Director Raaj Shandilyaa creates a laugh riot that misses the chance of being a pathbreaker
Go back to the comedy shows on TV. A man posing as a girl isn’t new. Actors have made fortunes for themselves by becoming a person of the other gender. So what is new in Dream Girl? Clearly the approach of the makers to make you laugh all throughout. It is a film that aims to tickle your funny bone, which it categorically does, and while doing so makes a social commentary (only in parts though) that is very important for every person in the society to pay heed to. Yet again, it’s a masterstroke by Ayushman Khurana, who’s basking in his Andhadhun fame and a National Award for the same. Can this man ever go wrong?
Karam (Ayushman Khurana) has nurtured a talent of speaking in a feminine voice since childhood, owing to which he has been posing as his friends’ mother over phone and also playing Seeta in Ramleela successfully for over decades. Desperate to find a good job, he lays hands on a job at a friendship call center posing as ‘Pooja’. He finds an array of men falling for him, including his girlfriend Maahi’s (Nushrat Bharucha) brother Mahendra (Abhishek Banerjee), and also a woman. Things get complicated when they all wish to meet him/her.
Written by Nirmaan Singh and Shandilyaa himself, the story idea is both- simple and tricky. At first it seems a casual case of a man posing as a woman to land himself a job, and you indeed wanted it to transcend from there. But sadly, it doesn’t do so with flair. It speaks a bit about society in general but only in parts.
The context without talking about gender ideologies, is as straightforward as it seems. But is there a problem with that? Since you’ve already kept the expectations high, especially with Ayushman and his choices, your mind doesn’t react in a simple manner. Here, it’s up to you to treat this one as a film that caters to comedy genre without making high claims. Comedy is undoubtedly well positioned.
Right from the word ‘go’, the screenplay is full of energy. The scenes are crafted with so much enthusiasm that you can’t help but laugh at the build up. What you appreciate about the plot is that your lead doesn’t just randomly start posing as a woman. He has been given a background and his intentions for actually taking up a job involving female voice is never questioned.
The makers attempt to win you with genuine amusing moments through situational comedy but at times, the comedy does get substandard and you are left wanting for more. Also, the film seems to be leaving you in between the scenes, not a very good thing. The intermission point is splendid and its build up too is worth the wait.
What is a setback though in the second half is that it takes too much time in bringing the actual meaning out becoming a dampener. Slipping into comedy of errors zone, there are moments where you feel the film is being dragged for no reason and only sticks to being a comedy without punch. But the dark clouds don’t stay for long and you do keep laughing, ignoring the minor minuses.
Ayushman Khurana nails every scene he is in. Seeing his trajectory in the past few films, he is a sure shot winner. He’s caught the mannerisms of a girl fantastically and delivers an applause worthy act. You just can’t have enough of him in the drama. Be it during the Ramleela in the film where he is visually a female or even during the times when he just speaks in the voice of woman over phone, he is remarkable. As an actor, it’s a difficult job. More so, he makes it look a cakewalk.
Nushrat Bharucha is good in her role but she evidently suffers due to half hearted justification to her character. In fact her role could have had more meaning given the film talked about genders. It would have been nicer to see a female perspective more strongly in this premise.
Annu Kapoor too is marvelous. In a supporting act, he lends strong grip to the main tonality of the film and adds his own flavour to the plot. His chemistry with Ayushman too is to watch out for, wherein you find yourself laughing just at their appearance together.
Vijay Raaz in his own boundaries gives the film the much needed zeal. His character is crucial to the plot and he hits a winning shot. Manjot Singh in his one liners is outrightly funny. Rajesh Sharma has an important role and he aces in his part.
Abhishek Bannerjee too makes his part effortless and delivers a memorable one. Nidhi Bisht also is good in her boundaries. Raj Bhansali has done his part exceedingly well.
Songs by Meet Bros pass but don’t make a lasting impact. They are just okay. Sometimes they do take the narrative forward. The score however by Abhishek Arora is very much in sync with the structure. The film makes its mark at many occasions in the film through rightly placed score, which sets your mood as per the points. The score alse takes help of some old Hindi songs and tunes to convey peculiar notions and they become high points of those particular scenes.
Watch the trailer of the film here:
Cinematography by Aseem Mishra is decent. The camera doesn’t follow the ambitious path and for the same reason conveys the essence of the film in the right manner. The shots are simple, the angles are straight, and the film progresses effortlessly. The production design by Rajat Poddar is also very well thought of, in most parts. But sometimes it seems tacky also, not going in tune with the context. The sets and the overall setting of the plot are extremely smart keeping in mind the story’s nuances. You actually feel for the characters because of correct building of sets and you relate to them with ease.
Editing by Hemal Kothari is simple but sharp. There are hardly any dull moments in the film. Full marks to Kothari for exceptional skill show in the first half. You even feel that the film is worth every penny for majorly the first half.
Bollywood’s original Dreamgirl Hema Malini wouldn’t have ever thought that once Ayushman Khurana would step in her shoes. Hindi cinema has come a long way indeed. So at a time when a lot of discussion is doing the rounds that comedy in Bollywood has lost it’s charm with double-meaning content ruling, this one here should have given some strength to comedy as a genre with great meanings to offer. Dream Girl is a good entrant in not only Ayushman’s filmography but also in Hindi cinema as a whole. But stops right at finishing line it seems. A great entertainer though. One time watch for sure!