Deccan Chronicle

Movie Review | Dreaming of Laughs: A Half-hearted Take on Comedy in Dream Girl 2

Deccan Chronicle. | DC Correspondent

Published on: August 26, 2023 | Updated on: August 26, 2023
Poster of ' Dream Girl-2.'  (Photo: Twitter)

Poster of ' Dream Girl-2.' (Photo: Twitter)

Dream Girl-2

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Ananya Panday, Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Rajpal Yadav, Asrani, Manoj Joshi, Seema Pahwa

Direction: Raaj Shaandilyaa

Ayushmann Khurrana can carry off anything. This actor is not only capable but willing to think out of the box. He finds filmmakers and scripts that often give him that envious space. It would be but in the space of hypothesis to imagine AK in the times of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee, Raaj Shaandilyaa gets Ananya Panday into the stand-alone sequel. He also manages to assemble some names that spell high quality which include Paresh Rawal, Manoj Joshi, Vijay Raaz, Seema Pahwa, and none more than the veteran Asrani.

This film could have been a Woodhouse narrative of erring sons, the overbearing aunt Agatha, a Wooster, Lord Gallahad, not to mention a Baxter or a Jeeves. In contrast you have our talented actor called upon to display buffoonery in a seeming pretense of humour. What ails our comedy? Perhaps it is a poor reflection of a lack of sense of humour. We cannot laugh but at the expense of someone or the other. This is a complex world constantly tested by the litmus of political correctness that makes the task of an average filmmaker even more challenging.

While Karan (Ayushmann Khurrana) played with a deceptive voice in his first outing from the precincts of a call centre, this time the territory in larger and with it the challenge. One would have thought that with it also comes a greater opportunity for humour. Unfortunately, it is not so. Karan is in love with Pari (Ananya Panday). Pari’s dad is disappointed with the impoverished conditions of his prospective son-in-law and dad Jagjeet Singh (Annu Kapoor). The prospective pa-in-law lays down conditions which include earning `50 lakh in six months.

His buddy Smiley (Manjeet Singh) is in love with Sakina (Anusha Mishra). Sakina’s dad Abu Saleem (Paresh Rawal) also lays down conditions. Yes, he is broadminded enough to have Smiley, a Sardarji, as his son-in-law but the wedding can only happen if his son Shahrukh (Abhishek Banarjee) can overcome a massive stroke of depression – an outcome of jilted love. Desperate to help Smiley get married, and in similar situation himself to raise funds, Karan decides to go drag. He becomes Pooja and marries Shahrukh, looking more like a mannequin than a woman. In any way what saves the day (actually the night!) is Shahrukh’s alternate preferences.

Challenges aplenty, goof-ups galore. From this premise of two guys having decided to achieve matrimony via the quicksand of conditional acceptance by prospective in-laws, the story line could have moved to "comic challenges" of multiple varieties: slapstick, tongue-in-cheek oneliners. There is a bit of each of these but unfortunately, none engaging enough, much less entertaining. Even the ever-reliable Ayushmann often seems disinterested.

The narrative in a comedy is everything. Beyond a point even actors do not matter. Naresh Katnooria who is credited with the screenplay alongside director Raaj Shaandilyaa must take responsibility for the poor fare. The situational comedy is also a risk: you may import the vigour from Priyadarshan and the tongue-in-cheek element from Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Gulzar. That is not to be.

Sometimes over the top, more particularly, is the Anu Kapoor-Seema Pahwa relationship. The latter is the sister of Abu Saleem, married to the rich and loud Sajjan Sona Bai (Vijay Raaz). While it is an interesting trend to see acceptance of romance in all ages, they are exaggerated. Work in progress! Poor Seema Pahwa is made to do the ridiculous.

The likes of Ananya Panday and Anusha Mishra have simply nothing to do. They just jump in and out. Most of the characters do the same. The effect of such transitional appearances robs the lighthearted activity of credibility and interpretation. Annu Kapoor is habitually theatric and over the top. Vijay Raaz is such a talented actor, my heart goes out to him. Hopefully something good will come his way. Surely Ayushmann will not put this down as among his better outings. Even in the climax, the fire in the belly is conspicuously absent.

Rajpal Yadav adds his bit and his costumes sometimes act for him: Asrani’s presence is wasted. So also Manoj Joshi. Paresh Rawal is the go-to man. Even in this half-hearted, and proportionately brained- film he is convincing and reliable. Abhishek Banerjee gives the film a degree of credibility and mention must be made of his kurtas. Well-dressed, well done. Another energy pack in the film is Manoj Joshi. In fact even alongside Ayushmann, he comes out as the winner.

This Dream Girl 2 is too half-hearted. However not a very bad outing thanks primarily to Paresh Rawal and Manoj Joshi.

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