DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE, released in 1995, continues to inspire and motivate a number of storytellers to this date, even after [almost] two decades of its release. Now debutant director Shashank Khaitan borrows the essence from Aditya Chopra's all-time classic film and gives an altogether new spin to it. Result: HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA.
HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is akin to the entertainers we had relished in 1980s and 1990s, using the time-tested template [boy meets girl, love blossoms, boy/girl's authoritarian parent acts as a roadblock], but Shashank makes sure to prettify it with dollops of entertainment, light-hearted drama, heartfelt emotions and of course, harmonious songs that linger in your memory. Most importantly, the chemistry between its lead pair -- Varun and Alia -- is simply electrifying, which acts as the icing on the cake.
In a nutshell, HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is a fascinating youth drama + family entertainer that delivers big time.
The plot, first! When Kavya Pratap Singh [Alia Bhatt], a chirpy, yet feisty girl from Ambala, decides to make a trip to Delhi for her marriage shopping, she meets a young, carefree Delhi lad, Humpty Sharma [Varun Dhawan]. Humpty's father [Kenny Desai] is the owner of a campus bookstore, where Humpty and his two best friends, Shonty [Gaurav Pandey] and Poplu [Sahil Vaid], have grown up together.
Kavya is unattainable for Humpty initially, which makes her even more endearing to him. But he is not the one to give up so easily. With some help from his two best friends, he finds out all about her and through an interesting turn of events [including a ploy to save Kavya's friend Gurpreet's marriage], they start growing closer to each other.
The more time they spend with each other, their love-hate banter grows, but their chemistry is apparent. They are both different, yet very similar as people.
Once Kavya's trip ends, she heads back to Ambala, knowing very well that her father, the very strict, yet loving Mr. Singh [Ashutosh Rana], would never accept her love for Humpty. But even though they both weren't looking for love, love happened. So Humpty, accompanied by his two friends, decides to go get Kavya. That's the beginning of a journey for him that he wouldn't have imagined undertaking even in the wildest of his dreams.
Humpty, against all odds, decides to convince Kavya's family to agree to his alliance with her. Does he succeed in his mission?
HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is a quintessential Bollywood romance and ticks all the customary boxes that make a love story work. Yet, Shashank Khaitan makes sure the screenwriting incorporates several amusing and compelling episodes that steer clear of rusty formulas that we are used to watching in films of this genre. Shashank also steers clear of full-scale melodrama, loud and familiar masala and earsplitting background score, which could've seeped in naturally, given the genre of the film. He keeps it subtle, but makes sure the film wins you over. The sequences between Varun and Ashutosh Rana are the highpoint of the film. I'd like to single out the sequence at the railway station; it's incredible. Of course, the ones between Varun and Alia are the soul of the enterprise and the chemistry makes it all the more interesting.
As a storyteller, Shashank knows his fundas right and he gives his lead actors a well-knit, cohesive screenplay to peg their acting skills. Additionally, the film is brimming with several earnest episodes, besides decorating the sequences with witty lines. Furthermore, the soundtrack compliments the proceedings delightfully. 'Samjhawan' is hugely popular, while 'Saturday' has caught on big time too. The vibrant colors of North India are captured proficiently by the DoP [Neha Parti Matiyani].
You can't help but get fully sold on the charming performances pitched in by the principal cast. In fact, it won't be erroneous to state that Varun and Alia add strength and solidity to their respective parts. Varun gets the attitude of the character spot-on and pulls up a winning act. He reveals a sharp timing for comedy, but springs a big, big surprise in the emotional ones. In short, he makes you sit up, watch and applaud his act. Alia seems to be making the right career choices. HIGHWAY and 2 STATES specifically proved that she could transcend the glamour quotient and HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA substantiates the fact that she will be the top contender at the awards season next year -- with as many as three diverse performances getting nominated for the top honors.
Moreover, it's difficult to take your eyes off Varun and Alia when they're on screen. Above and beyond, the chemistry between them is crackling.
Siddharth Shukla makes a comfortable switch from TV to the big screen. He gets the nuances of his character very well. Ashutosh Rana is top notch, essaying his part with gusto. It's an absolute delight watching him in a challenging role after a hiatus. The supporting cast -- Kenny Desai [Varun's father], Jaswant Daman [Alia's grandmother], Deepika Amin [Alia's mother], Mahnaz Damania [Alia's sister], Aditya Sharma [Alia's brother], Gaurav Pandey -- is just perfect, but I'd like to single out Sahil Vaid [Poplu], who's simply terrific!
On the whole, HUMPTY SHARMA KI DULHANIA is a beautifully textured love story that wins you over. There's no stopping this one from hitting the bull's eye. Sure-shot winner!