Dum Laga Ke Haisha Reviews Thread

Print 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: 3/5


  1. Author
    aryan 7 years ago

    Movie Review by Sukanya Verma/Rediff

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha will win your heart

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a series of riveting moments that make you moist in the eye and chuckle with joy, says Sukanya Verma.

    We like to think of ourselves as special.

    We like to believe we deserve someone special.

    We mistake special for perfection.

    When we realise what it truly means, we come of age.

    Writer and director Sharat Katariya’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha tells the story of two such people — Prem Prakash Tiwari (Ayushmann Khurrana) and Sandhya Verma (Bhumi Pednekar).

    But the beauty of his narration is how intimately it soaks in the milieu, the mood and the melody of its time — 1995, Haridwar.

    Katariya doesn’t allow himself to be burdened by his choice of venue and its sanctified reputation. Tourists or temples aren’t forcibly filling the frames.

    Instead what we witness is the everyday aspirations of a lower middle-class Haridwarians, their congested homes, unseen bankside views of Ganga, tiny shops lined across potholed streets, a gorgeous, grand library and old-school workout clubs.

    Though only a decade behind, it’s a different world, this Haridwar. “Don’t let the cow enter the shop,” warns Prem’s father (Sanjay Mishra) quite matter-of-factly to his petulant son preoccupied in recording mixed tapes for customers. ‘Humare yahan mann pasand gaano ki recording uchit mulyon pe ho jaati hai,’ reads a note on the glass door of their dingy store.

    A Kumar Sanu fanboy, Prem ceases to be Lappu, as his family address him, once he puts on his headphones and compiles music with utmost dedication. He’d probably make a great music jockey but the half-sweater and ochre pants-clad high school dropout is much too Lappu, er, weak-willed to make something of his half-baked ambitions.

    All his hopes for a Princess Charming are dashed when financial crunch in the family pressures him into marrying a plus-size belle during a mass wedding ritual. Sandhya’s educated, job-ready credentials make her a perfect fit for his circumstances if not heart.

    While our perky bride seems to make the most of it, Prem gets nauseous by the second. Their 111-minutes long journey (deft editing by Namrata Rao) from awkward to awe-inspiring is why this adorable romance is a must watch.

    Hindi films aren’t exactly known for their sensitivity where overweight characters are concerned but Katariya builds his leading man’s embarrassment over his big bride with thoughtful nuances. And Khurrana gets the tone of this smothered, vexed but essentially vulnerable chap just right. In trying not to play hero, he becomes one.

    His co-star and Yash Raj Films’ latest discovery Bhumi Pednekar is quite a find. Nicely done for a brand that kick started the size zero trend, YRF. Dum Laga Ke Haisha banks on Bhumi to make her character accessible enough to relate yet spirited enough to inspire. The newcomer doesn’t let you down and renders Sandhya worth rooting for, racing for. If her feisty side tackles her new home singlehandedly, the incorrigible romantic cannot resist catching fond glimpses of her grumpy husband from the corner of the eye.

    Having said that, there’s a scene where Prem behaves like a complete jerk around Sandhya. She doesn’t take it lying down either. It’s a stunning instance of how poorly demonstrated displeasure can quickly snowball into irreconcilable differences. Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a series of such riveting moments that make you moist in the eye and chuckle with joy.

    Speaking of the latter, there’s a funny sequence where Sandhya tries to seduce her stiff significant other into submission by setting up the mood armed with Disclosure VHS and silky nightie.

    This isn’t the only droll part. How Prem’s mom (Alka Amin) reacts to it is.

    Amin’s comic timing is priceless at all times. As is Sheeba Chhaddha’s sharp-tongue aunt and her believable, melodrama-devoid household squabbles with Sandhya.

    Here it must be added that Katariya receives faultless support from his cast and crew.

    Quite a few from Team Ankhon Dekhi collaborate. Sanjay Mishra is reliably crusty; Seema Pahwa is perfect as the hassled, small-town mom, Chandrachoor Rai, Mahesh Sharma do well as Khurrana’s sneaky and supportive cronies respectively whereas Shrikant Verma steals quite a few scenes with his chaste Hindi punch-lines (Hum toh thehre pracheen Bharat ke avshesh) as the wisdom-spewing Shakha Babu.

    Dialogues are sheer joy in the Dum Laga Ke Haisha experience where “moti saandni” and “stree sukh ya shararik vivashtha?” happily co-exist.

