Movie Reviews

Dream Girl Movie Review: Kissi Shaayar Ki Puzzle!

Dream Girl

Starring:  Ayushmann Khurrana, Nushrat Bharucha, Annu  Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Abhishek Bannerjee, Raj Bhansali, Nidhi Bisht

Directed by Raaj Shaandilya

Rating: ****(4 stars)

Way back in the 1977 when Dream Girl meant Hema Malini,Dharmendra sang  Anand Bakshi’s  truly  romantic line Kissi shaayar ki ghazal , Dream Girl….  42  years later  the  ceaselessly enterprising Vijay Raaz  plays  a self-styled shaayar  who bores everyone with his  cheesy lines,  his own wife  being his prime  victim.The  potty-level poet is  one low life among many in a film that tells  you it’s okay to seek dubious companionship when loneliness it at its peak.

 There is something inherently amusing about people being forced  into roles that they were not born to play, Ayushmann Khurrana has  lately mastered  the art of being cornered  by a corny karma….Or , if it not his karma then someone close to him, like his Dad  in Badhaai Ho who impregnates  his  mom at an age when parents are supposed to go on teeth yatras.

In his new film ‘Quality Hero’ Ayushmann’s father (the  very talented  Annu Kapoor) plays  a father who embarrasses  his son by falling in love with a coquettish suggestive  voice . That the phone friend happens  to be his own son  moonlighting as a call-centre phone-fatale , is supposed to raise the laugh bar  by leaps  and  bounds.

It does, and it doesn’t. While all the jokes that   the  narrative milks  out  of the  given situation  of a jobless  young man posing as  a seductive woman on phone are stretched almost  to breaking-point, there is something inherently likeable about Khurrana’s constant attempts to  push onscreen heroism into dark areas. He isn’t afraid  to fall even when the script doesn’t quite provide the support to stay steadily on his feet.

 Here he is Karm , alias Pooja the phone-friend who  sucks  up to lonely men. The assortment of  deliberately diverse  men besotted by  ‘Pooja’ is well played  by  Vijay Raaz,Abhishek Bannerjee(playing  a Mohd Rafi fan who sings  only one of  the  great singer’s songs), Raj Bhansali (playing a spoilt rich brat who cuts his wrist  instead  of  the cake on his  birthday when ‘Pooja’ didn’t show up) . There is a also  a part-time lesbian played  by  Nidhi Bisht who  is imagined as an angry man-hater . She too falls in love with  ‘Pooja’.

Things get  out of hand when  Karm, alias Pooja, discovers that his  own  father is one of the besotted  brigade. There is a painfully extended joke on Baap Anu Kapoor converting to Islam as he thinks his phone-love is a Muslim.  By the time we wade through Kapoor’s  glint-eyed glazed vocabulary  of  broken Urdu,  the  plot is so  laden with  fruitcake characters, you simply want to  drown dirty-talking  ‘Pooja’ in the nearest porn…I  mean, pond.

While the clamour  for  a faceless company serves  as  a mischievous  metaphor for  urban loneliness the  humour  goes from cheeky to shrieky , with  a finale so  supremely soaked in selfrighteousness  it almost feels like a pitch for a tax-exemption by  a film that know it doesn’t deserve it.

All misgivings and sins of overstating  the  theme are  swept aside  by  the central performance. Ayushmann Khurrana has so much fun   teasing   the gender-bender theme  and his ‘Pooja’ is so  suffused  in   the scent  of  the ardh-nari gone completely  ballistic  that you remain invested in  the  proceedings, even when it  loses  the  plot  .

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