Film: Dulha Mil Gaya (U/A)
Director: Mudassar Aziz
Cast: Fardeen Khan, Sushmita Sen, Ishita Sharma and Shah Rukh Khan
Rating: ** ½
Dulha Mil Gaya is not a bad film at all. I have to admit that I entered the screening of the film with some trepidation.
I’m not a big fan of the lead actors – Fardeen Khan and Sushmita Sen – and the promos didn’t look exciting either. Just before the film started, a fellow journalist was quick to whisper in my ear that his hopes weren’t too high either.
The opening sequence seemed to confirm my fears. The butler of a superstar, Shimmer (Sen) fumbles and fights with her personal assistant in a typical manner that homosexuals seem to be attached with in our films. He makes some lewd gestures, acts overtly pansy (the ‘hai daiyya’ types) and mouths dialogues in a high-pitched tone, all of which are aimed at making you laugh. It just puts you off in stead.
A few scenes later, the hero of our film – Tej aka Donsai (!!), a playboy (Fardeen) – breaks into a song to celebrate the fact that he broke up with his latest girlfriend. You’re yawning by now.
The next scene has Tej’s lawyer, ‘Mr Vakil’, telling him that his father left behind a will according to which sonny had to get married to the girl daddy chose for him in apna Punjab, or else all his money would be taken away from him. Tej’s in a quandary and Vakil suggests he gets married to the girl and then leave her behind in Punjab, while continuing to live the life he wants in the West Indies.
It’s when the hero lands in Punjab that the film livens up a bit. The kudi his dad chose for him is the simple, sweet Samarpreet Kapoor (Sharma) who doesn’t understand what washroom means (she calls it latrine).
Sharma is a real find. Cute and charming, she fits in the ‘sweet girl’ character like a hand-in-glove. Her telling Tej, coyly, how she recently got herself a Yahoo account and making a mock-scary face when she’s crying are among the better moments in the film.
Samarpreet believes Tej when he says that he’ll come back to fetch her in a month’s time. But three months pass, and Tej never calls, or even writes to, Samarpreet. Fed up of waiting, she decides to travel to the Caribbean to meet her husband and find out what’s wrong.
But when she lands up, she finds him rollicking at a party and in the arms of other women. Heartbroken, she’s given shelter by Shimmer, who then transforms her into a diva, Samara – one that Shimmer’s sure Tej would fall for.
Just as Shimmer plays cupid to Tej and Samarpreet, she also has to ward off the charm of baron Pavan ‘Raj’ Gandhi (SRK as ‘PRG’) who is pursuing her and who she loves too, but can’t think of settling down with. Her career and independence are important to her, and so PRG has to woo Shimmer, even as the two of them help Samarpreet woo Tej.
The film has a predictable, even clichéd, storyline but writer-director Mudassar Aziz makes a half-decent watch out of it. Of course, the film could have done without a lot of things – the unwanted comedy, some really cheesy dialogues (“a woman looks beautiful not when she’s decked up, but when she’s in love”) and too many characters (a DJ, his girlfriend, Shimmer’s entourage, even Johnny Lever in a serious role as Tej’s man Friday, Hussain chacha!)
Aziz has tailored the script to ensure that he factors in the typical ‘family’ crowd our Hindi films have been famous for targeting in the past, including a karva chauth sequence and mustard fields, in his script. The film may be a bit traditional in that sense and stick out like a sore thumb in this era of urbane concepts and edgy narrations. But as a debut effort, he does a not-so-bad job, and who knows, with a better script, could make an entertaining film.
Also commendable is his handling of Shah Rukh’s character. It must have been a real boon to have the superstar in his first film, even if it’s in a short role, and Aziz makes most of it. The last time you saw the actor was almost a year back in Billu, and even though My Name Is Khan will be the real deal, you enjoy the SRK moments in Dulha Mil Gaya. The scene where he jumps into the sea to salvage Shimmer’s ‘fake’ dog would have fallen flat, if not for the way Khan pulls it off.
Sushmita, as Shimmer, is funny, only because the character seems to be tailor-made for her – a beauty without brains. No doubting Sen’s intelligence in real life, but she plays the hoity-toity diva with ease.
Fardeen is better in Dulha Mil Gaya than in most of his earlier films, but that doesn’t mean he’s anywhere close to being an ‘actor’ yet. In one scene, he stands in front of a mirror and only emotes with the two-and-a-half expressions he possesses.
That scene could well be used in acting schools on how NOT to emote. He’s passable though. Ishita Sharma surprises with a confident debut and although she loses a bit of her charm after the makeover, she may have a future in films if she makes the right choices from here on.
Should you watch Dulha Mil Gaya this weekend? With Sherlock Holmes and Paranormal Activity for competition, it may be a tough call but if you’re in a generous mood you might just enjoy it.