Ae Dil Hai Mushkil – Bollywood’s Pakistani Fantasy, Uncut!

Much awaited Karan Johar project Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was released across the globe sans Pakistan, with all the buzz and fanfare that one would expect from a movie that has a star-studded cast. With Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan as the main leads from Bollywood, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was also supposed to feature Pakistani heartthrob Fawad Khan, in a role much more than a cameo. Alas, the role was not much more than few minutes of screen presence, lacking any substance.

It might not be a rumor anymore that Karan Johar ended up in resorting to editing and chopping off some scenes that included Pakistani stars. Ae Dil Hai Mushkil has gone through a tough time, and this Karan Johar directorial remained in the news ever since the ban on Pakistani actors was imposed in India.

What’s The Story?

In an earlier interview reported in Indian media, designer Manish Malhotra had said, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is going to be that film where the characters – Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Fawad Khan are all dressed as people abroad but who are making a statement. Especially, in Anushka’s and Aishwarya’s case, it’s high street fashion mixed with labels. Both play Pakistani girls and their style has a mix of the cultures. ADHM is a film close to my heart.”

While the two female characters Alizeh (Anushka Sharma) and Saba (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) did sound like common Pakistani names, we did not witness any references to their Pakistani origins. 

What We Saw?

As we watched the film’s first day first show here in Toronto, we indeed felt that the Pakistani characters in the film have been altered keeping in mind the political controversy in India.

There’s a scene in the film where Anushka (Alizeh) tells Ranbir (Ayaan) to come visit her and while we hear the actress mouth Lucknow, her lip sync is indeed a giveaway. Anushka’s lips read Lahore and funnily what follows also hints at it. Ranbir says he does not have the visa for Lucknow. Why would an Indian guy need a visa to visit Lucknow? Strange eh.

The Pakistani Cast, Uncut?

While Karan Johan had denied replacing Fawad Khan following immense political and social pressure, what one feels very obviously is that he has definitely deleted the Pakistani heartthrob’s portions in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. In March 2016, Indian media reported regarding Fawad’s role and stated, “It’s not exactly a cameo but it becomes a backbone for a certain conflict of a character in the movie. It’s like 15-20 days of work. My role is that of a DJ. So it’s cool. I have tried something new altogether, I am wearing a completely new costume. I wouldn’t mind playing a cool guy character or a complete buffoon as well,”.

What we saw in the movie was an unimpressive role, bits and pieces of scenes with nothing cool, not even proper dialogues. Apparently, Anushka (Alizeh) and Fawad Khan (Ali) were supposedly in an intense relationship, with its ups and downs. This supposedly intense relationship left many questions unanswered as the movie evolves. Was it weak direction? Poor script? or sudden decision to chop off some scenes? You decide.


Another Pakistani star Imran Abbas makes an impressionable appearance in the film, and had this to say regarding his role:

Imran Abbasimran-abbas

Imran Abbas plays Anushka’s fiancé Dr. Faisal and does his job very well. If Imran Abbas’s scenes have been deleted, that’s a pity since Imran Abbas delivers stellar performances.

Pakistani Music Influence?

While Ae Dil Hai Mushkil boasts off great soundtrack with songs that went viral even before this film’s release, you will also hear great classics from Pakistan that include Noor Jehan’s ‘Mujhse pehli si mohabbat’ to Farida Khanum’s ‘Aaj jaane ki zid na karo’. Karan Johar’s references to Faiz, Noor Jehan and Farida Khanum indicate sophisticated class and liking to superior music from across the border.

Our Take?

Karan Johar should release the unedited version of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil in Pakistan. The film needs to be viewed in its entirety in an uncut version. The film oozes Pakistani influences throughout.

Ranbir Kapoor has proved again that he is a class performer, an actor who knows how to shift gears and exceeds expectations in all different shades and personality. This film is Ranbir Kapoor’s story all the way.

If Karan Johar hasn’t edited Fawad Khan’s scenes as rumored, it then leaves question marks on film’s script, characterization and direction, as clearly Fawad Khan has been wasted.

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