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7 Years  Of Dum Lagake Haisha

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Dum Lagake Haisha which was released   on   27 February , 2015   is probably Yash Raj films’ biggest money maker ever. Estimated budget: Rs 7 crores. Estimated profits: over Rs 55 crores to date. Market value: infinite.

 The film about a mismatched  couple in Hardwar was funny,warm, real and heartwarming. Strictly speaking this was not director Sharat Kataria’s debut film. But who remembers Sharat’s 10 ML LoveDum Laga Ke Haisha (DLKH)  created a miniature storm. But Sharat who has earlier directed 10M Love  a desi version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dreamdidn’t let his family  watch the film.

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“That’s because they’ll all recognize themselves in one character or another, and I was  scared they’d pull me up for using their lives without permission,” says Sharat who hails from a large joint family in East Delhi.“It isn’t the affluent side of Delhi and certainly not where the elite of the Capital live. It’s a normal middleclass locality where you’ll find people from all over North India.The world I’ve created in DLKH is a world I’ve lived in. These are characters I know first-hand.”

Brilliantly shot in musty rusted shades of renewable decadence DLKH brings back the quaint endearing romance of Basu Chatterjee’s cinema. The slender story of a newly married couple struggling to find a common ground in a crowded stifling low middleclass family is reminiscent of Basuda’s Piya Ka Ghar and of course Sara Akaash. The rather self-conscious finale is sadly a cinematic necessity that happily, doesn’t take away from the film’s utterly unselfconscious weightless debate on marriages being made in heaven or hell.

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What works forcefully in the film’s favour is its disarming simplicity. Debutant director Sharat Katariya is a diligent steadfast storyteller. His eye for visual detail (inherited from his guru Rajat Kapoor) goes a long way in making the character’s appear larger than their strife.

Ayushmann Khurrana totally transforms into Haridwar’s Sanu fame thumb-controlled by a father who slips condoms into Sunny-Boy’s hands on his suhaag raat reminding him that they can’t afford to expand their family at the moment. Debutant Bhumi Pedneker plays the overweight bride with a breezy confidence that gives a wazan to her performance. She is a prized find.

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There are many heroes in this economically told unfaltering tale of a marriage of incompatibles: the debutant director, so unerring in his detailing of the drama, the serene city of Haridwar caught in a bright but believable light by Manu Anand’s camera, Ayushmann Khurrana bringing back fond memories of Raj Kapoor and Amol Palekar’s working-class anxieties.Every character , from the heroine’s bratty kid-brother to the hero’s Muslim friend, is so sharply sketched they only needed to be fleshed out by able actors, like Sanjay Mishra and Sheeba Chadha, the latter playing the former’s sharp-tongued spouse-deserted sister seeking entertainment in domestic strife.

Sounds familiar, right?

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It’s very interesting to see how comfortably the very talented Sanjay Mishra and Seema Pahwa who played the lead in Rajat Kapoor’s highly-lauded Ankhon Dekhi last year, fit into the peripheral parts of the hero’s father and heroine’s mother in Dum Laga Ke Haisha (DLKH).

Come to think of it, 20 years ago Mishra and Pahwa could have comfortably played the lead of an uncomfortably married couple here. Ayushmanna Khurrana is the under-educated Kumar Sanu fan from Haridwar who doesn’t seem to have much ambition in life except to marry a pretty girl.

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Newcomer-with a commodious qammar-Bhumi Pednekar  played   the educated aggressive girl who doesn’t believe in taking it lying down from her newly married husband. Uncannily, Khurrana with his slouched obduracy reminded me of Rakesh Pandey in Basu Bhatterjee’s Sara Akaash, the newly-married chap who won’t talk to his wife because ….well, she doesn’t quite fit. And we don’t mean into the narrow doors and gallis of Haridwar where Ms Pedneker moves with the counter-clumsy certainty and dignity of a woman who knows her weight is not going to let her become anyone’s dream woman, not even her dear beloved husband who after a drink or two describes as a “moti bhains” in front of his friends.

“I am the bride. But it’s he who blushes like one,” Sandhya (Pedneker) tells her curious friend who calls on the landline (this is 1995) to know what happened on the suhaag raat.

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Well, nothing did. If you must know.

A majority of the first-half is taken up in showing how Sandhya builds a bridge of confidence with her reluctant bridegroom, only to discover he is not worth it. Fiery and obstinate Sandhya leaves her Sasural and returns home. One of the film’s many warmly meditative moments occur when Sandhya’s mother tries to hurriedly lecture her about how much a woman must endure to keep a marriage together. That moment is treated like a dismissive joke. So is the activist-lawyer who seems to enjoy separating Sandhya from her husband. The film mocks feminist ideology without resorting to crass strokes of aggression.

