3 min read.Updated: 29 Oct 2016, 12:32 AM ISTUday Bhatia
Karan Johar's film fetishizes Urdu, Bollywood and one-sided love
How do you say “white elephant art" in Urdu? I’m sure the makers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil have affection for the language and its place in Indian cinema, but its presence here felt more like a pose than natural speech. A character actually says, “Wow, Urdu is so exotic," and though it’s meant as a joke, this feels like the film’s attitude as well. Every time Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) says waalid or shauhar, one pictures the writers (story and screenplay by Karan Johar; dialogue by Johar and Niranjan Iyengar) patting themselves on the back for being so refined. The fact is that Urdu dialogue today is mostly limited to two kinds of Hindi films: ones set in the distant past and ones set in Pakistan. Whether the scenes set in “Lucknow, India" (as the onscreen text assures us) were in “Lahore, Pakistan" in an earlier draft, we may never know.