Dream Girl

wogma rating: Catch on TV/online for sure (?)

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

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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):

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Dream Girl - Cast, crew, links

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Running time:
140 minutes
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