    As with Ankhon Dekhi, Meenal Agarwal’s production design is authentic in its depiction of life in the heaving interiors. It’s a vision cinematographer Manu Anand beholds and beautifies in compositions of bright marigold strings adorning pale, faded green walls that linger on like the aftertaste of this film.

    I wasn’t too thrilled by the background score though, which wears strong heard-before air to it and often overlaps the actual sounds of a scene. No complaints from Anu Malik’s soundtrack though. Moh moh ke dhaage’s dulcet tune and Dard Karara’s retro vibes, penned by the versatile Varun Grover, cover quite a spectrum.

    Maybe it’s a tendency to look romantically at the decade that’s closest to you but the 1990s were a fanciful decade. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara trills in the background, Shah Rukh Khan stutters for Kiran on cable television, Kumar Sanu is the closest we get to divine intervention — Dum Laga Ke Haisha is subtle in the nostalgia it invokes, it has to be; the characters are living in the moment not basking in its influence.

    Watch this film and relive it with them.



  2. Author
    aryan 7 years ago

    Movie Review by Raja Sen

    There’s a lot to be said for the nineties, and Kumar Sanu doesn’t make the list.

    Not only is it hard to look past the impossibly nasal voice, he’s also a singer who flourished at a time when Hindi film music was actively choking the Hindi film, forcing formulaic ditties into movies made for the sake of holding them. Looking back from here, he had a few good ballads, but that’s it.

    And yet, twenty years ago, the very idea of a young man — in this case an an audio-cassette retailer — falling in love with a singer’s voice automatically meant it could only possibly be for Sanu, who unquestionably ruled many a male heart.

    Our Haridwari audio-cassette shopkeeper is named Prem, a fact that must indubitably have thrilled him to bits when Hum Aapke Hain Koun? released. We meet Prem a year after that in 1995, a barely-educated good-for-nothing who is being shovelled into a financially convenient marriage. His bride, Sandhya, is a sharp and well-educated girl with ambitions of being a teacher. She’s fat, he’s foul-tempered, and they have nothing at all in common…

    And so it goes, a truly simple story. So simple, in fact, that Dum Laga Ke Haisha never gives you a single moment of unpredictability. It’s a two-hour film, and yet drags its feet enough to feel long and stretched. There are superb actors performing a sweet script, but after a while all you have is flavour. And we’ve tasted it before.

    Or something like it, anyway. The fascinating Haridwar — its tongues, its street-side sass, its love for the metaphor, its intricate signboard-painting — might not itself have been the sight of many a recent rom-com, but several approximations have. From Bombay to Banaras, we know flavour.

    Sharat Katariya’s film, however, is beautifully seasoned, with utterly fabulous detailing: a community wedding featuring rows and rows of scarlet brides dressed like thalis at a Jagran; a morse-code like frugal missed-call based moneysaver (two-rings-for-this, one-ring-for-this); pastries handed out instead of birthday cake, and — most critically — the shakha Prem attends.

    The Shakha, the local branch of the right-wing nuts, is a fascist group, the type of thing Roderick Spode ran in Wodehouse’s The Code Of The Woosters: Spode’s boys were called The Black Shorts, and included the measurement of male knees in their manifesto. Prem is the member of that very kind of wooly-headed organisation where grown men walk around in half-pants, and that’s what, we assume, shall define him somewhat.

    Yet the potentially groundbreaking role of the Shakha starts with light humour, and is eventually completely ignored. It’s the same problem throughout the film: Katariya assembles a fascinating ensemble of quirky characters but worries more about the 90s feel and their lovely turn of phrase — “in a hurry to get your name on the in-law’s ration card?”, laughs a teasing aunt — as opposed to where the character is going.

    The actors make it work, though. Ayushmann Khurana is great, giving his mostly pathetic character a sort of sullen, defiant dignity, and biting into the role rather sportingly. The new girl Bhumi Pednekar has a delightful smile, and is — part sassy, in part pitiful, part heroic — mostly impressively real, creating a genuine character. Sanjay Mishra and Seema Pahwa from Ankhon Dekhi show up and shine here too, as does the excellent Sheeba Chaddha as the boy’s tyrannical aunt.

    A word for the music: Anu Malik’s soundtrack is hugely enjoyable, retro in an affectionately genuine way — with Moh Moh, a tender, aching song written by Varun Grover, being the highlight — but there is one massive problem: Kumar Sanu’s truly distinctive voice doesn’t sound the same anymore. Too many digital bells and whistles are protooling it to sound better and better; but the nose is gone. Sadhana Sargam may as well be Shreya Ghoshal. Wherein the heart?

