Yash Raj’s latest has some dum
Dum Laga Ke Haisha ***
Dir: Sharat Kataria
Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Vidushi Mehra.
This latest Yash Raj production is set in small-town Haridwar in the early ’90s when people still heard their music on tape cassettes, audio compact discs were just making their presence felt, cell phones were practically non-existent and Kumar Sanu was the go-to male playback singer in Mollywood.
Director Sharat Kataria gets the ambience just right in this sweet, realistic take on the trials and travails of an arranged marriage between a 10th-standard fail, decent looking boy, Prem (Ayushmann Khurana) and an educated, vibrant yet over-weight girl Sandhya (newcomer Bhuni Pedneker).
Prem feels he’s been pressured into this marriage and he’s embarrassed by Sandhya’s weight and looks. Their cramped living quarters and presence of well-meaning but intrusive in-laws don’t help matters much either. Will love somehow find a way?
Kataria is ably served by his cast. Khurrana strikes the right balance between varying shades of sullenness, insecurity, bitterness and an underlying gentleness. Pedneker (reminding me a lot of our own uber-talented Uroosa Siddiqui) is charm personified and quietly and believably conveys her hurt at the treatment she receives from her husband.
The other characters are also nicely etched. There a couple of fairly funny bits (there is a court-room scene which is hilarious and there’s a cute bit where the new husband and wife convey their feelings not directly but through the songs they play on the tape-player) but the movie treads a too predictable path and doesn’t really throw any unexpected pot-holes along the way. The final resolution also feels a bit too convenient.
Still the overall charm and sweetness of the movie and the realistic characters carry it through to the end and a couple of nice tunes by Anu Malik don’t hurt either.
Cut to chase: Predictable but sweetly done.
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