Bollywood review: Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan’s cheesy Shah Rukh Khan tribute

Never has Bollywood seen a romance like this. Where a pretty girl leaves home in pursuit of a perfect wedding gown, and wins a handsome lover in the bargain.

Yes, director Shashank Khaitan’s chaotic love story is more about finding the perfect ‘lehenga’ and less about love. At least, that’s what the first-half promises.

So, he definitely scores points for novelty on that count. Alas, he’s unable to sell his pitch convincingly. While the first few minutes show promise, the story soon slips into a predictable routine that’s exhausting at 135 minutes of screen-time.

His dainty princess is so focused on finding her exorbitantly-priced, designer gown that she almost doesn’t notice her pauper of a prince, who mouths cheesy lines and blatantly promises her the world even when his pocket is painfully empty.

Her feisty dad, who vehemently opposes ‘love’ because it ruined his older daughter’s fairytale, willingly sends his second girl away without much thought or money.

“I’ll make money on my own, buy my designer lehenga and return,” announces his spirited girl just weeks away from her big day, while her dad smiles on endearingly.

Clearly, logic isn’t something Shashank invested in while penning his screenplay.

So, while the father is conveniently missing in action, his girl busies herself in uncovering the influx of designer counterfeits in Delhi, and saving her best friend’s from a messy affair. That’s not all, she even manages to find time to fall in love with a random bloke, who stepped in to help and indulge her designer fetish.

She even spends a night with the boy and his pals, after downing a few drinks and dancing to Hindi movie songs, only because she believes it’s “safer to stay (with them) than go home (to her uncle)”. Even when common sense would suggest otherwise.

The father only reappears post the second-half, when her wedding is just days away, and her unexpected lover lands in their village to spoil the fun.

The plot soon shifts into being a shoddy tribute to the Bollywood classic ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. So, the boy appears in a leather jacket, despite the heat and the mention of a broken air-conditioner, and attempts to floor his girl’s dad even when he knows that his competitor is fiercely superior on every count. It’s (Jungle Book) Moogly versus Superman, if you please!

While ‘DDLJ’s Raj’s blood-shot eyes and quivering lips continues to remain etched in our memory as he tries to win over Simran’s feisty dad on a rustic railway platform, Shashank’s imitation appears devoid of emotion and punch.

If anything, it’s the supporting cast that wins us over. Humpty’s loyal pals, the chubby Poplu and endearing Shonty are the stars in this paradise. Actors Sahil Vaid and Gaurav Pandey possess incredible versatility and comic timing for their debutant act. Their stunning performance overshadows the lead pair, without much trouble.

TV star Siddarth Shukla is reduced to playing a desi-‘Johnny Bravo’, while the talented Ashutosh Rana is allowed to merely glare and frown through most parts, leaving him with the most fractured character in his film career so far.

Karan Johar’s “students” Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan appear sincere, but their attempt is sidelined by the unimaginative love story. Shashank refuses to shake off his ‘DDLJ’ hangover, even when his heroine asks him (and Humpty) to do so earlier on in the film. Had he listened, this would’ve been a completely different affair.

Despite some good performances and a few wonderfully written lines, ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya’ stops from being an endearing tale of love, because it blindly piggybacks on the classic without any heart or logic.

It’s much ado about a lehenga!

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