Ever wondered why chat lines and friendship call centres do such brisk business? How many of us have more ‘friends’ on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram than around us to alleviate our loneliness?
This is the premise on which debutant director Raaj Shaandilyaa’s nearly 2-and-a-half-hour-long ‘Dream Girl’ is hinged on.
Does it work is a question we are still grappling with.
Ayushmann Khurrana plays small-town boy Karamveer Singh, whose talent for impersonating a woman’s voice has led him to don the guise of Sita in his town’s Ram Leela performances ever since he was a child. Karam is forced to take up a job at a friendship call centre, where he goes by the name Pooja, run by the slimy Mr W (Rajesh Sharma) in order to make ends meet in his household consisting of him and his father Jagjeeth Singh (Annu Kapoor in fine form).
The drama hits the ceiling when his personal and profes`sional personas overlap.
The second half of the movie shows how his regular clients including a poetry-obsessed police officer Rajpal Kirar (an exceptional Vijay Raaz), a lovelorn simpleton Mahindra (Abhishek Banerjee) and ‘Gokul’s own Justin Bieber’, played by Raj Bhansali, decide to meet up with their ‘dream girl’ Pooja.
Nushrat Bharucha plays Karam’s love interest Mahi in an insipid role – the very fact that their ‘love story’ is wrapped up in the first song sequence which sees them meet up and get engaged showcases the lack of significance of this plot point to the entire script.
Ayushmann has had a dream run at the box office so far and ‘Dream Girl’ could have extended that, but somehow the movie seems to be missing something. Ayushmann is good, no doubt, and runs with the role given to him. His body language in the scenes where he has to sound like Pooja is spot on.
Annu Kapoor, however, is the one who provides the major laughs. This is one actor whose comic timing is so perfect and he’s been given enough material to make it work beautifully. His transformation from a harried, disgruntled man to a lovelorn ‘majnu’ willing to go to the extent of changing his religion for someone he has only heard over the phone and never met is phenomenal.
‘Dream Girl’ is great for laughs and the message about the lack of affinity we have for each other and the loneliness faced by people in the modern world is one which needs to be paid attention to. But somehow ‘Dream Girl’ runs through it at such a pace, many of the jokes don’t work and we are left wondering when matters will come to a head and the film will end.
Mobie: ‘Dream Girl’
Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Nushrat Bharucha, Manjot Singh, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Abhishek Baneejee