Rating: *** ½
Not since Chachi 420 have I seen an actor so immersed in the doing the drag act. Ayushmann Khurrana juices the part of his cross-dressed avatar for all its worth.
While Khurrana’s dishy doppelganger Pooja in the first Dream Girl film was just a voice on the phone,phone sex has no place in the ‘spiritual sequel’ to Dream Girl. …Or, so it describes itself, though there is nothing spiritual about the frenetic fatuous but fitfully fun plot about Khurrana’s character masquerading as a bar dancer to pay off his slimy father(Annu Kapoor)’s death.
The messy plot has a bifurcated trajectory. Khurrana’s cross-dressed avatar Pooja gets hit upon by a bundle of sleazy men including Vijay Raaz , Rajpal Yadav and Abhishek Banerjee who it seems has Hrithik Roshan’s posters in his room with a purpose.
Khurrana’s male avatar Karam has its own quota of attention, notably from Seema Pahwa who is a riot as an over-the-hill age-inappropriate bua who thinks she is eligible for seduction.Praesh Rawal as a Muslim patriarch wondering where his family is going, is wasted in a seriously undernourished part.
Sadly the writing(Raj Shaandilya, Naresh Kathooriya) is feeble in parts.The jokes seldom land. There are too many jibes about oranges being used as blouse paddings.But somehow, Khurrana makes it all bearable, even likeable in parts . His feminine mannerisms are never overdone. He ensures the lines never cross the border.
The rest of the cast seems to have fun, although it doesn’t necessarily follow that that the audience feels the same. Some of the purported comic situations seem written with too much stress on the punchline, so that the jokes never land. They just remain potentially funny not tapped properly .
The characters seem trapped in a plot that allows them no emotional movement. One of the characters is shown to come out as gay. But the plot quickly moves forward once the revelation is made, leaving the character to fend for himself.
Khurrana’s dance numbers are jokey versions of mujras which he performs in a sporting spirit. He gets the point: it’s okay to cross dress without becoming a flag-waving symbol of the LBGTQ community. Ananya Pandey has nothing to do.And she doesn’t do it well.