Dream Girl

wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:

Aims to expand on a hilarious ‘what if’ situation but suffers from an afterthought to philosophise it. Very witty dialogue and good performances in a hotch-potch of a film.

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Director: Raaj Shandilya
Running time: 140 minutes
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Dream Girl - Preview

The most reassuring bit about an Ayushman Khurana film in the comedy genre is that not all the jokes will be exhausted in the trailer. Of course, what goes in the trailer is hardly his call. But, something about his record in the past year or so convinces you to expect entertainment through the film. Of course, the niche he has carved out with Vicky Donor, Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan, Badhai Ho, and now Dream Girl is such that it begins with snickers and giggles and ends with the audience becoming comfortable with the largely taboo topic.

Interestingly, none of these films is from the same writer(s) or director. The only common thing seems to be the actor for not just the topic, but the script too that must have been picked. And yet, he doesn’t seem to have typecast himself. Yet.

A man dressing up as a woman usually brings cringes, but the set-up here seems like the film is going to pull it off while actually making us laugh. Yes, tempering my hopes by reminding myself that I didn’t quite enjoy Shubh Mangal Saavdhan as much.

Dream Girl releases on 13 September 2019.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Dream Girl cuts almost straight to the chase, and after a very brief set-up, you land up in Karam's (Ayushman Khurana) workspace, a call centre which services clients who need female company. Like you know from the trailer, Karam too is a call centre executive who naughty-talks his way into caller's lives with his charm, wit and conversational personality. And this quickly leads to complications with his father, his fiancée's family, the police, etc. Despite this quick pace, everything that happens until the interval, you already know from the trailer. To top it off, the makers wanted to cover this up with a "message" about loneliness. These bits make the film seem directionless even though it is focused on one story-line throughout. 

Would the film have been any less acceptable were it without a message?

The second half especially goes out of control. The attempts at resolving the mess that Karam has landed up in are entertaining. But it also seems like the writers ended up including all the possible resolutions while scurrying from one to another. Just like the characters scampered—unfortunately much like in a Housefull or a Golmaal. The background score and tacky production didn’t help. Thankfully, the humour is notches above these slapstick comedies, and Dream Girls just about saves itself from falling into the slapstick category.

The snappy, witty lines are the soul of the film. The clever dialogue, along with the one-line description are enough for the film to entertain. In fact, some of the innuendoes also pass through swiftly without making you cringe. That you have capable actors to deliver the quips brings shine to the lines. 

Annu Kapoor creates a world of his own, disconnected from the real world or even the reel world of the film. Like most times, this time too, it works. It is a relief to see the protagonist's friend, who is not loud. Manjot Singh as Smiley Singh pulls off with restraint and great comic timing. However, some of the bit roles stood out the most like the boy who plays the younger Smiley. There are a few over-the-top performances too, but none of them long enough to be a bother. Of course, there is a female lead, but she is as incidental as can ever be. In fact, I would call Nushrat Bharucha a part of the supporting cast with Annu Kapoor and Manjot Singh having more screen time than her. For a film about romance and loneliness, its own romance is dealt with pretty quickly, almost as if they wanted it out of the way.

Any complains we might have, are of course washed out by a class-act from Ayushman Khurana. This actor is so confident and secure. Scene-after-scene you see him channel his character's inner feminine side and yet you are struck with awe during the climax. 

This is even though the climax is quite awfully and hurriedly written. I don't mind philosophy at all. But, I also don't see the necessity of forcefully fitting in a philosophy. Would the film have been any less acceptable were it without a message?

Speaking of which, I just couldn't figure out the whole sequence involving religion. Similarly, the idea of having all obese, over-made-up women in the call centre didn't entirely fall into the film's line of humour. It made little sense to me. By the end, I took it to mean that the movie wanted to convey that nothing in life is worth taking too seriously. How I wish that is what the film believed in too, and hadn't felt the need to whitewash the entertainment with a preachy end.

