Somewhere down the line in this mish-mash of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Chak De India and what-have-‘youth’ Shahid Kapoor, looking as intense as a man who has just discovered he has acute molar ache scowls at Rani and says, “You should be an actress in films.”
Actress she is. And a highly competent one. Rani has worked really hard on getting the Sardarji’s act together. At times she’s quite funny and poignant. But her attempts go to waste in a film that seems to move in a rudderless stupor.
Rani Mukherjee is sorely let down in her made-to-order vehicle by a script that’s as phony and pasted-on as the moustache she pastes on to infiltrate the all-boy’s cricket team helmed by a Britain-returned dude from a broken family. Shahid’s Dad Anupam Kher lives in Amritsar, his mom Poonam Dhillon lives in London, and Shahid lives somewhere where Shah Rukh Khan lived in Chak De. Passports are not required.
Backgrounds are not very high in the list of this messy and annoying mishmash about cross-dressing and the sporting spirit. While Shahid’s character we know is from a broken home, only God and the scriptwriter know where Rani’s Veera/Veer comes from. Is she the illegitimate child of a cricketer who passed through Amritsar? Is she the distant desperate cousin of Hillary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry?
While Hillary as a girl dressed as a guy got the Oscar, Rani misses her award-winning turn by a wide margin, thanks to a script that meanders like a bumbling bumblebee which doesn’t know whom to sting.
The story of the spirited girl’s sprint into a men’s game and into the coach’s heart lacks bite and humour. The dialogues are ultra-pedestrian, some of the exchanges between the rustic Rani and the posh Shahid shamelessly cadged from Jab We Met.
What were the makers of this film thinking? Not much, we can easily see in the slithering progression of the material a dismaying lack of direction and motivation. After interval the wobbly narration just collapses in a tired heap, with scenes in a nautanki featuring Rakhi Sawant (utterly wa(i)sted) plunging to the bottom-most rung of mediocrity.
The climactic cricket match between India and Pakistan (Veer-Zara strikes again) is as exciting as watching Kaminey with the soundtrack turned off. In Dil Bole Hadippa, the soundtrack is so loud it drowns any finer point that the narration may possess.
Don’t waste your time looking for silver linings in this dreadful cricket film. Someone once said cricket is a game played by 12 fools and watched by 12,000 fools.
Now we know what he meant.