Monday, November 9, 2009

Dil Bole Hadippa

Movie Review : Dil Bole Hadippa
Language : Hindi
Released : 2009
Director : Anurag Singh
Starring : Rani Mukherjee, Shahid Kapoor, Anupam Kher
My Rating : 5 out of 10

I am not even going to pretend that this movie requires any serious examination of its artistic merits. This is a feel good movie with a modest aim of just mentioning a social message. Nothing worng with the old idea of a sweet romantic comedy.

The movie is definitely inspired by "She's The Man" - which itself can be traced to Shakespeare's "The Twelfth Night" - in using cross dressing and mistaken identities as the main elemnts. Nothing wrong with reusing the ideas that Shakespeare borrowed from even older authors.

The story is about a simple village girl (Veera, played by Rani Mukherjee) in the fictional Punjab where people with colourful dresses work in fields that are always lush green. She wants to play Cricket. So she dresses like a man for being accepted in the team. For her romantic partnership, comes a handsome NRI from England (played by Shahid Kapoor) with the name of what-else-but-Rohan-of-course. Nothing wrong with the standard idea of romance between a returning NRI and a simple village girl.

To provide the context of their love story, comes in the qunitessentially Indian love affair of Cricket. As movies like, "Lagaan" and "Chak De" have proved, there is nothing worng with using the idea of big game as the main plot element.

Well, you get the idea. There is nothing intrinsically wrong about the individual ideas, except that there is nothing new here. Now, Bollywood Masala movies don't really try to claim any originality, and there is nothing worng in that as well - or may be there is.

The problem is, how many times more do you really want to see an NRI being trained by an authentic Indian in how to eat using hands or how to eat hot chillies ? Or a over-talkative village girl mixing English and Hindi in a trite attempt at comedy ?

The music (by Preetham) is the same Bhangra drumbeats interperesed with meaningless words. The lyricist came up with, "disco waale khisko". It actually rhymes, what an achievement ! In comparison, everything else seem strikingly original. Hmmm, may be that was the real motive - make the viewers complain about the songs and hope they don't notice the other stuff made out of recycled material.

If the movie's strength is not romance and songs, then it certainly isn't the final Cricket showdown between the Indian and Pakistani teams - not the national team, just village teams. One of the strengths of Lagaan was the long Cricket game masterfully done. This game was not even 1/10th as exiting. I know that a certain level of belief suspension is needed while watching such movies, so I won't question why the Indian team couldn't find better players to fight after 9 years (!!) of defeat and had to rely on an NRI from England to win. Ok, we need a hero, so let's just accept that. But get this - after the fall of 9th wicket, the Indian team needs to score something like 165 runs in 47 balls ! Now come on, Mr. Director, we know our stars are superhumans, but did it have to be that outrageous ? This and many such problems with the Cricket aspects of the game simply give away how little thought has been put into making this movie.

That's not to say that the movie doesn't have any bright moments. Like most movies, the choreography is nice. This movie is carried on her able shoulders by Rani Mukherjee - who gives a solid performane. Whatever belivability the movie has, it's because of her. Both she and Shahid Kapoor seem to have gone through some sort of cricket training. But that is not enough to take the movie above the average level.

Another plus side is that the movie is kid friendly - almost. Kids will definitely laugh and enjoy at many places.

It's not a complete waste of time. But if you miss it, so be it.

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