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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Dream Girl Movie Review: Ayushmann Khurrana Makes the Right Call

Dream Girl has a solid and novel concept. It promises to be amongst those films which are a laugh-out-loud entertainer with a social impact. 

Plus, it marks several firsts. The film marks Raaj Shaandilyaa’s directorial debut and it’s the first time we see Ayushmann Khurrana in a female avatar on screen.

Set in an intensely crazy, unusual, bizarre space in North India, our protagonist Karam (Ayushmann) stumbles upon a job like never before.

He joins a love line office and everyone thinks he will not fit in until they hear his beautiful voice and becomes the most popular female friendship caller, Pooja.

So, what happens when – a Haryanvi cop, a young spoiled Delhi brat, Karm’s Girlfriend’s brother all fall in love with Pooja?!

Social Relevance Yet Entertaining

The film also highlights the shame/apprehension of disclosing one’s profession. In Vicky Donor, Ayushmann played a character who was ashamed of saying that he’s a Sperm donor.

Yet again in Dream Girl, we see that he is afraid of telling his girlfriend that he speaks to people in a female’s voice.

As such, the film paints a realistic, taboo-breaking image of masculinity.

We have Karam’s single father as well as Karan himself – a man pretending to voice a woman and dresses up as Sita at the Ram-Leela.

Furthermore, the fact that a male actor lip-syncs to a female song, is quite ironic which Hindi cinema has not really explored this.

The film celebrates gender fluidity in such a commercial and entertaining way which is something we deserve as cinema-goers.

Full On Laugh-Out-Loud Moments

It is impressive to see how mythological references are also used to address gender stereotypes.

At one point, Mahi (played by Nushrat) talks about how women have always been ahead of women.

Then Karam talks about how the Kauravs would be the first to be called-out if #MeToo happened during the time of Mahabharata.

Such dialogues are not only funny but quite thought-provoking… In fact, this scene, in particular, reminds us of the climax scene in Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron.

Religious disparity and interfaith relationships are also addressed in the film – which is just randomly weaved into the storyline.

The comic timing and one-liners are mostly on point. There is always a risk of awkward and cringe sequences with comedies like Dream Girl.

However, every dialogue and hilarious gig works so well… Which is a huge plus factor. Undoubtedly, the film is a laugh riot, which is why the masses will enjoy it.

In fact, the rib-tickling twists and situation complications remind us of 90s Priyadarshan movies.

Given Raaj Shaandaliyaa’s experience of writing hit acts on shows like Comedy Circus, it’s no surprise as to why there is so much craziness.

Ayushmann Khurrana Steals the Show

When it comes to performances, Ayushmann Khurrana is on point in essaying Karam and Pooja. His female voice is flawless and takes great craft for an actor to do so.

It’s great to constantly see him do taboo-breaking roles and undoubtedly, this is his film.

Nushrat Bharucha is a talented actor and we’ve seen her brilliance before in Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, but her role does not give much scope as an actor in this film.

Having said that, it’s always a pleasure to see her on screen.

Annu Kapoor is first-rate as the old, love-seeking father. Seeing that synergy between him and Ayushmann is quite reminiscent of Vicky Donor.

Another actor with apt humorous-timing is Manjot Singh as Karam’s doted friend. His casual reactions towards goof-ups are excellent and organic.

Vijay Raaz, Nidhi Bisht, Abhishek Banerjee and Raj Bhansali are brilliant as the admirers of Pooja… Their hilarious idiosyncrasies ride the film to new heights.

Rajesh Sharma is okay as Mr W, the manager of the love line office. His performance is not problematic, but it’s the way his character is made into an unnecessary antagonist.

The storyline itself is quite humorously complicated and so additional antagonistic characters/roles were not really required.

What Could be Improved?

Whilst the entertainment quotient is high, the gig of Karam acting as Pooja gets stretched to the point where it becomes repetitive… Especially in the second half.

Speaking of the second half, it gets stretched unnecessarily to such an extent that the film’s conclusion is sudden and abrupt.

The love story of Karam and Mahi just seems quite random. Somehow, the chemistry is lukewarm and as viewers, we don’t really seem to really empathise or care about the relationship.

In fact, the love angle appears to be included just to tick-off a ‘masala’ film criteria.

Furthermore, there is the storyline of Karam deciding to leave the theatre after finding full-time work which gets completely unexplored.

On the whole, Dream Girl offers exactly what it promises and that is full-on entertainment.

It deserves applauds for challenging the stereotypical portrayal of Indian men through the mainstream space 

Despite the flaws, one must watch it for the laughs and of course, the content king himself… Ayushmann and of course, Pooja.

⭐⭐⭐.5 (3.5/5)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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