Picture Post-Mortem: Dum Laga Ke Haisha

The taste lingers, asking you to have some more, but you feel satisfied. That’s what a good meal does, and also Sharat Katariya’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha. The promos had my hopes soaring, and the film succeeded in ticking all the right boxes.

Dum Laga Ke Haisha is set in Haridwar of the ‘90s. Ayushmaan Khurana’s family has a music cassette shop, and Khurana is a big fan of Kumar Sanu. Khurana has flunked class 10th exams and his education got stalled. The constrained financial status of the house, forces them to look for a bride who can support the house. Enters Bhumi Pednekar, a B.Ed qualified girl. But, she’s fat.

Khurana and Pednekar share an uneasy chemistry, one that reminds of Yash Raj Films’ (YRF) ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. The story is sweeter this time, and much more real. Ayushmaan Khurana brilliantly plays the small-town boy who dreams wide-eyed. Bhumi Pednekar is expressive. She fits the role (no pun intended).

Sanjay Mishra and Seema Pahwa are two beautiful gems. They lighted up Rajat Kapoor’s’ Aankhon Dekhi’ in 2014, and this film carries a similar treatment of dialogues, imagery and a close-knit story. You have the groom’s aunt saying “Sayaana ho gaya apna Prem”, after the groom consummates his marriage, sound of which was audible outside the room; the meeting of the families and the introduction that follows – all very real portrayals. The film’s promo promised a Vikram-Betaal-type race, which would see Khurana running with Pednekar on his back. But interestingly the race is limited to the last 7-10 minutes of the film.

The race and the weight on Khurana’s back turned out to be an underlying metaphor in the movie. The guilt of the forced marriage, along with the challenges of being less educated forced Khurana to the verge of a breakdown. He weight was evident in his character, which was effectively brought on screen. But much of the film’s weight lies on Pednekar’s shoulders. She flows through the film, and never gives a moment to question her presence.

The music by Anu Malik brings back the charm of Kumar Sanu (as also *Spoiler Alert* one of the scenes in the film). The melodious ‘Moh Moh ke Dhaage’ is a big plus.

After a long time, I felt emphatically invested in a film. And it left me with big, fat, huge returns. Coming from a large production house such as the YRF, this brought hope that there’s still hope for better stories, and hopefully audience too.  A good film comes in all sizes.

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