Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa
Had Dream Girl been an Anurag Kashyap film, the dingy friendship call centre hidden away in the back of an electronics shop in a small town would have been lit up with neon lights. The women enticing men on phone calls would have been playful and seductive. The lonely men craving for attention and more would have been lusting behind women on the other side of the receiver. The narrative would have been complex and intense to the point of being enigmatic. But this is a Raaj Shaandilyaa film a clean, hilarious and unidimensional take on friendship call centres.
In this, an educated but jobless Karamvir Singh (Ayushmann Khurrana) gets pulled into a friendship call centre that is run by women knitting sweaters or sifting through dhaniya in office for Rs 70,000. Equipped with the innate talent of impersonating a woman’s voice, Karamvir often finds himself dressing up as Radha or Sita in local plays. And this very gift lands him a job as Pooja in a call centre for chats.
Blessed with the gift of gab and a melodious voice, Karamvir aka Pooja soon finds a queue of men vying for his attention and love. From a poetry-obsessed police officer Rajpal (Vijay Raaz) to a lovelorn and brahmachari Mahinder (Abhishek Banerjee), his clients are besotted by the charm of Pooja and her voice. But the situation gets tricky when all his clients fall head over heels in love with Pooja.
Raaj Shaandilyaa’s Dream Girl is an out-and-out comedy with huge dollops of witty one-liners and jokes. But it is this very humour that plays the biggest hindrance in the development of the story. Despite an interesting premise, Dream Girl fails to go beyond the basic idea. The 137-minute film seems like a long comic skit sans a storyline.
This comedy of errors starts on a promising note but loses its sheen in the second half. With too many plot twists, a variety of characters squeezed in and a sombre climax, Dream Girl fails to live up to its hype.
However, Ayushmann Khurrana and Annu Kapoor make up for it with their brilliant performances; reminiscent of Vicky Donor. Ayushmann once again proves that he can pull off any role with elan. He plays the character to perfection, getting the nuances right. Annu Kapoor’s brilliant comic timing makes Dream Girl an entertaining watch. His transformation from a lonely and disgruntled father to a lovelorn aashiq is absolute genius. Vijay Raaz as a poetic policewala in a troubled marriage is impressive.
Nushrat Bahrucha, who plays Ayushmann’s love interest, makes an appearance as good as a cameo. Someone as talented as Manjot Singh of Fukrey fame is underutilised.
With a runtime of 137 minutes, Raaj Shaandilyaa keeps the film crisp and entertaining. But somewhere in between all the laughter, the subject loses its fizz. The film's music is peppy and works well with the script.
Raaj Shaandilyaa deserves credit for bringing something new to the table. However, his hesitation to delve deeper into the subject makes it score less on the report card. If you are looking for a light-hearted comedy this weekend, Ayushmann Khurrana’s Dream Girl should definitely be on your list.