What do a Parsi, a Muslim, a Haryanivi Jatt, a Sardar, a Punjabi, and a Dilli policeman have in common. Why, none other than Dolly (Sonam Kapoor), of course, the lootayri dhulan-cum-runaway-bride.
After Sonam's last outing in Khoobsurat, Dolly ki Doli is a welcome relief and much of it because of the ensemble cast.
The very Ranjha-esque wedding of Sonu Sharawat (Rajkummar Rao) — with Malaika Arora-Khan’s item number 'Fashion Khatam' — is the start of Dolly’s matrimonial misadventures. Even though Malaika Arora as Ragini hit all the right spots at this dehati wedding, one wonders how an English-medium Dolly will fit into this very Hindi-medium environment.
Fitting in, though, is not what Dolly has in mind. She offers a suhaag raat love potion — milk spiked with sleeping pills for that deeper-than-natural shut eye. In goes the potion and off goes the bride with everything but the groom. This modus operandi defines Dolly’s cons throughout the film. Age, religion, and caste are no bar, but suhaagraat is fully barred!
|Sonam Kapoor as Dolly in 'Dolly Ki Doli'— Photo Courtesy: The Indian Express|
As the pretty dulhan escapes from Sonu’s Sonepat mansion to reunite with her criminal family, they zoom off to the beats of the title song. More groom-scamming and looting sprees follow, but trouble brews on two fronts.
Enter tough cop Robin Singh (Pulkit Samrat) who is on the hunt for his looteri dulhan and Raju (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub), the groom-scanner, slowly falling in love with the serial bride.
|Sonam Kapoor and Rajkumar Rao in a still from the film.— Publicity Photo|
Dolly ki Doli is as simple as the con game it depicts. No complex characters, no back-stories, no deep secrets to take away from the unpredictable plot.
This lack of background on Daku Dolly and her criminal posse: dowry-doling Dubey-ji, pyar kay bukhar ka shikaar Raju, the auto-repeat dadi, and an aloo paratha making Maa, keeps one guessing about all their motives.
Umashankar Singh’s script does give us a brief peek into Dolly’s past whereby we begin to make sense of her inclinations, but it seems that Dolly enjoys what she does. This unapologetic portrayal of a female con-artist without any outward attempts at redemption was the highlight of Dolly ki Doli. In fact, in its own simple way, the film questions the hypocritical elements of marriage and patriarchy.
Sonam Kapoor surprises as Dolly, who is a character not in keeping with her traditional penchant for spoilt rich girls (à la Aisha and Khoobsurat) or tortured souls (in Ranjhanaa and Mausam). Kapoor’s limited screen time works in her favour as one wants to see more of Dolly. Of all her films, along with her typically flawless sartorial choices, she exudes a certain maturity, ease, and comfort in front of the camera.
|Sonam Kapoor as Dolly in 'Dolly Ki Doli'— Publicity Photo|
Pulkit Samrat and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub are very believable as the besotted lovers. The former channels the no-nonsense policeman routine only to help our dulhan at the right time but the wrong place. The latter just cannot help falling hopelessly in love, but as Dolly says, “Mein aisi larki nahi hoon, yaar.”
|Pulkit Samraat as the no-nonsense policeman in 'Dolly Ki Doli'— Photo Courtesy: The Indian Express|
Rajkummar Rao’s Sonu is every bit the Jatt in love, the kind you would see in a Gurgaon mall or desi akhada. His acting is beyond reproach and his character does genuinely fall for Dolly’s, which is a tad disappointing because it would have been nice to see them together.
Varun Sharma and his overbearing Punjabi mother (Archana Puran Singh) add in much of the comedy. Arbaaz Khan seems to have found a steady pool of talent at brother Sohail Khan’s show, Comedy Circus.
|A still from the film.— Photo Courtesy: IBNLive.com|
The ensemble cast makes Dolly ki Doli an easy watch. The comedy elicits a few laughs and a chuckle, but falls short of being a rib-tickler. Most of all the acting is well spread and all the actors deliver on this count even Malaika Arora-Khan’s theeki aadyaein are on the mark.
As for the soundtrack, Sonam Kapoor and AKFC (Anil Kapoor Film Company) have invented a new trend. Sajid-Wajid’s music was very reminiscent of Khoobsurat. 'Babaji ka Thullu' is another 'Maa ka Phone', 'Fashion Khatam' another 'Abhi to Party Shuru Hui Hai', yet, the lyrics and the music are forgettable at best.
Abhishek Dogra’s direction is fluid and consistent. His choice of ending the film with Dolly coming home to her deceiving ways (with a Salman Khan photograph no less!) was a welcome relief. So often we see carefree, independent, and confident women being brought into the fold of respectability through marriage, so seeing Dolly making her own decision(s) was well worth the watch.
If there’s not much to like in Dolly ki Doli, then, at the same time there isn’t much to dislike either, and this is the worst-case scenario. The 140-minute running time does wonders for both the film and the audience making this an easy and comfortable watch.
Randip Bakshi is a Vancouver-based graduate student, avid film buff, and occasional blogger. He can be found musing on popular culture @filmijourneys.