Dream Girl 2
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Ananya Pandey, Annu Kapoor, Vijay Raaz, Paresh Rawal, Manjot Singh, Abhishek Bannerjee
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Karamveer desires to wed his beloved, Pari. However, to win her hand, he must fulfill her father’s demand of amassing Rs 25 lakhs within six months. Opting for an unconventional approach, he assumes a female persona, performing at a bar. The situation turns surreal as Pooja/Karam becomes the focus of interest for four individuals seeking marriage.
When Ayushmann Khurrana transformed into Pooja and swayed to the rhythm of “Radhe Radhe” in the original ‘Dream Girl,’ it marked an iconic moment in contemporary Hindi cinema. Such instances where mainstream cis-gendered heroes delve into cross-gender roles without a hint of mockery are rare. However, Ayushmann consistently redefines boundaries. Battling topics like erectile dysfunction, sperm donation, LGBTQ support, and gender stereotypes, he champions nuanced masculinity on screen.
‘Dream Girl 2’ follows suit. Four years later, Ayushmann ventures into uncharted cinematic territory. Unlike his signature roles, the sequel is an unabashed commercial potboiler, deeply rooted in heartland India. This time, Karam, portrayed by Ayushmann, doesn’t merely lend a woman’s voice over calls. He completely embraces the role, donning traditional ensembles and dancing to three full-fledged songs. Amidst peculiar situations, Ayushmann walks the fine line between frivolity and entertainment, seamlessly bridging the gap.
In the footsteps of Ayushmann Khurrana’s original ‘Dream Girl’ from 2019, the sequel attempts to amplify the quirky universe that was once a success. Transitioning from playing a bold phone-sex operator named Pooja, this time Ayushmann dons a fuller cross-dressing persona as Pooja evolves into a captivating woman adorned in backless blouses and seductive sarees. The film’s ensemble cast, reminiscent of early 2000s movies, includes names like Rajpal Yadav, Paresh Rawal, Asrani, Vijay Raaz, and Annu Kapoor.
The screenplay of ‘Dream Girl 2’ is a treasure trove of punchlines, seamlessly mixing wit and whimsy to consistently evoke laughter. The first half of the movie is filled with comic situations, successfully bringing humor to life on the big screen. However, translating paper-perfect scenarios into captivating visuals that retain their magic is not always a smooth ride. The second half of the movie becomes a bit long and the pacing becomes tediously sluggish. As a result, the jokes start losing their edge rapidly. The climax is disappointing, with its forced and awkward execution, causing the once-likable premise to unravel.
Despite the challenges, ‘Dream Girl 2’ manages to get it right most of the time, and the writers, Raaj Shaandilyaa (who is also the director) and Naresh Kathooria, deserve praise for their efforts. The presence of seasoned actors like Seema Pahwa, Paresh Rawal, Vijay Raaz, and Annu Kapoor uplifts the film, saving it from becoming a complete struggle.
There are numerous characters in the movie, but they all fit in well. In ‘Dream Girl 2’, everything is turned up loud and wild. At first, you might wonder why you’re watching this, but soon you get caught up in the movie’s world. Keep in mind that the film doesn’t take itself seriously, embracing silliness without apology. It’s not a movie that requires deep thinking. There are moments when characters go over the top, draining your energy with their exaggerated acting.
In terms of performance, Ayushmann excels in the rollercoaster ride. Karam and Pooja’s quirkiness makes them endearing, with Ayushmann’s gait and dance moves lingering in your memory. His immersion into the female role is commendable, showcasing his versatility. Switching between Karam and Pooja, he radiates charisma and impeccable comic timing.
His chemistry with Annu Kapoor, Manjot Singh, and Abhishek is brilliant. ‘Dream Girl 2’ might be light-hearted, but it takes guts to break from a star-like image and traditional masculinity. Ayushmann once again demonstrates his versatility. Even in scenes designed for entertainment, he avoids eye rolls or skepticism. His rapport with Seema Pahwa’s Jumani adds depth to the eccentric characters. Jumani’s unapologetic attitude, multiple failed marriages, and unconventional romance with a younger man make her stand out.
In its entirety, ‘Dream Girl 2’ provides a mix of humor and lapses. The witty gags, including references like ‘Gadar 2’ and BTS, elicit chuckles, while Ayushmann remains the primary reason to watch. His performance doesn’t falter, and his commitment to the role adds value to the viewing experience. Although the film offers silly and enjoyable moments, it grapples with an uneven narrative and the remnants of outdated humor.
The verdict? ‘Dream Girl 2’ rides on Ayushmann’s charm and clever gags for its entertainment quotient. If you’re seeking lighthearted amusement, this sequel provides a dose of laughter, even if it falters at times.