Starring Priyanka Chopra and Ranveer Singh. Rated PG. In Hindi, with English subtitles. Now playing
In Dil Dhadakne Do (Let the Heart Beat), the urbane elite of Delhi take a cruise to Turkey with all the drama, duplicity, and and dysfunction that would be expected of a house party among the über-rich. This is a floating, contemporary Gosford Park—without the murder and with much more dancing.
The heart of this film is the love between Ayesha (Priyanka Chopra) and her brother Kabir (Ranveer Singh). This is the only healthy relationship in the movie. The cruise is to celebrate the 30th wedding anniversary of their parents, Kamal Mehra (Anil Kapoor) and Neelam (Shefali Shah), whose happy marriage and business success are illusions maintained for the benefit of their social status.
Kabir is the expected heir to the family business, although he has neither the interest nor the acumen for it. While dodging his parents’ plans to marry him off to the daughter of a potential investor, he meets Farah (Anushka Sharma), a dancer employed on the ship.
Ayesha is a capable (yet overlooked) entrepreneur whose own marriage to the humourless and latently sexist Manav (Rahul Bose) is slowly morphing into her parents’ union. Her heart still longs for her first love, Sunny (Farhan Akhtar).
They are surrounded by a dizzying number of characters who follow a generational divide. The elders conspire, plot, and snipe at each other and their hosts, while the younger folk make merry and pursue their love interests.
There is a great deal of humour and joy in this film, amidst the angst and the conspicuous consumption. But the real power of Zoya Akhtar’s direction can be seen in those subtle moments when the camera rests on the face of a female character as she visibly struggles to contain her seething emotions—and then fails.