In this tech-savvy world, people have little time for bonding and not surprisingly, depression and anxiety has grown manifold. Taking this as the premise, writer Raaj Shaandilya sprinkles oodles of humor and hilarious one-liners in his directorial debut Dream Girl to drive home the message without being overtly preachy. If you have seen the film’s trailer, its plot is all in there.
Karamveer Singh (Ayushmann Khurrana) lives with his father Jagjeet Singh (Annu Kapoor). The latter owns a shop that sells materials used for the last rites of funerals. Needless to say, he isn’t financially stable and has debts to clear. Karamveer, blessed with the ability to sound (and also look) like a woman, whiles away his time donning the role of Sita in Ramleela plays or with his friend Smiley (Manjot Singh). By chance, Karamveer comes across a job at a friendship call center where he has to impersonate a woman to provide relief to several lonely customers.
With a lucrative paycheck on offer and the versatility of voice at his disposal, Karamveer doesn’t think twice before accepting the job. In between, he falls in love with Mahi (Nusrat Bharucha) and their romance progresses at a brisk pace. As you would have guessed by now, Mahi is unaware of Karamveer’s shady night shifts and his new job starts to take its toll on him coz of the number of customers that he has to deal with. In all this never-ending mess, will Karamveer find a way forward?
Diversity seems to be Ayushmann’s second name judging from his film choices and, irrespective of the genre he picks, the output is always top-notch. He is at the top of his game with his feminine voice modulation being incredibly accurate and his comedy timing on point. He shares an easy camaraderie with Annu Kapoor who brings the house down with his antics in the second half.
Nusrat Bharucha as the protagonist’s love interest is in her elements as the bold and vivacious small-town girl. The film’s casting needs to be lauded as everyone in support roles do their jobs with aplomb—among the lot, a special mention for Vijay Raaz, who makes you laugh out loud as the impish senior cop. Highly underutilised in Bollywood, he once again shows his wares to full effect.
Shaandilya’s dialogues are highly entertaining and the screenplay that he has co-written with Nirmaan Singh is also brisk. Over the years, there have been plenty of Bollywood films where the protagonist has transformed into a woman, mostly for song sequences. Who can forget Amitabh Bachchan’s hilarious act in the song ‘Mere angne mein‘ from Laawaris. The likes of Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Mehmood, Govinda etc have all done the same in some films. In terms of full-length characters, Kamal Haasan in Chaachi 420 and Govinda in Aunty No.1 come to mind. In contrast, Dream Girl doesn’t really demand Ayushmann to do the same.
It’s the feminine voice that holds centerstage in the film and although he does wear female attires in a few sequences, those are far and few. The actor deserves rich praise for choosing the climax to be one of those scenes, and ensures that the core message of the film is delivered efficiently without spoiling the general mood.
Recently bestowed with the National Award for best actor (which he shared with Vicky Kaushal), Ayushmann continues to show why he is rated highly in Indian cinema. Unlike his peers, he chooses his films with utmost sincerity and smartness, the result of which is in front of us. He rarely gets a script wrong and Dream Girl is a continuation of that winning trend for this charismatic performer.