wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)
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.Read more
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
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
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 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 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
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Karam (Ayushman Khurana) uses a supposedly feminine tone and voice to talk to clients of an adult talk phone service