Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Nushrat Bharucha, Annu Kapoor
Director: Raaj Shandhilya
What’s it about:
Blessed with the God gift of being able to sound like a woman, Karam (Ayushmann) is the go-to guy in his locality for playing female roles in local plays. While his father (Annu Kapoor) detests this skill, even Karam isn’t quite happy with his feminine side. But he is also desperate for a job, and as luck would have it, he lands a job at a ‘friendship call center’ that exploits this very skill of his to take erotic phone calls from lovelorn men. How long will this charade last?
The promo of Dream Girl was a runaway hit. It collated some of the most hilarious punches from the film and bunged it together, making our expectations hit the roof. And why not? It also stars Bollywood’s current poster boy Ayushmann Khurrana, who it seems can do no wrong. But sadly, Dream Girl isn’t at the level of entertainment that one would expect from Ayushmann.
The film starts and ends with him, but in between, writer-director Raaj inserts situations and characters who are desperate, quirky and typical. Among them is a cop, who is also a bumbling Shayar, a rowdie small-town youngster who looks like he is poor man’s Justin Bieber, an editor of a women’s magazine, who hates men after being ditched thrice, a village simpleton, who by his own admission has more cows than women in his life and Karam’s very own father, who is harboring hopes of settling down at the ripe age of somewhere around 60.
It’s a great premise that promises a fun, but the film’s writing is weaker than the morale of most men in the film, who act like excited children every time they so much as just hear a ‘hello’ from Pooja.
Ayushmann once again delivers on expected lines, but his character is much less fleshed out for him to bring in any real conviction. Even the female voice given to him doesn’t quite suit his persona and seems fake. Among the other characters, Annu Kapoor and Manjot Singh bring in a lot of laughter. Rest are relegated to being mere caricatures and the film’s leading lady has barely any real significance.
What still works are the intermittent jokes and punches that bring in the laughs, but the film’s wafer-thin plot doesn’t bring in too much conviction. There is a message or two about loneliness, casteism, gender-bias and the ills of social media in our daily existence, but it’s too cursory to make any real impact.
The film remains entertaining in parts mainly due to its characters and their situational comedy. The plot wobbles when it tries to pack in too many complexities and confusions that are ultimately salvaged by decent performances, harmless comedy, and some melodious music.
By Ronak Kotecha