Movie review 'Dum Lagake Haisha': Ayushmann and Bhumi deliver honest performances in this romantic comedy

The film does not offer as much comedy as it promises in the promo
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar
Director: Sharat Katariya
Rating: Two and a half stars
Does size matter—in matters of love? That is the question director Sharat Katariya addresses in his film Dum Lagake Haisha. Except that he isn’t referring to the more conventional arguments of size, but instead, to the people in question— Prem Tiwari (Ayushmann Kurrana) and Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar).
Set against the backdrop of a small north Indian town in the 90s (going by the dusty cassette stores and the fact that Kumar Sanu’s is the reigning voice at the time), the story is about 10th standard fail Prem, who surrenders to his family’s wish to see him married to Sandhya, who holds a B.Ed degree and could help resolve the family’s financial woes. A good-looking, athletic Prem believes he could do better than the tubby bride he has brought home even as he feels a sense of inferiority complex given her academic credentials. He decides to stage a rebellion in the confines of his bedroom while his wife remains blissfully ignorant of her husband’s reservations and tries her best to get him to perform his nuptial obligations.
While addressing the initial awkwardness of an arranged marriage and the over-intrusiveness of an old-fashioned family (where a pep-talk before the suhaag raat and a rundown after it, is considered normal) in a lighter vein, the film beautifully captures the conundrum that the youth in smaller towns face when it comes to matters of matrimony. A generation that hasn’t completely surrendered to Western values or liberal thinking, but is slowly losing grip of regressive Indian sensibilities. One that wakes up to sounds of temple bells and retires to a steamy Hollywood film.
As the story continues, Prem’s efforts to wreck the marriage get the better of Sandhya’s resolve to make it work and once again, the families that had earlier played the forceful cupids reclaim their roles to control the damage. It is as a result of their efforts that the two give their relationship a new shot of life and decide to participate in a race that inspires the title of the film—one where the wife piggybacks on the husband as he runs a race. Now our hero clearly has a disadvantage given the frame of the heroine, but love and a Yash Raj script (not to discount Prem’s athletic build) can defy rules of physics, so they do and as is anybody’s guess of a Bollywood climax, win the race among other things.
The film does not offer as much comedy as it promises in the promo, but does manage to engage your senses for most part. After a point though, the plot loses momentum and becomes a bit of a drag. Roughly two hours long, we’d have liked a more condensed version of it. Both Ayushmann and Bhumi have delivered an effortless performance, convincingly playing the rustic North Indian lad and an unapologetically smart young girl respectively. We particularly liked how every character is sketched with a stroke of vulnerability and is fighting his or her own insecurities while in the process, unwittingly seeming grey to those around them.
A romantic comedy, Dum Lagake Haisha is a film with some very honest performances, a pertinent premise and an answer to the initially mentioned question— that size does not matter.
( Source : dc )
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