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Dream Girl 2 movie review: Ayushmann returns to form with mindless comedy, a throwback to best and worst of 90s' cinema

Dream Girl 2 is illogical and cringe in parts but still manages to entertain, largely because of Ayushmann Khurrana and the stellar support cast.

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Director: Raaj Shaandilyaa

Cast: Ayushmann Khurrana, Ananya Panday, Annu Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Manjot Singh, Abhishek Banerjee, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Seema Pahwa

Where to watch: Theatres

Rating: 3 stars

Dream Girl 2 takes you back in time. But whether that time you are transported back to you is nostalgia-filled or cringe completely depends on your perspective. Art is subjective, after all. In its plot, treatment, an execution, Dream Girl 2 is a loud throw back to the massy, populist Bollywood of the 90s, where cross-dressing, jokes on body parts, and double entendre was humour. Three decades later, surprisingly, it still works. Despite its flaws and superfluous gags, Dream Girl 2 manages to entertain and make you laugh. And it works largely despite the writing and because of its stellar support cast and Ayushmann doing what he does best.

Dream Girl 2 is a spiritual sequel to the first part. Like last time, we find Karam (Ayushmann) in a pickle. His girlfriend Pari’s (Ananya Panday) father has asked him to get a job and Rs 25 lakh within six months if he wants to marry her. With the help of his over-eager father Jagjit (Annu Kapoor) and friend Smiley (Manjot Singh), Karam transforms into Pooja, everyone’s dream girl, and hustles to earn money, first as a bar dancer and then as a bride for a Nawab’s depressed son. What ensues is a mindless, zany comedy fuelled by some good old-fashioned misunderstanding and conjecture.

Dream Girl 2 does not begin like a film but a series of gags one after the other. The story serves merely to feed one gag into the next. And while that is an odd way to start a film, it does warm the audience up. A lot of WhatsApp forward jokes and gags later, we finally start to get to know the characters. Ayushmann is at home albeit a bit over the top. This is, perhaps, his most commercial film in years and the actor has tried to be as out there as he can, not wasting an ounce of energy on subtlety. But as the quintessential Hindi film hero, it works.

The film’s beating hearts are its more-than-competent support cast. Be it the theatrical antics of Annu Kapoor, the measured comic timing of Paresh Rawal, or the zany physical comedy of Vijay Raaz, all of these stalwarts elevate the film’s average writing with their talent. Ananya Panday brings in a surprisingly mature and watchable performance, better than most of her previous outings. Not only does the young actress emote competently, she does well in scenes with some very seasoned performers.

But despite Ananya and Ayushmann’s love story, the film’s best chemistry is between Ayushmann and Abhishek Banerjee. The latter plays Shah Rukh, the depressed man ‘Pooja’ marries. The two actors feed off each other beautifully and in some scenes, their comic timing is perfect. Special mention to Manjot Singh and Seema Pahwa for their fun performances as well.

But in the end, Dream Girl 2 is less than the sum of its parts. It is a nonsensical film that ignores logic. And as long as it is entertaining, that works. But in the few moments when the pace of the narrative slows, these illogical flaws tend to jut out. You can only suspend your disbelief for so long. Some of the jokes are cringe and only work because of the delivery of the artistes. And much of the situational humour is something straight out of 90s-00s’ films like Aunty No 1, Chachi 420, or even Style. The film offers little new.

Dream Girl 2 ends with the only new thing it can offer in this genre – a typical Ayushmann monologue that descends into being a sermon pretty soon. That is the part where despite the short screen time, the film begins to feel a bit oblong. I wish mainstream Hindi films did not resort to spelling each and every message out in those many words and let the actions do the talking sometimes.

But despite its idiocy, cringe, and nonsense, Dream Girl 2 makes you laugh and root for the protagonist. It does what a good film is supposed to – entertain. And that is something very few Bollywood movies have managed in the last few years. That alone makes Dream Girl 2 worth a trip to the theatre.

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