Film Review: Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania – Old Formula In New Clothes

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humpty sharma ki dhulaniamain[tps_footer]Alia Bhatt’s Kavya Singh is not too different from Ananya from 2 States – a spunky, spoilt, obstinate girl who wants to marry, not the man her parents have chosen for her, but the man of her choosing. However it is up to the said boy to win over the trust and consent of her hardheaded father (Ashutosh Rana) who is nursing old wounds.

In this case Rakesh Sharma, aka Humpty from Delhi, the only son of a bookshop owner, must win over Kavya’s hotheaded, chauvinistic Punjabi family from Ambala. Humpty and Kavya’s chance meeting happens in Delhi where she has arrived to buy her designer wedding lehenga. Like many modern romcoms, there is no substance to this love story – he sees her dancing at a party in western wear and selling her gold earrings and love happens. He saves her friend from humilation and she’s putty in his hands. A kiss and cut to a scene of bare shoulders, a bare torso and the morning after. But she will not hurt her already hurting father, who has never recovered from seeing one daughter’s love marriage end badly, and returns to Ambala leaving Humpty behind.

Now Humpty shows up at the wedding house. Papa Singh gives him five days to prove that Kavya’s betrothed Angad (Siddharth Shukla) is not good enough for her. Turns out, he’s perfect, making Humpty’s task all the more challenging. But ultimately a hot-headed Punjabi man finds that one cut from the same cloth – and not the educated, sensitive, pacifist – is best for his daughter. Love, as numerous Bollywood movies have proven, conquers all, especially when the climax takes place at a train station.

Director Shashank Khaitan is of that generation that is so influenced by Raj and Simran’s love story in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge that references to the film abound in Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. In the context of contemporary India, it means that designer lehengas and Maruti cars define Kavya and Humpty’s aspirations. This is the shallow world of Khaitan’s film with formulaic good- hearted grandmothers and understanding mothers, two do-or-die best friends, a doting single parent, and wedding songs and dances.

Where Khaitan scores is in the dialogues, which are natural, funny, snappy and delivered smoothly by the actors. Alia Bhatt is clearly a star – she is the whole package, even if her dancing is a bit weak. Let’s hope she doesn’t get stuck playing the same role in all her films – of the one-dimensional young girl who knows she will get what she wants. Humpty is also written as a vehicle to show off Varun Dhawan’s appeal – his dancing and his connect with teenaged girls. If only he would not sound tapori even when he is playing a Dilli boy.

As the devoted friends Poplu (Sahil Vaid) and Shonty (Gaurav Pandey) add a layer that the film is otherwise deeply lacking. But then complexity and maturity are not part of the formula of contemporary teenage love stories.

Ratings: ** 1/2[/tps_footer]