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Later there’s a  smartly humorously written courtroom sequence where during a divorce proceeding, Prem’s mother (Alka Amin) brings up the issue of a woman’s compromises to keep domesticity intact.

“Why don’t you two also go in for a divorce right now?” Prem suggests with saddening sarcasm.

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The writing is so fluent robust and rooted to the milieu that we never feel the weight of nostalgia in the words. Though set in the pre-cellphone, VHS, audio cassette era DLKH carries the weight of its periodicity very lightly, almost jauntily. In that sense this film differs widely from Ayushmann Khurrana’s previous release Hawaizaada where the period flavour was pronounced and pungent. Here the aroma of the 1990s pervades the screen in intangible wafts. We feel the atmosphere in every character’s existence. These are people who don’t really care about how much they weigh as long as they can forge some meaning out of their meager existence.

Ayushann Khurrana  fitted into his character of the pitiable Mr Nobody so effectively one couldn’t see Ayushmann on screen. One only saw Prem the surly Kumar Sanu fan who is so unhappy with life that he takes it out on his wife.

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Bhumi Pednekar  had to gain a whopping 27 kgs.  She says she never thought of turning away from  the challenge. “There I was, a girl with no Bollywood connections getting to do a Yash Raj film. To me Yash Raj was the  ultimate.Not  for a minute did I hesitate  in saying yes. I thought about the challenge of putting on  the extra  kilos after saying yes.”

Butter chicken did it for Bhumi.  “I constantly ate to maintain my heavier  girth in Dum Lagake Haisha.I don’t think I ever want see butter chicken again.”

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And then Bhumi lost it all. “I  went back to being  of normal weight. In Toilet Ek Prem Katha it was like being launched as a newcomer. Audiences found it hard to connect  the plump girl in Dum Lagake Haisha  with the slimmer girl in Toilet Ek Prem Katha.”

In Dum Lagake Haisha  she played  Ayushmann’s  overweight  wife whom he spends most of time being embarrassed  about. The classic dilemma of  an arranged marriage here brought to flickering life by the actors who lived the roles of man and wife.At  the  end  of  this  fabulous film about coming to terms with  life,marriage and weight problems, Ayushmann had to run across  the  screen with Bhumi on his shoulders. He has never stopped bearing the  burden of a socio-culturally  responsible actor.  By the time Ayushmann did Bala with Bhumi she had lost all the avoir dupois but the chemistry remained crackling real.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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“Professionally, What  A Year It Has Been For Me,” Raveena Tandon On Her Padma Shri

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Raveena Tandon

Raveena Tandon  feels  she is in a dream. “I woke  up  today to the  news that  I have been awarded the Padma Shri by  my Government. I felt all my years  of hard work  has  finally come to  fruition.I can’t wait to get  back to Mumbai.”

Raveena  is  in Bhopal attending a  wedding.  “I woke  up  on Thursday morning to the good news. My husband(film distributor Anil Thadani) who is in Mumbai had no clue about it. I had to inform him that his wife is now Padma Sri Raveena,” she laughs heartily.

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She then grows  melancholic. “The past one year has been a whirlwind  for me. Professionally, it couldn’t get any better. My webseries Aranyak on Netflix  and  then the bigscreen  blockbuster KGF 2 where I played one of the protagonists , became huge  successes.Sadly,it  was  also the year that  I lost my father(well-known producer-director Ravi Tandon). It was  the severest blow of my life.I am still processing the loss. The Padma Shri would have made  my Dad so proud.”

Remind her  she is  still young and already a Padma winner and Raveena expresses  her  happiness. “I guess I am lucky to have received the honour at the  midpoint of my life and career. I am also very happy that M M  Keeravani Sir has  also received the Padma Shri.His Naatu naatu has  the  world dancing to his tune. But even  before Naatu naatu he has done such exemplary work.”

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Getting nostalgic Raveena  says, “I started working when I was 17.I have done every kind of  cinema, balancing out a Chote Miyan  Bade Miya  with  a Shool, a Rakshak with a  Ghulam-e-Mustafa,  a Bulundi and a Khauff with a Daman and an Aks. It’s  always been  my endeavour to be be seen in escapism and  real cinema. Some people think dancing around trees  and  doing the masala  stuff is easy.  It is  not!  In fact  being real on screen is far easier.”

Raveena feels the  good days  are  back in the entertainment  industry. “I saw Pathaan and  I whistled  and clapped the loudest. It is  an out-and-out mass entertainer and bound to revive the  sagging fortunes  of  our industry.  While the Padma Shri is a personal triumph,  the success of Pathaan  is  a happy occasion for the entire industry.So yeah, I am on top of  the world,”

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Raveena’s fans  would like to know her khubsoorati  ka raaz.

She  laughs, “It’s nothing more than sleeping and eating right. I  try to eat  correctly. I have only  organic  food. More  importantly,I am happy and secure in life. If you are content within it is  bound show on your face.”

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