Title: Dolly Ki Doli
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Archana Puran Singh and Mohd Zeeshan Ayub
Director: Abhishek Dogra
Sonam Kapoor, in a role that fits her like a glove, is in her elements in Dolly Ki Doli, an unconventional comedy in every sense of the term.
Bollywood’s favourite fashionista goes to town as a serial bride who traps wealthy boys and robs them of their worldly belongings.
She marries her carefully chosen quarry, gives him and her family milk laced with a sedative at night, and flees with their jewels while they are fast asleep.
The role allows Sonam to don a wide array of bridal outfits and she makes the most of the opportunity.
But there is more to her charming rebel act than just the external trappings. She does not let the burden of carrying the film on her slender shoulders weigh her down.
The harmlessly fluffy Dolly Ki Doli, produced by Arbaaz Khan and directed by first-timer Abhishek Dogra, benefits from lightness of touch.
But, for all the bright moves that it makes, it flatters to deceive, failing to touch the highs that seem so near yet so far.
Dolly Ki Doli might have been a much livelier comic romp had the debutant director packed a little more into the plot in terms of genuine substance.
The film turns the conventions of the romantic comedy on their head but fails to build on its ‘feminist’ potential.
The eponymous protagonist is a full-fledged rebel who, working with a gang of thieves pretending to be her family, goes all out to cock a snook at the world.
But the motives that drive the character’s actions are not explained with any clarity. As a result, her defiance in the face of grave risks does not acquire any meaningful social context.
However, even as Dolly Ki Doli appears to be getting nowhere in particular from the halfway point on, it never loses its air of good humour, thanks in large measure to the actors in the cast.
Rajkummar Rao plays a Haryanvi lad from a family of sugarcane farmers. He is the first to fall prey to Dolly’s wiles.
Varun Sharma is cast as a mamma’s boy who becomes easy meat for Dolly even as his termagant mother views the girl with immense suspicion.
And Pulkit Samrat, Sharma’s Fukrey co-actor, dons the garb of a Lajpat Nagar police inspector who is ordered to catch the runaway bride.
All three deliver fine performances, as does the underutilised Mohd Zeeshan Ayub in the role of the heroine’s fake brother who has more than just fraternal feelings for her.
Dolly Ki Doli seeks to make up for its lack of depth with diversions, but they fail to have the desired effect. There is an item number early in the film featuring Malaika Arora Khan, and a special appearance by Saif Ali Khan in the second half.
Dolly Ki Doli is buoyed up by its 100-minute running time and its unconventional climactic twist.
If only it had more substance to go with its breezy storyline, the film would certainly have felt less insubstantial.