Starring: Ayushmann Khurana, Ananya Panday, Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Seema Pahwa, Abhishek Banerjee, Manjot Singh
Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa
When ‘Dream Girl’ released back in 2019, it struck a chord for its quirky take on challenging narrow-minded gender stereotypes in Indian society and tackling some serious subjects in a comic spirit. Its sequel released on Netflix recently has echoes of similar themes but is a standalone story, not linked with the first outing.
Jobless Karam Singh (Khurana) is keen to marry his girlfriend Pari (Panday) but must meet her father’s condition to prove worthy of taking care of his daughter by boosting his bank balance significantly within weeks. With his bankrupt father Jagjit Singh (Kapoor) getting them kicked out of their crumbling family home, Karam’s skill of impersonating a woman comes to the fore as his most saleable quality.
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His friend Smiley (Singh) hits upon the seemingly foolproof plan to get Karam to transform himself into Pooja as a bar dancer at Sona Bhai’s (Raaz) night club, where rich men shower bundles of rupees on their favourite performers. After her impressive show as a bar dancer, Smiley is confident “Pooja” is the one to be presented as a fake psychiatrist to pull his girlfriend’s brother Shah Rukh Saleem (Banerjee) out of his deep depression and cash in the prize being offered by his would-be father-in-law Abu Saleem (Rawal). But things expectedly go awry as Pooja ends up married to Shah Rukh, even as his recently divorced aunt Jumani (Pahwa) falls in love with Karam. Will this comedy of errors untangle itself in time or will Karam lose the very love he is chasing in this complex web of deceit.
If the plot sounds convoluted to follow, the film is just that – simply too haphazard, trying to fit in several strands together without much success. Unlike the first ‘Dream Girl’, Khurana’s acting prowess as a surprisingly attractive female alter-ego is no longer a novelty factor. Therefore, the sequel needed something more substantial to pull the story along. But besides a very emotive point about “love is love”, irrespective of sexuality, Khurana’s second outing as a male-female double act falls somewhat flat.
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The comedy also feels forced, with none of the characters quite hitting the right comic note. Alas, besides a few mild laughs, this one is more of a miss than a hit.