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Review: Dil Dhadakne Dou.

Who doesn’t want an all expenses paid cruise vacation? I certainly do and that’s why this movie is on my list of certified cabin fever reducers. The scenic views are amazing and for a moment there I too can pretend I am on a vacation with the Mehra family. They have everything, the wealth, the looks and the typical sexist views of any standard desi household. All my reservations against Priyanka Chopra aside, the character of Ayesha Mehra is someone a brown woman can relate to, minus the wealth of course.


From the start of the film we see in her how any daughter of a brown household is treated. She’s written off the invitation card of the trip she planned because she is now married and after marriage the girl belongs to her husband's family. All her achievements and success do not change the fact that at the end of the day she’s a woman who is expected to provide an heir for her husband. Her work life success means nothing to her parents who are going to give the family company to her brother instead. Owning her own company does not save her from her mother in laws remarks of what a good housewife should be or when she will give her grandchildren. Her achievements, owning the second most successful travel company and being on the Forbes top 10 entrepreneurs list, dull in comparison to her brothers, who (checks notes) gave a presentation last week. We see a very successful woman who is unhappy with her marriage, and to a large extent also held back by it. The expectations of family, in-laws and society do not deem her work achievements as real achievements because at the end of the day she is not a complete woman until she becomes a mother.


The Mehra’s are a typical desi family in that they think their son is a gift from God and their daughter is just…….there. Her achievements are rarely celebrated, her existence erased from the family now that she is married and her problems dismissed. We see that Ayesha is unhappy in her marriage, but since there are no physical signs of that unhappiness, (her husband isn’t physically abusive), her family can not understand why she would want to divorce him. She says she doesn’t love her husband but that is not a good enough reason to divorce him. This is not uncommon in our society. We see women stuck in unhappy marriages everyday, I’m sure there is one in every family. Ayesha’s own mother is stuck in an unhappy marriage with a cheating spouse but unlike Ayesha she does not have the choice to leave.


The two scenes in the movie where Ayesha first announces her reason to divorce her husband and does not receive much support from her parents, rather they ask “why are you doing this to us?” like her divorce will personally affect their lives. And the second where they do eventually end up supporting her decision but only after her husband gets aggressive with her. While Ayesha receives her happy ending and support from her parents, that is not always the case for most women especially if the reason is being unhappy without any outwardly signs of abuse. Ayesha had a career and business to fall back on even if her parents did not support her but her mother did not have this cushion, like most women in our society.


Overall, while the film is a good lighthearted watch, it touches upon everyday issues that otherwise get ignored in favor of the more urgent ones. Ayesha’s character especially makes you think about how no matter how successful a woman is she is not considered a complete woman until is good at managing the house and she becomes a mother. And I believe it also deserves some credit for bringing up the idea of divorce due to a loveless marriage.





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7 Comments


Thank you for sharing this post. A brilliant read!


The film, I agree, covers so many aspects of a desi family. Many that we can all relate to as well. The inclination towards the sons of the family is a very normal practice in almost every household in Pakistan. The idea that the sons will provide and support the parents after they retire and grow old is the only driving force. I mean, it does impact the daughters but have we ever considered the impact and influence that this mindset has on the lives of the sons? Every decision that their parents take for them or force them into is in one way or the other guided by this eventual…


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Thank you for you wonderful comment Mahnoor! There is no doubt that sons are always prefered over daughters in desi households. While we should definitely be talking about the pressure of expectations on the sons, at the end of the day they will still have the support of their parents no matter what they do. While women are at risk of losing everything at any point in their lives even if they make the smallest mistake. The only way this can change is to treat son and daughters equally both in terms of the support and opportunities you give them and also the expectations you have of them,

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Hi Khadija!

I found this blog to be an interesting read, just as much as the film was an eye opener for me!!

The film really forced me to think about how the parental pressures applied to PC's character just because she was keener to pursue a career rather than settle down, raise a child and be a homemaker are typical of South Asian households. I wonder why is it traditionally just women who choose to stay in loveless marriages and make compromises in the hopes to keep the marriage intact or even rekindle the romance. I am honestly tired of watching media products in Bollywood that consistently focus on the narratives of unhappy women who hang onto their cheating…


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Wonderfully put Aimen, thank you for your comment! And thank you for the suggestion as well, I have added Jugg Jugg Jeeyo to my to watch list

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Hallo Khadija! Thank you for sharing your opinions about the movie.


I haven't seen the movie, but it's interesting to read the blog about the effects of loveless and forced marriages. And even girls in every era face these problems. And I want to mention the stereotype that a woman is a complete woman only when her husband or family is happy with her. And the thing is that we also feel in our daily life that working women are not given much respect because they look independent and do not follow the traditions. I would like to point out that in my area also they are following the concept that if parents support their daughters for studies and jobs…

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Rafay Abdul Razzaq
Rafay Abdul Razzaq
Aug 01, 2022

HEY BESTIE! first of all that's a really well-written analysis. I honestly haven't seen this movie but I really want to thank you for bringing up and mentioning the idea of a 'loveless' marriage. Maybe it partly has to do with the director being a female, Zoya Akhtar. For decades romantic relationships have rarely even been defined by love and mostly an overly exaggerated infatuation passes. It's one step for cinema to show a good loving relationship but another to show a "working" relationship deprived of love.


The reason I've said "working" brings me to the next point where you mentioned that marriage is viewed from the lens of the parents and the sentiment of "why are you doing this…


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Wow! This blog was a great read. It, among the relevant issues and important points to touched upon, highlights how even feel-good movies can elicit powerful responses through the characters in its world.


I watched Dil Dhadakne Do (DDD) when it first came out. While Ayesha's character is groundbreaking in many ways, I wished to see more of the background of her character. In this day and age, any portrayal of women who are inclined towards professional pursuits and being in the workplace is taken with more than a grain of salt. Critics are more than willing to point to fallacies, spin the narrative, and contest why what for a certain women is empowering is to them morally wrong. I…


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