Split reactions: Unpacking the laughter and lapses of 'Dream Girl 2'
Poster of Dream Girl 2
  • Release Date: 25/08/2023
  • Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Ananya Panday, Paresh Rawal, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Seema Pahwa
  • Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa 

Karan Johar’s “Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham” is a film that has faced much ridicule, and rightfully so. It is easily one of the most cringe-worthy and hammy presentations of a simple family problem in the most grandiose fashion, culminating in a laughably simple solution. However, every time my mother watched this film, I found her resonating with each and every character—yes, even the intolerable Poo (Kareena Kapoor). This film made her cry every time she watched it, and she wouldn’t tolerate any interruptions to it, even if it was being aired by a channel that included 15 minutes of advertisements for every 10 minutes of the film. Getting sick and tired of her taking over the Television, even on days when World Cup matches were on, I finally gifted her a collector’s edition VCD of the film on Diwali. This gave me and my father the opportunity to shift her to the computer as we sat to watch important cricket matches that coincided with the airing of the film Sony channels.

Ayushmann Khurrana does a fantastic job toggling between both the avatars of his character.

However, this film taught me an important lesson. A film doesn’t need to work for everyone. If a film is able to touch the heart of one soul, it has succeeded in justifying its existence. I couldn’t help but frequently think about “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” and how my mother reacted to it as I sat watching “Dream Girl 2”, flanked by two lovely, intelligent, educated, and polished ladies who are not easily impressed. As I cringed at most of what I saw in the film, these ladies were rolling with laughter and were able to resonate with the mindless comedy of the film, primarily because of how well the dialogue and the situational comedy worked for them. Strangely enough, they were not the only ones laughing in the semi-filled theatre enjoying this mindless piece of forgettable entertainment.

Karam (Ayushmann Khurrana), deeply in love with Pari (Ananya Pandey), faces an unlucky streak. Karam’s father, Jagjit (Annu Kapoor), drowning in debt, needs Karam to earn Rs 25 lakh in 6 months and reclaim their seized house for Karam to marry Pari. Faced with this ultimatum, jobless Karam dives into using his wits to earn money. However, his pursuit leads him through a series of risky ventures, entangling him in a web of lies and challenges posed by eccentric characters. As Karam’s life spirals into chaos, the film unfolds with his journey through this unpredictable roller-coaster of circumstances.

The film has some great situational comedy and quirky dialogues.

From what I could make out of all that was unfolding on the screen, “Dream Girl 2” was a 2-hour-long stand-up comedy act that had its protagonist toggling between being a man and a woman and the consequences that this charade had on his life and that of those around him. What works to the advantage of the film is an ensemble cast of veteran comedians who have some of the best comic timing in the Indian cinema landscape. Add to that some proficient writing of situational comedy and quirky dialogues, and you have a winning combination that is enough to make people laugh out loud and have a great time, provided they don’t start looking for sense, logic, or even resolution in a film that was just as pointless as any episode of a “Kapil Sharma Show” but ended up entertaining the people who got its drift just as much as an episode of “Kapil Sharma Show” does.

The story makes little sense, and the characters never succeed in making the audience take them seriously.

Credit where credit is due, Ayushmann Khurrana does a fantastic job toggling between both the avatars of his character. He doesn’t do anything disrespectful when it comes to portraying Pooja and looks unbelievably comfortable in the skin of the character. His expressions are in strong keeping with his escalating predicaments and send the right vibes for a character that is spiralling into madness. This not only adds some much-needed believability and depth to the proceedings but also enhances the underlying comedy of the sequences. His camaraderie with some of the primary characters of the film is phenomenal. I just loved how comfortable he gets with Annu Kapoor and Manjot Singh, who play his father and friend respectively. All this not only enhances his character but also makes the film a lot more watchable.

The rest of the ensemble cast is just as good. Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav play characters that are polar opposites to each other. After a long time, Rajpal Yadav is in his element here. His comic timing and dialogue delivery are so on point that he made me giggle more than any of the other characters in the film. Paresh Rawal is the only character who has a semblance of sanity and plays his part to perfection. Annu Kapoor, as the money-grabbing father who is willing to marry off his son to another man, is hilarious. Abhishek Banerjee doesn’t have much to do in the first half but comes into his own in the second half. Vijay Raaz and Ranjan Raj pitch in with stellar cameos that make you laugh from time to time. Seema Pahwa, as the lady who has her eyes firmly set on Karam and wouldn’t take no for an answer, was uncharacteristically crass but sufficiently funny.

Paresh Rawal and Rajpal Yadav play characters that are polar opposites to each other.

As I mentioned before, the writing of the gags, the dialogues associated with the gags, and the performances of the actors in these gags are effective. However, if you are expecting these gags to be laid into a perfectly formed story that makes sense and has an impact, you will be sorely disappointed. The story makes little sense, and the characters never succeed in making the audience take them seriously. This is something that comes back later in the film to haunt the storytelling when the hero tries to make an elaborate speech at the end that I just couldn’t take seriously. If that was not enough, the storytelling is haphazard and jumps between plot points so jarringly that you feel like you are watching different films at different junctures. This is something that continually kept taking me out of the experience and even hampered my enjoyment of the gags, as the storytelling felt disjointed and some of the laughs and situations felt unearned.

Undeniably, this is a film that will only cater to a certain segment of the viewers. I do not know how to categorize these viewers, but they will definitely not be people who are walking in to see a funny albeit structured and well-written story. I enjoyed the “Kapil Sharma Show” and Kapil’s numerous acts in the “Comedy Circus”, but “Dream Girl 2” proved too much to digest even for me, who can laugh and enjoy the most inane jokes. Having said that, there were a lot of people who I found resonating with the comedy of the film, and if that was the case in a partially filled cinema in Guwahati, I am confident that the film will definitely find its viewership throughout the rest of the country and will find an even bigger audience when it is released on OTT. 

While there is a solid chance that you will hate it, there is an equal amount of chance that you will be floored by the comedy and the performances in the film.

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I disliked this film more than I enjoyed some of its funny gags and character moments, but that doesn’t in any way mean that the film has failed. This is one of those special occasions when I will urge my readers to go see this film if they are looking for some stupefying but well-executed humour and performances. While there is a solid chance that you will hate it, there is an equal amount of chance that you will be floored by the comedy and the performances in the film. Whatever may be the case, it is one of those films that deserves to be given a chance.

Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)

The views expressed in this article are that of the reviewer and do not reflect EastMojo’s position.

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