A new genre of cinema was created by the duo of Farhan Akhtar and Riteish Sidhwani with DIL CHAHTA HAI, and they followed it up with ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA, the underlining idiom of the genre defined by its urbanity, angst and problems of loneliness. 4 years after ZNMD, the duo is coming up with DIL DHADKNE DO, directed by Zoya Akhtar, which is more of a cruise film, and supposedly a film about a dysfunctional Punjabi family. Quite a lot of publicity is being created for the film but would it be able to live up to the hype when it releases tomorrow?
Some reality check- in the interregnum from ZNMD and DDD Hindi cinema has moved along and it has gone native, as also local. The locations being more rural, real and less urban, manifest from the 3 most successful films of the year so far, NH10, PIKU and TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS. It is not the ensemble star cast that has become the defining quotient for the film, but the content, bereft of the sheen and gloss, and exotic locales, that somehow seemed to drown down the narrative and the plot of the film.
During last one year or so, the location of Hindi films has also undergone change, now it is not the Punjabi flavor that is endearing the audience, but the spice and mystique from Bengal, the black magic so to say, which has become the flavor of the season PIKU and DETECTIVE BYOMKESH BAKSHI being the shining examples that unspooled the enigma of the city of Kolkata in vivid nuances.
There is a limit up to which one can keep on churning the supposed dysfunctional element of the Punjabi culture and keep on spinning yarns of nostalgia woven around it and would DIL DHANDKNE DO be the point of departure, a signal for the fraternity to move away from the supposed happy go lucky Punjabi template, and rather bring the reality into focus. The nostalgia is now becoming realistic by focusing on real issues and Hindi cinema has sort of reinvented itself, commercially as well, by intelligently weaving realism into fantasy to whip up heady concoctions that are defining new frontiers of commercial success. Star power is not able to set the box office on fire, but it is the storyline that is bringing the footfall.
In such a scenario would the trio of Farhan Akhtar, Anil Kapoor and Ranveer Singh along with Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma be able to offer a different fare that the patron has now become accustomed to? From the face of it, it does not seem to be the case as it is the same happy go lucky kind of demeanor where even a dog has now been thrown in as a part of the content? In such a scenario would DIL DHADKNE DO remain an up market film or rather an urban film that supposedly endears the upward mobile and the Diaspora, or would it be able to score a hit with the audience on a pan-India basis? The competition indeed is tough for DDD as TWMR has raised the bar. It would be interesting to watch whether this ensemble star cast be able to reach the new benchmark of success-Rs.100 crore in the same time frame as NH10, PIKU and TWMR have done? Wait for weekend to get detailed analysis.