This might not come as a surprise to you but Dream Girl in my opinion is the LEAST of all Ayushmann Khurrana’s movies, and I say that as a fan.
Not anymore. Not. Anymore.
Back in Mathura, in this “spiritual sequel” Ayushmann is again Karam who is also Pooja because kisi ke dimaag mein khayal aaya how to change “karam hi pooja” hai to a full story, and they haven’t been able to let go of it. So once again Karam has to take on the identity of his idea of a woman, to be able to fool men around him and get out of financial trouble.
If you REALLY think about it and WANT to give the movie more credit than it is giving you, then this “turning into the idea of a woman to turn heterosexual men against each other because they’re all patriarchal fools” is pretty much how Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach solved the climax of the now billion dollar comedy Barbie. And if Dream Girl 2 wanted, it could have been an indictment of how women are boxed into pointless roles in society, so men can flourish. A sex object, a sexy dancer, a mother, a wife, and if she has the desire to find true love after 3 marriages, a moral-less philanderer with only shadyantra on her mind.
Instead Dream Girl 2 ONLY wants to be a hit movie. Ayushmann’s portrayal of Pooja is insincere, crass, and cringe because at no point does actually realize what it’s LIKE to live as a woman. Even as Pooja runs away from her “husband” at one point, refusing sex, pointedly saying no over and over, it’s not him feeling like he were an actual woman, powerless in this moment he’d have definitely been sexually assaulted, but instead the writers use this scene to make him lose his wig, stuff his hands down his blouse, pull out two…..sigh…..oranges….and I don’t have a meal with the guy I think?
Not to mention the many MANY times the beauty filters slip and Ayushmann’s face goes from smooth to stubble back to smooth within one scene. Not only does Karam have NO newfound sympathy for women after spending a considerable amount of time pretending to be one, but in the long song and dance climax, his girlfriend says sorry to HIM! AFTER he’s taken his time to preach on the power of love and inclusion to EVERYONE, including Muslim people, an older single woman, a bar dance owner, a gay man, a father who just wants to make sure his daughter will not marry a good for nothing liar which is so stupid because guess what Karam turns out to be as none of his schemes work? A good-for-nothing liar.
Recent films like JugJugg Jeeyo, Satyaprem Ki Katha, and Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani have made solid, decisive attempts to stay within the molds of formulaic Bollywood, the song and dance of it all, while also questioning the very harmful things Bollywood has been preaching since as far as one can recall. A man lies to his wife, she leaves him. A woman doesn’t like her new husband, he learns how to be a friend. A man has never been said no to, he understands the power and importance of that word. Sure in all the above examples, men are STILL sweet little harmless puppy dogs who only need to be given the right instructions, but at least they are listening. The bar IS that low.
AND these movies are funny. The laughs are many, almost none of them cheap.
With Dream Girl 2, the bar drops a little bit lower. We are NEVER once told why Ananya Panday, named Pari for many Papa Ki Pari jokes, a lady who has managed to become a lawyer in Agra, LIKES KARAM? Does she hate herself? Chalo for a moment you buy into the setup that Param chooses to put on drag and become a bar dancer to make quick and easy money, Why does his alter ego Pooja ALSO need to become a psychiatrist? Doctor hone ka naatak karna hi hai, toh Pooja kyun? Param hi kar le? When a pregnancy test causes some confusion leading Rajpal Yadav to think Pooja is pregnant, which she obviously isn’t, why IS that subplot never mentioned again? Koi toh pregnant hai na.
I’ll TELL you why. For movies like Dream Girl 2, full entire life-altering stories and experiences from women’s lives are only mildy-amusing sub-plots in the lives of men. The first time Karam turns into Pooja, he’s on the phone with a bank official. Karam can’t just rely on assuming this man is going to hear Pooja’s voice and go easy, He TO OPEN with says 36–24–36, because what is a woman if not her body measurements? His version of a woman flirts with EVERY SINGLE man she comes across because, in the minds of the writers, every woman is a tease. Not to mention every single man Pooja meets immediately lusts after her, and AGAIN, this COULD have been turned into making a point on how intimacy-starved men are in traditional Indian households, but instead there is another mention of oranges in blouses. If this is 1992, I need to be woken up, please.
Every LAST woman in Dream Girl 2 is an idiot, much like the previous one, at one point, Miss Lawyer brings her paintings expecting to sell them for 15 lakhs because she once saw MF Hussain do the same. The 24-year-old Ananya Pandey has some work coming up with Vikramaditya Motwane, until which time I’m going to pretend she’s under duress to simply do what’s being offered to her.
Seema Pahwa as phoophi is going through a third divorce, this time with Vijay Raaz, who at one point calls her a flop film jisko mainey interval ke baad dekha hai. Kyunki yehi reh gaya tha, kharaab film ki analogy se middle-aged aurat ko objectify karna, joh aapek idol hain David Dhawan who khatara gaadi ko bol hi chuke hain.
Hidden under the layers of misogyny, homophobia, and desperation of the equal opportunity offender Dream Girl 1, was a novel, about the wonderful idea that men are horndogs. If they even HEAR a feminine passing voice talk to them nicely over a phone call, and show interest, they will walk out to marriages, families, and jobs. Karam’s job was to keep that illusion alive, capitalizing on the fact that no one can see him, and when they do, they’re ashamed. Dream Girl 2 isn’t bothering with exploring anything deeper than, Dream Girl 1 ne 28 crore ke budget pe 200 banaaye they.