- Despite the diverse array of characters, the narrative struggles to seamlessly integrate their stories, leaving the audience disconnected and the comedy lacking depth.
“Dream Girl 2,” directed by Raaj Shaandilyaa and produced by Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor under Balaji Motion Pictures, is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language comedy-drama film. Serving as a spiritual sequel to the 2019 film “Dream Girl,” the storyline revolves around a man who cross-dresses and takes on the persona of a woman, leading to chaos and confusion.
The movie boasts an ensemble cast, featuring renowned actors such as Ayushmann Khurrana, Ananya Panday, Paresh Rawal, Annu Kapoor, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Asrani, Abhishek Banerjee, Manjot Singh, and Seema Pahwa. Despite the star-studded lineup, the potential of these actors seems underutilized due to a preposterous storyline.
The film follows a familiar plot reminiscent of classic Govinda movies, with Khurrana’s character a lower middle-class Karamveer Singh, attempting to secure a successful career and a house within six months to win the approval of Pari Shrivastava’s ( Ananya Pandey) wealthy father.
The film takes a bizarre turn as Karam disguises himself as a woman named Pooja, a bar dancer, resulting in a series of implausible and crude jokes. The attempt to address relevant social issues, such as romance and marriage between couples from diverse backgrounds, different faiths, prevalent mental illness, lack of communication, and LGBTQ acceptance, falls flat.
The film introduces a plethora of characters, from Pari’s father Manoj Joshi as the adamant Jaipal Srivastava who finally comes around despite the scandals his “son-in-law” is involved in!? To various supporting roles like Shah Rukh Saleem (Abhishek Banerjee), Mohammad Abu Saleem, a totally wasted Paresh Rawal, Jumani (Seema Pahwa) who tries her best to get into character as the head-strong daughter of Abu Saleem and is bent on divorcing Sona Bhai (Vijay Raaz) plays the lecherous bar owner), and Shaukiya (Rajpal Yadav).
Despite the diverse array of characters, the narrative struggles to seamlessly integrate their stories, leaving the audience disconnected and the comedy lacking depth. It is migraine-inducing, to say the least when almost every person on the screen simultaneously wants to marry Ayushmann Khurrana. The only solution to this preposterous confusion as suggested by a Mathura priest is the ultimate “dip in the Holy Ganges”!
Ayushmann Khurrana, a stellar actor, fails to captivate in his triple roles as Karam the Jagrata singer, Pooja the bar singer, and Pooja the psychiatrist. Other talented actors like Paresh Rawal and Vijay Raaz find themselves wasted in roles that do not do justice to their abilities. Annu Kapoor’s portrayal of the penniless father in a crumbling home adds an interesting touch, when he serves tea in mismatched cups but despite his droll performance as a greedy father ready to sacrifice the identity of his son to salvage himself from debt is unable to salvage the film.
“Dream Girl 2” ultimately falls short of its comedic ambitions, with a convoluted plot, inept humor, and underexplored character dynamics. The attempt to convey meaningful messages about societal issues lacks finesse, and the film struggles to balance its various elements.
While the motive to prove oneself as a worthy son-in-law provides a basis for the storyline, the execution leaves much to be desired. Perhaps, with a different approach: Singing Goddess Durga songs from one pandal to another with his friend Manjot Singh over North India could have raised Karam enough money to convince his father-in-law of his natural ability.
I think the film could have achieved a more entertaining and engaging outcome with a better storyline and not taking the audience for granted. The sheer ennui I felt on streaming the film on Netflix has forced me to take a mini hiatus from popular culture Bollywood films.
With one foot in Huntsville, Alabama, the other in her birth home India, and a heart steeped in humanity, writing is a contemplative practice for Monita Soni. She has published hundreds of poems, movie reviews, book critiques, and essays and contributed to combined literary works. Her two books are My Light Reflections and Flow through My Heart. You can hear her commentaries on Sundial Writers Corner WLRH 89.3FM.