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‘Dream Girl 2’ review: A dispiriting spiritual sequel

Ayushmann Khurrana impersonates a woman again in ‘Dream Girl 2’, with decidedly worse results

Ayushmann Khurrana and (right) Manjot Singh in 'Dream Girl 2'
Ayushmann Khurrana and (right) Manjot Singh in 'Dream Girl 2'

Writer-director Raaj Shaandilyaa follows up his 2019 comedy Dream Girl with a sequel that takes forward the concept of a man pretending to be a woman. In the first part, Ayushmann Khurrana played a man who works at an adult phone chat line masquerading as a woman. In the ‘spiritual sequel’, the character is called Karam (Khurrana) again, and this time too he has to throw a lifeline to his drowning-in-debt father Jagjit (played once again by an over-acting Annu Kapoor). But more than that, Karam needs to make a small fortune quickly in order to earn his girlfriend Pari’s (Ananya Panday) father’s approval.

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Karam follows his best friend Smiley’s (Manjot Singh) questionable advice, picks up two oranges, a variety of women's outfits and wigs to reinvent himself as bar dancer 'Pooja'. Not the prettiest girl or the most graceful, yet Pooja becomes the cynosure of all eyes, in particular bar owner Sona Bhai (Vijay Raaz), who pursues Pooja relentlessly.

In another get-rich quick scheme, Karam poses as a female psychi atrist (also called Pooja) and is so effective in pulling Shah Rukh (Abhishek Banerjee) out of depression that the cured patient’s father Abu Saleem (Paresh Rawal) insists Pooja marries his son. Karam is persuaded by the 25 lakh ‘gift’ that accompanies the union.

Karam and Jagjit have no qualms about fraud and morality. Karam darts in and out of toilet stalls, juggling identities, falsehoods and firm oranges, while being wooed by both men (as Pooja) and women (as Karam). All the while, the subterfuge is justified because his to-be father-in-law (played by Manoj Joshi) has set a list of financial conditions before Karam is deemed worthy of marrying the more accomplished Pari.

Meanwhile, Pari is in the dark. As a lawyer, her investigative skills are shaky. She makes numerous assumptions about Karam, asks no relevant questions and is quick to abandon ship. Nor does he take her into his confidence.

Numerous other characters played by Asrani, Rajpal Yadav and Seema Pahwa spiral in this dizzying comedy of cross-dressing chaos. Logic is discarded. The actors perform as they wish without tonal cohesion. Rawal, Bannerjee, Pandey and Khurrana are acting in one plane while Kapoor, Raaz, Pahwa, Singh and Yadav are pitched completely differently.

Dream Girl 2 is as un-woke as it gets. It's Khurrana’s attempt at doing something in the commercial realm of a Welcome or House Full. However, all his efforts at making his dance moves as graceful as possible and confidently walking in a sari cannot overcome the film’s asinine plot. In one scene Karam profoundly declares ‘it’s tough being a girl, he should know’. If only gender difference was as simple as two oranges, a lacy bra and invoking ‘lady’s problems’.

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