Another kid on the cinematic block has debuted this season with Dil Jo Bhi Kahey. Karan Sharma plays a young Mauritian studying in Stockholm, who graduates out with a degree and his love played by Annabelle Wallis, in tow. A young romance is forced to grow up as the two find themselves in a cultural conflict. Karan belongs to a family whose ancestors had come down from India and worked as laborers in the fields for the English. But that being a thing of the past, today his father, Amitabh Bachchan, a practical and liberal guy, is working in a reputed bank and doing very well for himself.
Annabelle hails from a reputed white family, also living in Mauritius. But her father,(Malcolm Stoddard) an uptight French man, still belongs to the old school of thought, and if anything, he wants to drive all the Indians living in Mauritius, out of his 'ancestors land'. An obvious and awkward animosity arises when the children decide to make the two families meet. Sparks fly, doors bang, and both the families are totally against any communion.
Revathy, playing Karan's mother doesn't take too lightly to this situation and her health suffers, landing her in the ICU. Where Amitabh is more liberal and supports his son, he is totally helpless. Misunderstandings give way to Karan and Annabelle also turning their backs to each other, much to their own heartache.
In comes Bhumika Chawla, a doctor who saves Revathy's life, and becomes a favorite with the distressed mother. Chawla instantly falls in love with Karan and matters get complicated as Karan is suppressed to agree with marrying Bhumika, much to his mother's wishes. Dil Jo Bhi Kahey provides charming little snapshots of a young romance and the two parallel vignettes, Bhumika and Annabelle, and who ultimately settles down with Karan. The movie which starts off on a young and spirited note, in the second half becomes much more slower and sedate.
Shot in some of the best locations of the world, with some excellent cinematographic appeal, and great production value, Dil Jo Bhi Kahey should make papa Romesh proud of his son's debutant effort. Infact in the first song sequence where Amitabh and Karan come together for the first time, an Indian cinematic history of sorts was created, as probably this is the first actor sharing screen presence with the Big B, who is taller than him, and he laps up screen appeal in a flash. Karan exudes a kind of a young-boy charm, and has the potential to go places.
But being a cross cultural story, a repeated Hindi narration followed by every English dialogue delivery, ends up giving the movie a prosthetic feel, diluting the grip of the movie.
Debutant Annabelle Wallis fits her role well. Amitabh shows his caliber as a seasoned actor, and comes across totally natural. Though having a short role, Bhumika Chawla adds to the screen presence. Too many songs somewhere slow down the pace of the movie, but the title track and the song 'mere munna' are outstanding.
As a director, debutant Romesh Sharma shows his grasp over the medium gained with his experience as an actor, producer and a maker of TV serials, but a stronger script would have helped Dil Jo Bhi Kahey.