Dream Girl Movie Review: Is it a woman? Is it a man? No, it’s Ayushmann!
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Nushrat Bharucha
Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa
Dream Girl with Ayushmann Khurrana in and as Pooja, the dream girl of several suitors is certainly one helluva gender bender. Sure we have had all leading men, even the most macho of them all pull off some cross-dressing for laughs in Hindi films but Dream Girl is innovative in that it inadvertently, tables the idea of gender as a social construct.
Karamvir Singh aka Karam (Ayushmann), is established at the very outset, as a boy blessed with the talent of impersonating the female voice with great accuracy. This unique talent is put to good use by his friend (Manjot Singh) who often gets Karam to pretend to be his mother (over the phone) or a pretend girlfriend to get him out of hot water.
Nothing succeeds like success and his flawless imitation of the female voice ensures that he only lands the role of Sita in the local Ramleela, a source of income for the jobless Karam. The hero finds himself typecast into performing female roles despite his manly protestation and the only way out is to land himself a job. It does not help that his father Jagjit Singh (Annu Kapoor), a widower has mortgaged their home and the family business –a shop that sells accouterments used for last rites.
Desperate for a job, as much to earn money as to reclaim a masculine identity, Karam ends up working in a call center that runs the lucrative “chat services” as the flirty and chatty Pooja. And before you know it, his alias (Pooja) is everybody’s sweetheart. In a wry and hilarious twist, all of Pooja’s callers end up falling for her and want to marry her while Karam, is all set to tie the knot with his beau Mahi (Nushrat Bharucha). You can see how this comedy of errors is going to pan out and hope that Karam/Pooja’s misadventures don’t land him in too much trouble.
However, a big pat on the back to writer-director Raaj Shaandilyaa and co-writers Niket Pandey and Nirman D Singh for keeping the screenplay pithy, the dialogues glib and not allowing the story to go off the rails. The second half does suffer from lack of ingenuity but in all fairness, such goofball comedies rest heavily on dialogues and awkward situations and not necessarily on high-octane reveals or action set-pieces as is common with thrillers or melodramas. Shaandilyaa, a first time director shows tremendous promise in both the writing and execution of this comedy.
Actor Ayushmann Khurrana is turning out to be a bag of surprises pulling off striking performances in quick succession. Backed by Manjot Singh as his buddy, a spectacular Vijay Raaz, and Annu Kapoor, Abhishek Banerjee, Nushrat Bharucha, Rajesh Sharma, Nidhi Bisht, and Raj Bhansali, Khurrana turns in a flawless performance never allowing the story to turn monotonous.
Like all rambunctious comedies this film too is hardly nuanced. But, in the times when the idea of gender is being scrutinised and revised the world over, Dream Girl will surely entertain the film going audiences while sparking off an important conversation on gender constructs in Indian cinema.
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