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Movie review 'Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania': An enjoyable fare that leaves a sweet aftertaste

Published Jul 11, 2014, 5:35 pm IST
Updated Mar 31, 2019, 7:56 pm IST
It's the chemistry that makes the film, right from the backbone to the soul
Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.
 Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt.

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Cast: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Ashutosh Rana


Rating: 3 stars 

Remember how Anurag Kashyap took the Bollywood sacrosanct ‘Devdas’ and turned it into the wicked ‘Dev D’? Director Shashank Khaitan’s ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’ attempts to do something similar with the holy grail of Hindi rom-coms ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. Only not as wicked as ‘Dev D’. Peppered with real characters, everyday humour and a little drama, Humpty Sharma manages to be a thoroughly enjoyable fare that leaves a sweet aftertaste.

Even though almost every alternate frame invites you to draw comparisons with ‘DDLJ’, ‘Humpty Sharma’ has its own kinks. The girl, Kavya Singh (Alia Bhatt) is no Simran. The tattoo on her back that reads ‘pataka’ (firecracker) aptly captions her personality. Engaged to be married to an NRI she has never met and doesn’t care about, the Ambala girl sets off to do her wedding shopping on her own. All she wants is to purchase the “Kareena Kapoor designer lehenga” from Delhi and she is willing to pay the price for it, five lakhs to be precise.

The cash trapped Kavya bumps into the charmingly harebrained Humpty Sharma (Varun Dhawan) in her uncle’s garden where he has taken her professor uncle hostage to pass in his exams. And before you know it, Kavya and Humpty have already pulled you into their world.  We’re talking middleclass Delhi pretentiousness and patriarchy, the bylanes of secrecy that shrouds everything from petty robbery to sex tapes to unfulfilled dreams of designer lehengas and sports cars. In this world Kavya and Humpty find love when they are least looking for it.

Their chemistry is very warm and very everyday. Their scenes are not about intense glances, but cheeky retorts, like the ones among friends who clearly have the most fun when they are with each other. The humour lies not so much in the lines but in the characterization and the situations. That holds true for Humpty’s sidekicks also, Shonty (Gaurav Pandey) and Poplu (Sahil Vaid) who provide maximum comic relief in the film. The ‘bromance’ between Humpty and his friends is earnest and easy to identify with.

The film operates within the standard template of Bollywood romance, or should I say DDLJ romance. A chance meeting between boy and girl, love is a slow cooked dish, girl’s father plays party pooper, and boy needs to woo him. Not to forget the superman the girl is engaged to, the man to beat. With a story that has nothing new to offer, the writing needs to have the quality of a page-turner. And Humpty Sharma scores in that aspect. Riding on a crisp script, the lead actors and the supporting cast manage to deliver honest performances. The story has enough drama but the characters never go over the top. Credit goes to the director for striking this fine balance. 

Varun Dhawan slips into Romeo’s shoes effortlessly and then takes his character beyond that. On paper the wayward Humpty Sharma could well be the alter ego of Vicky Arora (Vicky Donor) or Bittu Sharma (Band Baajaa Baaraat). But this is where Varun’s acting chops come to play and he manages to make his character stand out among established prototypes. In the same vein, Alia takes Kavya beyond the feisty stereotype and adds more layers to her. From being funny to being vulnerable, she’s a scene stealer all the way.

Ashutosh Rana, with his towering frame and stern stares, brings to life the strict yet loving father, who seems to be having a little fun at Varun Dhawan’s expense. Their scenes are a highpoint of the film. Newcomer Siddharth is aptly cast as Mr Perfect suitor. The ‘superman’ to Humpty’s ‘Mowgli’.

The music is foot-tapping but not as memorable as they need to be in romcoms. A few rough edges aside, the lead pair is the reason to give this film a watch. Alia and Varun are to Humpty Sharma what Ranveer and Anushka were to Band Baajaa Baaraat. This film may not be as riveting as Band Baajaa...but it's the chemistry that makes the film, right from the backbone to the soul.