‘Dream Girl’ (2019) Movie Review: Ayushmann Khurrana’s brilliance doesn’t save this film

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There is always a feeling that the film might get better at any stage. But that’s never the case. It’s the other way round.

A man imitating a blind. A police chief heading investigations on rape cases and caste discrimination. A man, in his twenties, utterly surprised to know that his mother is pregnant. A guy becoming a father of many by donating his sperm. These are, and many more, the avatars donned by Ayushmann Khurrana in his films. The actor has made a name for himself as a guy who does all those off-beat roles and has, more often than not, come out on top. Ayushmann has this knack of making the characters that he plays look supremely engaging. He plays the role of most sought-after ‘girl’ by the men and women in Dream Girl (not to be confused with Dream Girl that released in 1977). As a character that juggles between being a man (Karam) and a woman (Puja), he looks convincing in this film. But that doesn’t save the film from going through these phases – Bad, Worse and Ugly.

We are so close and yet so far – which is basically what Director Raaj Shaandilyaa’s Dream Girl is addressing. It points out the problem of loneliness. It highlights the lessening distances as well as the widening gap between each one of us in this connected world. But to make you realise this scenario and talk more intensively about this, the film doesn’t have a great narrative at its disposal. It tries a lot of comedy. A very few dialogues do seem humorous. (In a scene, Karam, impersonating as Puja on a phone call, indignantly clarifies that he is not a Taj Mahal but a Qutub Minar). But almost every other scene, that tries to be hilarious, turns out to be annoying and frustrating. It, then, resorts to throwing in some romance where the love between Karam and Mahi (Nushrat Bharucha) never seem to be of any relevance and vanishes into thin air. There’s always a song featuring in several films in Bollywood, if not all, to keep its audience entertained and engrossed. Dream Girl has it too. Radhe Radhe, in the composition of Meet Bros, that comes towards the end, is captivating and energetic to listen but doesn’t help the movie’s cause.

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The film also has plenty of other characters who, apart from Vijay Raaz who plays a drunkard-talking-poetry, neither seem interesting nor funny even though they try to. It’s Ayushmann who holds you tight right until the end. There is always a feeling that the film might get better at any stage. But that’s never the case. It’s the other way round.

Badhaai Ho Movie Review: A Heartwarming and soulful drama

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Badhaai Ho is a charming, emotional and lachrymose drama which makes us identify ourselves and realise the significance of family by breaking all barriers.

Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) turns the key and starts the car, it moves forward a bit and then stops. We hear the whirring sound once again and this time it keeps moving forward. He is driving his wife Priyamvada Kaushik (Neena Gupta) home from the hospital after getting to know that she is pregnant. Good news, right? In this case, not exactly! Jeetender and Priyamvada are an older couple and have two grown-up sons. Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) is working in a company and Gullar (Shardul Rana) is studying in his 12th grade. Nakul and Gullar are feeling antsy while waiting at home and wanting to know if their mother is alright. So, as the car stops momentarily, it is symbolic of how a single event would bring things to a halt and change their lives.

Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s directorial venture Badhaai Ho is such a gladdening and soulful movie. It delineates how the news of Priyamvada’s pregnancy affects everyone else in the family, how their lives change after that, and the realisation of family value and love that it eventually leads to. Director Amit captures the different phases of life and different emotions attached to it.

We see that Nakul and his brother are bemused and mortified when they hear the news. They never stop criticising their father and we sense a feeling of detestation building up between the father and the sons. Well, it is Nakul and Gullar who are showing their hatred towards their father and not the other way round. And there is another strong character in Nakul’s grandmother Naani (Surekha Sikri) who explodes with rage on hearing the news. Nakul, who used to hang out with his friends, is now avoiding them and we sense a feeling of desolation.

There is a brief romantic angle that we see between Nakul and Renee (Sanya Malhotra). Nakul and Renee are co-workers and are in love. It is rejuvenating to see this pair on screen. But Nakul’s mother being pregnant poses problems to his relationship with Renee. While they are about to have sex, the thought of their parents having a child at this age bothers him. He even indulges in a serious exchange of words with Renee’s mother (Sheeba Chaddha). Probably, the only phase which I felt to be moving at a languid pace was where Nakul and Renee are not on talking terms for a while and are longing for each other.

Best phase of this film was the romantic scenes between Jeetender and Priyamvada. It was even more entrancing than that of Nakul and Renee but, of course, that was exactly what the film required. While it rains outside at night, it is so beautiful to watch Jeetender reading out a poetry to his wife. And when they go to the marriage ceremony, the look in his eyes while seeing her was as if he saw her for the very first time and just fell in love with her. Someone even requests Jeetender to talk to his son, who is married but devoid of a child, to give him sexual advice which actually makes Jeetender joyous as he exultantly looks at his wife. Well, Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta stole the show with their impressive performance and all their elderly romance portions.

But as the film culminates, even we, as an audience, realise the power of family and how supportive we should be in the times of distress. We see a change of heart in Nakul as he goes back to his friends and handles things perfectly. He even goes with his brother Gullar to his school to teach a lesson to a boy who has mocked Gullar and beaten him before. It is an emotional moment as he hugs his mother and says “sorry” to his father. Watch out for the sentimental and lachrymose scene where Naani jumps to Priyamvada’s defence when the relatives try to teach her family ethics and values. To say the least, Surekha Sikri (as Naani) nailed it and was like the shining sun in the wintry weather. And it is so moving when Jeetender holds the new-born baby in his hands in the presence of a teary-eyed family.

Ever since Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor brought Ayushmaan Khurrana into the film spectrum as an actor, his subsequent movies have had such off-beat subjects and some of which have worked tremendously. While his previous film Andhadhun was a rip-roaring masterpiece, Badhaai Ho is a charming, emotional and tearful journey which makes us identify ourselves and realise the significance of family by breaking all barriers.