to show love, more importantly to show more respect, to feel the pain but never wince in it expressly, instead to let that pain transform the inner self, slowly, slowly, day by day. I think I have shared all the reasons as to why the movie commands my salute without any second thought.
These are the few lines from the title song that are just my favorite:
तूने दिया है जो
वो दर्द ही सही
तुझसे मिला है तो
इनाम है मेरा