Director: Shashank Khaitan
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Ashutosh Rana, Sahil Vaid, Gaurav Pandey, Siddharth Shukla
“Main toh paida hi hot hui thi,” says Ambala’s resident “pataka” Kavya Pratap Singh. And slays Dilli da munda Humpty Sharma. The banter between the two is easy, natural, fun. That they will fall for each other is inevitable, because that’s the way they have been set up, and the process makes the first half of Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania a breeze. I smiled all the way till the half way point.
After the interval, it becomes another story. Or shall we say, the same old, same old story, in which the plot, which had been going swimmingly along, despite its stretches, begins to meander, and lose its way.
The title tells us that the film is yet another Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge variant, so we can’t complain when the plot points start feeling the same, even if the details are different. So there’s your coming together of the girl (Alia) and boy (Dhawan), initial smart-alecky backchat melting into passion. Humpty (Dhawan) and Kavya’s (Alia) turning up the heat makes Raj and Simran’s dalliance in those two decades-old mustard fields almost chaste. It makes the film feel real, and current. It tells us that time has passed, and things have changed, especially when it
comes to showing young love on screen. But the change is fleeting. In Bollywood, the more things change, the more they stay the same. So there’s your stern bauji (Rana), flanked by your beeji and veerji and company. From Dilli, the action shifts to a large homestead in Ambaley (if you are a true blue Punjabbi, you will not call it Ambala), which is all set to receive a suitable, “well-settled” NRI groom (Shukla), and act as a barrier to true love.
Debutant director Shashank Khaitan’s sure hand (and good ear) helps get over a couple of improbable sequences in the first half, letting us in into the street-smart ways of Humpty and his besties, Poplu and Shonty (Sahil Vaid and Gaurav Pandey, respectively, both excellent).
But it deserts him when the romance kicks in, and the dulha and the dulhan and assorted characters are left dangling in a tiresome second half. So are we. Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania scores with its likeable lead pair. Varun Dhawan still has raw edges and lets the effort show but he is right for Humpty the Dumpty who likes sitting