I can name a hundred movies where the end shot is that of the hero and heroine tying the knot. Marriage is a national obsession, an adopted pastime and so deeply entrenched in our collective consciousness that any refusal to get on the ‘I do’ bandwagon is almost viewed as rebellion or, even worse, a mistake.
First timer Abhishek Dogra’s droll Dolly Ki Doli isn’t an anti-marriage propaganda but deviously defiant towards the institution while both — mocking and exploiting — the pomp and pomposity that leads up to sealing the deal.
Personifying this sass is serial con bride Dolly (Sonam Kapoor) while Rajkummar Rao and Varun Sharma chip in as her silly, significant bakras. There’s also a pretty Pulkit Samrat, playing an achingly stiff, un-Chulbul clone of Salman Khan’s cop in Dabangg.
Although the film’s premise is uncannily similar to Punjabi rom-com RSVP-Ronde Saare Vyaah Pichon (high on the hilarious banter of comedian Jaswinder Bhalla) Dolly Ki Doli subsequently moves out in an entirely unique direction.
With its winsome ensemble of actors, background actors and walk-in parts, the lighthearted caper radiates an inviting, attractive energy that’s pleasant to be around even if hardly profound. Moreover, Dolly Ki Doli goofs on the coy dulhan stereotype with such wicked relish it never gets dull.
Save for Samrat, much of the casting hits a home run. The incredible Rajkummar perfectly brings out the tragicomic impulses of a duped romantic, Varun Sharma’s believability as a puerile, Punjabi, momma’s boy is both a masterstroke and matter of concern.
As for the lady in the Doli itself, Sonam’s Dolly is playacting to entice suitors for most part and her rendering of the obvious, overstated airhead (sporting a wardrobe that’s a gorgeous mini movie on its own) is sly enough to be on the joke and be a sport about it. All she needs now is to get rid of her spoilt princess speech, work on her dialogue delivery, modulate it and her performances will come out looking much more effective.
Somewhere in its breezy 100 minutes duration, the film cooks up a fuzzy origins story about its looteri dulhan and none whatsoever of its gang members. Strangely, the ambiguous, unapologetic tone favours the overall whimsy narrative and its aversion to melodrama.
Even if the concluding bit of the script could do with a couple more rewrites, I am glad Dogra doesn’t cop out to accommodate an overnight change of personality.
And that alone make Dolly Ki Doli worth a ride in my book.