If you are a 90s baby, you will fondly remember an era of premature Cable Television, video game players, tape recorders, cassettes, VCRs, and that slow inception of CDs. Above all, you will remember the songs – some cheesy like “Tu chiz badi hai mast mast”, or soulful renditions like “Humko Sirf Tumse Pyaar Hai”. And with the songs, you will remember a voice, that dominated the romantic numbers of 90s – Kumar Saanu.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a tribute to that period. And yet, it is different and modern in its take. It is set in Haridwar of 90s, with its narrow lanes and nosy neighbors, where everyone knows what is happening in whose house. The casting is perfect, with both simple sets of parents, a bua with a slight hint of innocent sarcasm, and of course the protagonists – Ayushmann Khurrana as Prem Prakash Tiwari, the “naalayak beta”, who is an ardent Kumar Saanu fan. Only three things get tears in eyes – his Dad’s beatings, the English Question Paper which has been his undoing in 10th board exams, and Kumar Saanu’s voice. Ayushmann falls into the role almost effortlessly, and it is hard to believe that he is the same guy who played the suave, “Dilli ka launda”, Vicky Donor.
The breath of fresh air is the debutante Bhumi Pednekar, cast as Sandhya Verma, an educated Indian girl, albeit fat, who is comfortable in her own skin. She is smart, she dreams to be a teacher, and wishes to get married ASAP. Bhumi seems like a seasoned actor, and it helps that she was a casting director for YRF for many years. She specifically gained 10-12 kgs for the role, and that speaks a lot about her commendable dedication to her profession.
The movie unfolds with Prem and Sandhya getting married, much against Prem’s wishes, simply because Sandhya is fat and therefore, unsightly. Sandhya tries hard to woo Prem, but gives up when she hears Prem calling her names in front of his friends. But unlike the heroine of yesteryear, Sandhya doesn’t take it lying low. She stands up for herself, and puts people in their place when they are mean to her. Of course, Prem realizes what a douche he is, and tries to make amends. The entire movie is set against a backdrop of “Dum Laga Ke Haisha”, a fun competition, which calls for a married couple’s understanding and endurance, with a prize money of 10K INR, a huge amount in those times.
The movie is splattered with lots of hilarious moments, and the comedy is clean and truly funny. “Dum Laga Ke Haisha” is an attempt at giving us Indians our own rom-coms, and it is worth appreciating. It is a short movie by Indian standards, it wraps up in less than 2 hours. The crisp editing ensures that movie doesn’t seem like a drag at any point and is genuinely sweet and enjoyable. It drives important social messages across, without being preachy. It asks us to understand how little appearances matter when it comes down to judging people, and how an educated woman need not feel afraid of societal pressures and put up with an unhappy marriage.
If you haven’t watched it till now, do so. I don’t have more to say about it, since that would be like giving away everything of a predictable plot. But do watch it for a respite from the likes of “Chennai Express” or “Singham Returns”, for it is good to watch movies that you can actually relate to.
P.S : If you did see this one, don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below!!! 🙂