    It’s not easy, making a Dum Laga Ke Haisha. A film with an overweight heroine that is, to a large extent, about that heroine’s weight, requires a finely sensitive balance. And while the film is perched loyally and well-intentionedly on Sandhya’s side, it still uses words about weight as insults — moti (fatty), saand (buffalo) — and also, sadly, leans on them for laughs.

    For a second at the very end, I felt the film was about to flip predictability literally upside down and do something highly eventful, but the filmmakers backed out of it, happy with how far they’ve gone.That’s the regrettable bit, even though applause must go Yash Raj’s way as far as breaking the mould — I just wish they wouldn’t smugly keep pointing at it.

    My other issue is with romance itself. The film dawdles so frequently on neighbourhood chatter and well-etched details that both leading man and leading lady get no chance to conjure up chemistry, they just get tired of fighting instead. Instead of making them connect, the film applauds the arranged-marriage theory of how being nice and resigned is the key to love. Settle, settle, settle.

    And so may you, for this sweet, underachieving little film.

    Rating: 3/5


  3. sputnik 7 years ago

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha Movie Review by Rajeev Masand

    Rating: 3.5

    Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa, Alka Amin, Sheeba Chaddha, Chandrachoor Rai

    Director: Sharat Kataria

    The title Dum Laga Ke Haisha has a nice ring to it. These words, commonly chanted when doing any kind of physically strenuous work, evoke an affectionate nostalgia for a time gone by…a time before mobile phones took over our lives, before Google made libraries redundant, and before shiny CDs replaced those double-sided audio cassettes that we inevitably wore out from repeatedly listening to the same track over and over again.

    It’s that very nostalgia that writer-director Sharat Kataria’s film so effortlessly taps, set as it is sometime in the mid 90s, and in Haridwar, a relatively smaller town in North India that appears virtually insulated from globalization. Ayushmann Khurrana plays Prem Prakash Tiwari, or Lappu as he’s fondly called at home, a tenth-standard failed 25-year-old who sits at his father’s audio cassette-repair shop listening to Kumar Sanu hits all day. He’s bullied by his family into marrying an educated but rotund girl, Sandhya (newcomer Bhumi Pednekar), but he can’t summon up the slightest affection for his new bride.

    Kataria creates believable scenarios and gives us flesh-and-blood characters that never feel less than real. Prem is cruel to his wife, he’s embarrassed to be seen with her in public, and insists that by marrying her he’s ruined his life. Sandhya, refreshingly, is unapologetic about her weight, mostly confident in her own skin, and she knows how to give it right back. There are other characters too: screaming fathers, pushy mothers, opinionated aunts, and assorted friends and relatives that pop up regularly and weigh in on the ‘samasya’. The script gives each of them a reason to be there, mining laughs from unexpected places. In one scene, on hearing the sound of overactive bed springs from her son’s room, Prem’s mother remarks to her husband: “Sayana ho gaya humra Lappu,” then follows it up with the zinger: “Zara Jaya aur Rekha ko bhi bata doon, mann halka ho jayega.” In another scene, a saline drip of all things becomes a source of much amusement.

    It’s the relationship between the protagonists however, and how that eventually changes, that is at the heart of this film. Kataria’s script puts them through their paces, never rushing towards a contrived, convenient resolution. Ayushmann and Bhumi have charming chemistry, and each delivers heartfelt performances that ring true. Ayushmann plays it from the gut, never once striking a false note as the insecure young fella, bitter over being dealt an unfair hand, but who nicely transitions when he realizes he’s wrong. Bhumi, meanwhile, steals the film with an assured turn, effortlessly making you care for Sandhya, without ever reducing her to a slobbering, self-pitying caricature.

    Dum Laga Ke Haisha sucks you into its world with well-etched characters, beautiful cinematography, perfectly detailed production design, and a host of fine actors – including Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa, and Sheeba Chaddha – who add to the film’s authenticity. Music plays an important role too, as highlighted in one lovely scene where Prem and Sandhya switch between popular Hindi film numbers on the transistor to convey their respective moods. Anu Malik and lyricisit Varun Grover deliver some winning tracks, nicely rendered by Kumar Sanu, who isn’t merely a reference in the film but whose presence hangs over the picture throughout.

    Simple and breezy, while at the same time evocative of life in small-town India, Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a charming film that you really shouldn’t miss. I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five.


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