Dum Laga Ke Haisha: A heart warming chemistry which breaks Bollywood’s domestic conventions

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An adult man too scared to straighten his spine, a fat girl too happy in her skin and a too good to be true family is what makes up Sharat Katariya’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha. The absolute abhorrence of drama makes you feel the loss of stereotypical domestic abuse amply illustrated in daily soaps. It even guilt trips you to realize how deep those seeds of ‘bura bahu’ have been sowed in your conscience.

The movie sets off with a dreamy eyed, Kumar Sanu adulator, Prem Prakash Tiwari (Ayushmann Khurrana) unwilling to get married to a fat yet B.Ed pass Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar). As with most men in India who are yet to attain independence from parental support, Prem’s dissent against his plus sized would be wife is rubbished in the hopes of the bahu making up for its by earning with her degree.

As the plot unrolls, we are treated to the by lanes of Varanasi and their rustic charm through high angle slow motion shots. A mass wedding ceremony later Prem’s dissent slowly creeps in but is uncannily countered with nonchalance by Sandhya. The absence of domestic drama strikes your conscience during these fights and makes you wonder if truly it is possible for a fat newly married woman to throw tantrums at her husband and the family to rebuke their son more than the bride for not having taken initiatives on the first night. It is by adopting a different treatment to rather common everyday soap situation that makes this film stand out, not Pednekar’s fat suit.
The second half of the film however breaks this notion and does end up being disappointing but it stops bothering you by this time for you are smitten by the chemistry on screen. Despite the non-allegiance to unrealistic drama in the first half it resorts to just that in the end with the local Dum Laga Ke Haisa contest where a man has to piggy back his wife through an obstacle course. For Prem a few more stakes have been thrown in.
When you have watched the movie it will make you realize why a film like this can only be played by Khurana and not by a star like Shah Rukh Khan or Aamir Khan. When these big names come on screen the audience has certain expectation like fights or taking of shirt scenes, but this film is devoid of it all and that is what makes it the perfect popcorn watch with Prem’s remorseful face for not achieving much in life adding butter. The magic lies in him making you giggle more than stirring pity or awe.
The movie’s drop back of a yet to be digitzed town gives a dramatic background score. The music feels overbearing to the extent that you wish you could relish more of Prem and Sandhya and not have your brain distracted by the excessive piano score. The music instead of supporting the film acted like a fly you want to swat to get a little silence.
The plotline weakens at the end reminding every critical movie lover that there is only so much audacity a mainstream Bollywood film can show. But again it is not every day you see a plus sized, braided heroine steer every corner of the script. A buck load of brownie points for that.

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