Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao, Manoj Joshi, Pulkit Sharma, Varun Sharma, Rajesh Sharma, Archana Puran Singh, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Brijendra Kala
Director: Abhishek Dogra
Rating: 2 stars
If there is one thing all Indians and their commercial cinema can teach the world, it’s how to throw a wedding. So imagine a film which is a string of weddings. Many dolis of Miss Dolly. It should be a riot of colours, emotions, tension, misplaced jewellery, annoying in-laws, much sangeet-vangeet and nachna-tapna, and, of course, suhaag raat ka suspense.
Now imagine having all that but turning it all into a dull, drab affair.
In desi and Bollywood scheme of things, that is the ultimate sacrilege. And Dolly ki Doli is guilty of that crime. Take just one example. Can you ever, like everrrrr, imagine an Indian shaadi-wala ladke ka house without a single guest staying over? I mean, is that even allowed in our Constitution?
But initially, when it opens, Dolly ki Doli gets us all excited and interested. It opens with Sonu Sarawat (Rajkumar Rao), a posturing, blustering Jat, who speaks such quick and quirky Haryanvi that it gave me a bellyache.
He, the son of a rich sugarcane farmer, loves Dolly (Sonam Kapoor), the daughter of a retired Army Major (Manoj Joshi), and she loves him. So Sonu goes to demand that she be married to him. Both the dads, his and hers, shoo him away. But when Sonu persists, they relent and a date is fixed. But, Dolly is not who she says she is.
Neither is her dad her dad, her brother Raju (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) is not really her brother, the lady she said is her mother is not her mother, nor dadi, nor her house...
A thin file on a hyper-active Looteri Dulhan floats about in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar thana without a picture or a clue. Inspector Robin Singh’s (Pulkit Sharma) sudden interest in the case when a sketch turns up makes us suspicious. But we are soon distracted and tickled by Manoj Chaddha (Varun Sharma) and his mother who is of a very dominating nature (played by the loud Archana Puran Singh with a peculiar pomposity and wrinkled-nose crabbiness that dwells only in Punjabi households).
She rejects Dolly. Dolly is too tall for Varun, she says. It’s true. This rejection riles Dolly. A lot. But definitely less than an earlier rejection which is what led to the creation of this great big facade where the sweet and coy custom-made dulhan for every parivar is, in fact, a daayan who won’t spare even your bra-panties if you misbehave with her. Or, if you are a coward dulah, your izzat and abroo. Hope you’ve got the drift.
Though Dolly ki Doli has some interesting characters and funny dialogue, all of Dolly’s wedding shenanigans are conducted in a controlled environment that make all the shaadis feel so fake. But that is not the film’s biggest flaw. It’s biggest crime is that it’s a weak-kneed film that spends a lot of time and energy in telling us what a good and caring girl Dolly is. That while Dolly may get into dolis willingly, she doesn’t get all cosy with the dulhas. That she manages to remain pure and untouched. Only to, in the end, tell us in a hesitating manner that Dolly is, well, slightly morally challenged and challenging. That she likes playing these wedding games for the fun of it. And for the fun of getting away with it.
Uff! What is it with our sanskriti, sanskar and stars? Must all our heroines always be the epitomes of middle-class morality and virtue? Why are our stars, especially stars who come from starry families, so timid? Why are they so scared of taking a risk and trying out a morally ambiguous character? Why are they so desperate for our love that they won’t dare challenge it and see whether it might turn into respect?
Here is a character, Dolly, who is so deliciously devious, truly and nicely in the Oye! Lucky mode, only more shockingly wily and exciting. But what do we get? A Miss Goody Two Shoes who we see in select situations where she is always smelling of roses. Not once do we catch her planning, scheming, or even enjoying spending the money she gets from her wedding sprees.
Wish Dolly ki Doli had the courage to malign its heroine with pure criminal intent. It would have been fun and would have slightly altered the history of Indian heroines. That it doesn’t do so makes it Dolly the bore....