- meeta, a part of the audience

34 reviewers(?) - 15 yays 15 so-so 4 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...All misgivings and sins of overstating the theme are swept aside by the central performance.... full review

Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...a laugh-a-minute-riot that fulfills all the expectations... full review

Thumbs up, by Susri Sahu, Bollywood Life : ...Ayushmann Khurrana's comic timing and crackling dialogues make it a must watch!... full review

Thumbs up, by Sameer Salunkhe, cineblitz : ...Writer-director Shaandilyaa keeps it popcorn entertainment and thankfully doesn’t become preachy towards the business end... full review

Thumbs up, by Analita Seth, Filmfare : ...A well written and directed film, this was Raaj Shaandilyaa’s first directorial venture and he sure has had a promising start.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...laughter guaranteed... full review

Thumbs up, by Manjusha Radhakrishnan, Gulf News : ...Convoluted second half and over-sanitising... full review

Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...A must-watch for Ayushmann Khurrana’s laudable performance and a heavy dose of laughter to break free from your boring and busy lives.... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankur Pathak, Huffington Post : ...Ayushmann Khurrana Is Exceptional In This Insanely Funny Film... full review

Thumbs up, by R.M. VIJAYAKAR, India West : ...Second Half Makes Up for a Tepid First Hour... full review

Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Laugh Out Loud… Louder… Loudest!... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...Top-class Haryanvi gag-fest... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankhurie Mulasi, Movie Talkies : ...The songs and the background score are good, screenplay is nice however, there was scope for improvement in the story... full review

Thumbs up, by Joginder Tuteja, Planet Bollywood : ...Ayushmann gets into vintage Govinda avtar for this laugh riot... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...You’ll come out laughing till your sides hurt... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...An enjoyable one time watch, missing the finesse and the effortlessness seen in the recent hit attempts in this particular genre.... full review

So-So, by Arnab Banerjee, Deccan Chronicle : ...Derailed by poor writing!... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...A film that claims to understand the need for human connection is either indifferent to its women or judges them so harshly.... full review

So-So, by Dhaval Mehta, DNA : ...Watch it for entertainment but it is not a compact or a perfectly- executed film.... full review

So-So, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...Dream Girl is, at its best, a malnourished tribute to Vicky Donor... full review

So-So, by Anna MM Vetticad, FirstPost : ...Ayushmann Khurrana & some excellent co-stars are funny despite bumpy writing... full review

So-So, by T J Reddy, fullhyd.com : ...What the movie fails to explore is its wide array of characters.... full review

So-So, by Charu Thakur, india today : ...Ayushmann Khurrana film is ROFL all the way. But that's all... full review

So-So, by Ambica Sachin, Khaleej Times : ...But somehow 'Dream Girl' runs through it at such a pace, many of the jokes don't work and we are left wondering when matters will come to a head and the film will end.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...struggles to live up to its potential... full review

So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...The senior actor shines, bringing flair to his scenes, although all the Muslim stereotypes that the film insists on perpetuating are troubling.... full review

So-So, by Vinayak Chakravorty, IANS, Outlook India : ...Manjot Singh, Vijay Raaz and Abhishek Banerjee are crucial props in carrying the fun factor of the script forward, but Nushrat Bharucha''s effort is hampered by the weak role she gets.... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...The character’s transformation into the henna-haired and Urdu-loving romantic produces some of the movie’s most difficult scenes, and is about as sensitive and empowering as Karam’s ability to trump his hard-working female colleagues.... full review

So-So, by Anusha Iyengar, Times Now : ...Despite a few flaws, it keeps you entertained but you end up expecting more from Ayushmann-Annu duo that seems quite weak.... full review

So-So, by Sreeparna Sengupta, Times of India : ...‘Dream Girl’ is positioned as an out and out comedy, so don’t expect any nuanced probe into cross dressing or exploring one’s sexuality.... full review

Thumbs down, by Baradwaj Rangan, Film Companion : ...Ayushmann Khurrana Stars In An ‘Ayushmann Khurrana Comedy’ That’s His Lamest One Yet... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...He plays Karam/Pooja with grace and conviction, and makes this thing sing.... full review

Thumbs down, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...Like Pooja, it speaks in two voices, one of which is fake.... full review

Thumbs down, by Kennith Rosario, The Hindu : ...Witty dialogues, hollow comedy... full review

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Karam (Ayushman Khurana) uses a supposedly feminine tone and voice to talk to clients of an adult talk phone service

What Worked

  • The self-referencing in Badhai Ho and Ayushman’s name as a blessing
  • The proposed resolution for the police officer’s problems with his wife that reminded me of “jahaan chaar yaar” from Sharaabi

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Product placement
  • White women as dancers in the climax song

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: A few curse words deliberately masked as normal language
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Lots of innuendo, mention of sex; theme is adult in general; bare-top Ayushman Khurana
  • Concept: Karam (Ayushman Khurana) uses a supposedly feminine tone and voice to talk to clients of an adult talk phone service
  • General Look and Feel: an attempt to create small town India, which translates to loud and garish set and costumes.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Dream Girl - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Music Director:
Running time:
140 minutes

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