To satisfy the curiosity of the people around is often the one thing that comes above everything for an Indian citizen blinded by the notions of age-old patriarchy. What makes Dil Dhadakne Do beautifully relevant is how the movie successfully attempts in deconstructing this very notion.
The self-made Ayesha Mehra (Priyanka Chopra)
A dysfunctional Mehra family goes for a cruise on the occasion of the 30th wedding anniversary of Kamal and Neelam Mehra. The extent of patriarchy becomes visible right from the invitation card sent for the same. The Mehra’s intentionally remove Aysha Mehra’s name from the card. Reason? ‘Shaadi ke baad ladki parayi ho jaati hai!‘ (The girl belongs to another family after marriage) Their first child Aysha Mehra, the one behind the invitation, herself gets no place in the card!
But Aysha forgives, as usual, because Ayesha has spent her entire life thwarting her desires. She has the confidence to build a successful business but can’t summon the strength to confront her parents. This is what makes Ayesha so stunningly relatable to every Indian woman.
The Charmer Sunny Singh (Farhan Akhtar)
Sunny Singh, Ayesha teenage love, becomes our love too just with limited yet really impactful scenes. “Since when did she need your permission to go for a job”, Sunny asks Manav, Ayesha’s husband, as he boasts of his pompous open-mindedness in ‘letting’ his wife work. In this very scene, we feel sorry for Ayesha for having let go of Sunny.
And when we come to know that Sunny didn’t return in spite of Ayesha’s insisting because he wanted to make something of himself so that worthy enough to marry her, we are left desperate to see them get back together.
Childish yet lovable Kabir Mehra (Ranveer Singh)
Kabir Mehra, the youngest child to the Mehra couple is just another Freebird who is being forcefully caged by his parents in the name of legacy, reputation, and status.
An aspiring pilot, Kabir is suited up to take in charge of the family business. In spite of having the right business acumen, Ayesha is completely ruled out from inheriting the family business because patriarchy demands the male child to take over the family business!
Though a bit immature, Kabir has a good heart. He falls for Farah Ali just because he sees in her what he wants to be – carefree and completely in charge of one’s life, having the freedom to make choices and living with full passion. It is she who gives him the courage to break free and run for what excites you.
Kamal and Neelam Mehra (Anil Kapoor and Shefali Shah)
Kamal and Neelam Mehra have never been very kind and understanding of their kids. They forced Ayesha into a marriage she was not prepared for and pushed Kabir into the family business he never asked for.
But the couple does not come out as villains. They are just another Indian couple who like everyone else are trying to do according to the principle of ‘Log KyaKahenge‘(What will people say). They cover up their acrimonious marriage in the shades of “adjustment’”. When Kamal asks Neelam why she never left him in spite of his extramarital affairs, she replies “Where was I supposed to go?” She had nowhere to go and so she silently ignored everything in her troubled marriage. The idea of ‘Shaadi me adjust karna padta hai‘(Adjustments are normal in marriage) resonates well through Neelam Mehra.
A trip can change a lot of things. It did for the Mehras too. It was a satisfaction to watch Ayesha walk out of an unhappy marriage and see Kabir run to get back to Farah as much as it was to see Kamal Mehra stand up for his daughter and also apologize to his wife Neelam.
The movie doesn’t end with all are happy because, in a dysfunctional Indian family, things are never going to be easy and smooth. What the movie concludes with is how to stand up for each other and not fit into the molds made by societal norms and convictions. Or in short – ‘Har Dil Dhadakne Do’