Love story for the ‘Like’ generation

Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania  

Raj told Simran that being a Hindustani boy he wouldn’t do that to a Hindustani girl… after messing with her the morning after when she wakes up and finds herself wearing his shirt.

When Humpty enacts the same scene after a night of drinking, Kavya punches him. She says she was only drunk and didn’t suffer from memory loss.

Genre: Romance
Director: Shashank Khaitan
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Ashutosh Rana, Siddharth Shukla
Story No points for guessing who takes the Dulhania
Bottomline: A charming celebration of that cult film that has been named too often, which largely works because of flawless casting

If Simran went to Europe on that one big holiday before the wedding, Kavya is in Delhi to buy the designer lehenga for her wedding when she meets Hindi film fanboy Humpty. The boy falls head over heels in love with her and does everything it takes to get her that designer lehenga, even if it means taking the money his dad set aside for buying a car — not just because he promised her but because he wants her to have what she wants. The girl is immensely moved. A moment later, she kisses him on impulse. And they do what Raj and Simran shied away from, even with the “ bade bade deshon main chotti chotti baatein” licence.

It is these small twists (progressive updates rather) to the plot that make Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania an absolutely entertaining watch, especially with Varun Dhawan using the opportunity to show us he can be Shah Rukh and Salman rolled into one, given the right role. And Alia Bhatt once again shows us what a cracker of an actress she can be even if she just needs to play the type — feisty spunky Punjabi heroine who loves her Amrish Puri type Bauji.

But full points to Shashank Khaitan for being self-aware and in on the joke. The director here makes no bones about staying loyal to the framework of that cult film that has been named too many times, but he plays with the specifics and the little details. There are some scenes he plays out as they were, some he subverts, some he pokes fun at and some he tweaks just enough to break the predictability, and it is this smart shuffling of his choices that makes Humpty Sharma not just another rip-off/tribute to the nineties film of manufacturing parental consent.

Tribute is such an abused word and it takes absolutely no talent to do that. What’s commendable here is that Khaitan knows he is dealing with a film we all love and makes up for the borrowing by adding a lot of witty touches and subtly changing everything that doesn’t work today. The girl, for example, is more than willing to elope today and says she is not going to let someone else decide what she has to do with her life. Khaitan allows her to make that point before heading back to the framework of the original.

The exchanges between Humpty and his friends Shonty and Poplu (Sahil Vaid is hilarious) are a blast. And Ashutosh Rana makes a mean Bauji here.

Humpty wants to be in that film he loves, and when he does he finds that he cannot fight a villain if there’s none. The boy who Kavya is engaged to is a good guy. The best there is.

This is not to say Humpty’s world falls within the realm of the real. This is hardcore filmi too — filmi in denial of being larger than life — but we don’t mind that because this is a celebration of that genre.

Humpty Sharma shows why there is very little (except bad choice of films) that can stop Varun Dhawan from being the superstar of the near future. He is like a Ranbir who could drop his shirt and IQ for the masses, and his chemistry with Alia is so crackling that you want to see these two fine young actors together more often.

The songs, though shot as showcases for Varun and Alia, seem a little too generic and this is where we wish we had seen a bit of Jatin-Lalit flavour. Can you imagine a Beatles tribute film with hip-hop?

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 8:32:37 AM |

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