What’s common to Katrina Kaif, Rekha, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Juhi Chawla, Preity Zinta, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh? Well, besides the fact that they are all talented and look eternally beautiful in their hourglass figures, they all are the quintessential ‘Yash Raj heroine’. Yash Raj Films (YRF), which has always been synonymous with Swiss Alps, chiffon sarees and its choice of heroines, for the first time ever, introduces a ‘weighty heroine’, named Bhumi Pednekar in this week’s release DUM LAGA KE HAISHA. Does YRF’s ‘latest discovery’ live upto the reputation and the hype that goes hand in hand with every YRF discovery, and does size really matter in this film, lets analyze.
The film (set in circa 1995 in Haridwar), starts off with a self introduction of a neither qualified nor talented Prem (Ayushmann Khurrana), a high-school dropout and a die-hard Kumar Sanu fan. He confesses that he has only three weaknesses in his life: exam’s English question paper, his father’s slippers and Kumar Sanu’s melodious voice. This eventually leads to his matrimony meet, where his parents meet the parents of the ‘B.Ed graduate but fat’ Sandhya (debutante Bhumi Pednekar), who wants to become a teacher. Seizing the opportunity, Prem’s parents (esp. his father Chandrabhan Tiwari (Sanjay Mishra) gets him married to Sandhya, even though Prem is least interested in her because of her fat figure. When a very disinterested Prem does ‘nothing’ on their wedding night, this news reaches the ears of both the families, thus making them nervous and also scared about the couple’s future relationship. Sandhya, on the other hand, who genuinely loves Prem, on the insistence of her mother Subhadra Rani, even tries to seduce him with a ‘foreign waali VCD’. Meanwhile, a certain incident happens between Prem and his friends, in which Prem confesses his utter disliking for Sandhya, which co-incidentally, Sandhya overhears. This leads to her filing for a divorce with Prem. As a legal formality, the court decides a time of 6 months for the couple to spend with each other, in case they have a change of mind. Amidst all this chaos, their village announces annual competition named ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, in which the husbands have to carry their wives on their back and run till the finishing lines, despite all the manmade hurdles. Again, on his family’s insistence, a very reluctant Prem agrees to carry the ‘moti saand’ (fatso) Sandhya on his back and take part in the competition. Do Prem and Sandhya land up divorcing each other, does Prem win the prestigious ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ competition (which has his idol Kumar Sanu as the chief guest), will Prem ever be able to accept Sandhya despite her physical appearance is what forms the rest of the film.
Even though this is director Sharat Katariya’s second film (the first one being the forgettable (10 ML LOVE), his directorial spark shines throughout the film. One has to appreciate and applaud him for paying heed to even the minutest of the detailing that has gone behind every character. However the story of the film leaves a lot to be desired. Sharat, who seems very confident with the camera and its angles, is definitely one name to watch out for in the days to come. Even though the film has its ‘could-have-been-better’ moments, the film scores on the director’s ability to extract performances from the star cast. The only problem, however, is that the film starts lagging in places, which could have been taken care on the editing table.
Of the performances, even though Ayushmann Khurrana carries Bhumi Pednekar on his shoulders towards the end of the film, the fact of the matter is that, it’s actually Bhumi Pednekar who ‘carries’ the whole film on her shoulders. Ayushmann, whose last film HAWAAIZAADA failed to take off at the Box-Office, does a commendable job in this film, even though his performance looks a bit stereotyped at certain places. Otherwise, he is decent in the film. As far as the film’s heroine Bhumi Pednekar is concerned, she is a perfect example of ‘It’s the performance and not the size that matters’. Call it her naturally endearing screen presence or her flawless acting; she does add ‘weight’ to her character (absolutely no pun intended here!). As far as the rest of the cast is concerned, the ones who come out winners include Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa and Sheeba Chaddha (in top form as Prem’s nagging bua). While the rest of the cast help in carrying (and not ‘pushing’) the film forward, Kumar Sanu’s presence in the cameo is hardly felt.
As for the film’s music apart from the much publicized Anu Malik, Kumar Sanu track that recreates the 90’s feel at the end of the film, the rest of the album does not feature much music with most of the tracks being used in the background. The trio of Anu Malik, Varun Grover and Chinni Prakash makes the viewers relive the nineties era in full bloom.
Amidst all these things that work in the favor of the film, the only possible place where the film lags behind is its editing (Namrata Rao). Had the film been edited in a few places, it really would have added more spice to the film. While the film’s cinematography (Manu Anand) is average, the film’s sound (Shajith Koyeri) is commendable. A special mention to the film’s production designer Meenal Agarwal for having recreated the nineties era, which was dominated by VCRs, scooters, ball pens, audio cassettes and likes.
On the whole, DUM LAGA KE HAISHA is a simple film that will make you smile.
Rating: 3/5Ayushmann Khurrana Bhumi Pednekar Critics Reviews Dum Laga Ke Haisha Reviews