Dum Laga Ke Haisha: A well-rounded effort

A scene from the movie   | Photo Credit: 28dmcdum laga ke haisha

Face value is a much abused term in our films and through them it stretches into our lives. Our mainstream films have given us such rigid definitions of beauty and the shapes that it comes in that often we end up judging the book by its cover. And Yash Raj Films is often the culprit in creating these chiffon thick definitions. This week the banner breaks the stereotypes with a flourish as debutant director Sharat Katariya takes us to the holy towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh to celebrate ordinariness.

Set in 1990s, an era which we often mock at as over the top in pop culture, Sharat brings out the nuances of the period. Prem, a high school fail boy who runs a music recording shop, is forced to get married to a plump Sandhya in group marriage. Sandhya is overweight but unlike Prem she is educated and talented. In her, Prem’s father sees a bahu who could help improve the family’s economic condition. But Prem can’t look beyond the size. Add to it Sandhya’s brimming self esteem and their relationship hits a rough path even before it gets started.

Genre: Romance/ Drama
Director: N. Sharat Katariya
Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Bhumi Pednekar, Sanjay Mishra, Seema Pahwa, Alka Amin, Sheeba Chadda
Bottomline: A welcome reminder of simple joys and sorrows of life, watch it with somebody you love.

It is one the most relatable and grounded films from Yash Raj banner in the last few years which never resorts to crowd pleasing tricks after taking a detour from big city “Dhoom” to the seemingly drab routines of small town India. There are no grand designs, no mawkish emotions and yet it is deliciously entertaining. For once we have a film from a studio which is not trying to be rooted. It is. It is a space that Rajshri used to exploit.

The detailing is delightful. Be it the sound of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi rendering “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” or the use of Kumar Sanu songs to create the atmosphere of the 90s, Katariya has filled the ambience with many little gems that you won’t forget in a while. Perhaps for the first time the RSS shakha finds a place in a mainstream film as a routine feature. B.Ed, the degree that could get you a job, the double-breasted coats, the feeling of the sari coming apart without that safety pin, the tantrums of Bajaj scooter and the use of Limca to get over that pukey feeling, it is all there.

And when you begin to feel that Sharat is only good at creating the scene, he slips in simple observations on love, marriage and divorce and how ego can ruin relationships.

After Aankhon Dekhi, Sanjay Mishra and Seema Pahwa once again recreate the magic of ordinariness. The only difference is that this time they are on the opposite sides of the fence. Seasoned theatre practitioners Alka Amin and Sheeba Chadda don’t allow the well meaning mother-in-law and the nosey bua to fall into a rut.

After a promising start, Ayushmann finally picks the right vehicle to harness his talent. He embraces the diction and body language of Prem, a manchild who is finding it hard to come out from under his father’s shadow.

But it is Bhoomi who is literally the force behind this vehicle. With no baggage of expectations, she expresses herself without any affectations. There is no space for make believe when she is on screen and as Sandhya she lifts the romance to a relatable level.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 12:16:31 AM |

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