DreamGirl 2 Ayushmann has a ball in a nightmare script

Ayushmann Khurrana and Ananya Panday in DreamGirl 2. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The only thing left for Ayushmann Khurrana now is to wait for a change in his (planetary) stars! We have seen even big names like Sunny Deol (Gadar 2), Akshay Kumar (OMG2) and Shah Rukh Khan (Pathaan) go through terrible bad phases before slamming back into the reckoning. Ayushmann has had no hit in eons, with even his decent outing like Doctor G and the tangy An Action Hero collapsing—besides some more. We cannot blame him then for trying out a safety net in DreamGirl2, a tried-and-tested 100 crore hit’s sequel in spirit, to salvage his b-o. record that was on a high for a good while.

But Alas! He will have to wait more.

That DreamGirl2 has a major issue is clear by the time the film’s interval comes. After that, the movie goes down in a tailspin and becomes a near-‘nightmare’ by conclusion time when the hero goes on a spree of sermonizing and advice to almost everyone else in the story on life, love and relationships, forgetting that he has not really been an ideal person himself.

Comedy being a staple requisite of this franchise, we have a simple plot marred by convolutions ad infinitum. This leads to forced humor, use of old songs (including the title-track of DreamGirl), corniest one-lines, cringe-fests of scenes and sequences, tributes to Gadar (I suspect they are last-minute additions, but may be off the mark) and abysmal wastage of a cast of actors known to be masters at their craft, and especially humor—Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Abhishek Banerjee, Vijay Raaz, Manoj Joshi, Manjot Singh and Seema Pahwa—with a bright new entrant in Ranjan Raj as Tiger Pandey.

The humor level attempts to be Priyadarshan-meets-Anees Bazmee but ends up as a dated, worst-of-‘90s-David-Dhawan caliber. The gay angle is also brought in, and there is a weird attempt at communal harmony depicted by a Muslim family obeying a baba (Sudesh Lehri)’s diktat at a Hindu ritual supposedly to ensure pregnancy in a woman who cannot conceive!

We thus have references to cross-religious marriages and the presentation of homosexuality as normal—this latter also seems like a hangover of Ayushmann’s last tepid success—Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.

Ayushmann has a gala time portraying ardent boyfriend Karamveer who loves Pari (Ananya Panday), who has to take up a job at a bar (in Mathura!) as a bar dancer named Pooja. This is because his father, Jagjit (Annu Kapoor) and him, as Jagrata performers, are reeling under humongous debts and Pari’s rich dad (Manoj Joshi) will not have her marry him.

But ironically, the bar owner, Sona bhai (Vijay Raaz) falls for ‘her’. Karamveer’s best buddy, Smiley (Manjot Singh) loves Ali Saleem (Paresh Rawal)’s daughter Sakeena (Anusha Mishra) and Ali’s only condition is that his depressed son, Sharukh (Abhishek Banerjee) be cured and married first before his daughter. A fat sum is offered for his cure and Pooja is now tempted to ‘become’ a shrink so that Smiley can wed.

Meanwhile, Ali’s much-married and divorced sister, Jumani (Seema Pahwa, in her most distasteful character to date), falls for Karamveer, when she sees him in his original manly mode. Trouble is, Jagjit thinks that Jumani loves him. To complete the confusion, Ali’s adopted son, Shoukiya (Rajpal Yadav) also falls for Pooja as a now-cured Sharukh and Pooja marry.

The humor is generally plebian, though some lines and situations in the first half evoke laughter. Technically a shade gaudy (to represent a small town, no doubt!) in cinematography and production design, the film is too down-market in its near-farcical sensibilities, with many done-to-death and predictable situations.

Director-co-writer Raaj Shandilyaa’s entire body of work, beginning with co-writing Welcome Back and Freaky Ali, is replete with lowbrow humor and dated premises, with attempts to get progressive in DreamGirl and Janhit Mein Jaari. It is no different here. The music also is an ear-sore.

Ananya Panday saunters in and out on occasion like a little girl lost in the woods of an incongruous (for her!) ‘desi’ ambience. I have never seen Paresh Rawal so criminally underused in ages. Vijay Raaz is his usual self, and Annu Kapoor ditto. The rest of the cast is okay but Ranjan Raj is effective as Tiger Pandey. Asrani is wasted and Rajpal Yadav over-the-top as usual.

Rating: *1/2

Balaji Telefilms’ DreamGirl 2  Produced by: Shobha Kapoor & Ekta Kapoor  Directed by: Raaj Shandilyaa Written by: Raaj Shaandilyaa & Naresh Kathooria Music: Meet Bros & Tanishk Bagchi  Starring: Ayushmann Khurrana, Ananya Panda, Vijay Raaz, Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Seema Pahwa, Abhishek Banerjee, Balaji Telegfilm, Rajpal YadavBalajiy, Paresh Rawal, Goverdhan Asrani, Seema Pahwa, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Abhishek Banerjee, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Manjot Singh, Ranjan Raj, Anisha Mishra, Sudesh Lehri, Sapna Sand & others






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