Once upon a time in Bollywood, a chubby but talented actress came to Bollywood. She rapidly gained popularity amongst the masses and her co-stars as she starred in some great and not so great films. But before she could say Aati Kya Khandala, she became “the Rani Mukherjee.” All was hunky-dory until Rani one day signed a film called Paheli which was then followed by a spat of flop films: Baabul, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic. Rani Mukherjee had fallen into a lull which she found very hard to come out of. And then one day, best “bud” Aditya Chopra came to her rescue and offered a chance to revive her career with one Dil Bole Hadippa. And the ending to this short story? Well, you’ll just have to read on to find out. However, to her advantage Rani did lose heaps of weight and has never looked so great – even though critics claim this was “desperate attempt”. On the other hand, she did manage to pair up with Shahid Kapoor – the current reigning star, who can only add more oomph to the already hyped film. Based on the game of Cricket, the film is directed by debutant Anurag Singh. Alright, ready to see if this is Rani’s happy ending or are will she lose yet another wicket in her career graph?
Veera Kaur (Rani Mukherjee) is an avid cricketer who admires Sachin Tendulkar and no doubt is filled with talent. The villagers indulge in a yearly Independence Day cricket match with the neighboring Pakistan which is headed by Vikram Singh (Anupam Kher) and after losing for four years straight, he decides to call his son Rohan (Shahid Kapoor), an extremely talented English cricket captain. Upon his arrival, he immediately holds auditions for a new team and Veera realizes this is her moment to bowl the team over. However, coming from an orthodox village where girls fill buckets from the well and don’t bowl an over, she realizes she will need to disguise herself as a man if she has to make it on the team. Naturally she is selected by Rohan and also finds herself attracted to the selector. It is then she quickly hires Soniya (Sherlyn Chopra) to flirt with Rohan while she focuses on the game. Of course, the film comes to a point where Veera finds herself caught in a web of lies and confusion which leads to the films climax.
DBH is a film which has drawn “inspirations” from a whole bunch of others. The identity plot is courtesy of Rab Ne Bana De Jodi while the script bares strong resemblances to the Hollywood film She’s The Man – minus the soccer and add the cricket – hello Lagaan. And of course, the sports angle reminds viewers very much of Chak De India. There is also hints of Bunty Aur Babli – Rani’s clothes and characteristics and even some Yash Chopra love story customary scenes ala DDLJ. So what is unique about the film? Nothing really. The film, in typical Yash Raj fashion has a bunch of funny moments and great songs which are exceptionally caught on camera but really doesn’t engage you. As a director Anurag Singh shows talent and a flair for storytelling, there is no doubt about it even though the script is rather weak and filled with holes. Holes you ask? Yes numerous! If you thought that the entire wife-unable-to-recognize-her-husband sequence was rather unbelievable in Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi then DBH is no less. While Rani changes her appearance to look like a Sikh boy, she failed to change her voice. Did Veer forget to hit puberty? And the climax is nothing short of a complete drag! Amidst the not so nail biting cricket match, Veer’s contact lenses fall out which is when Rohan realizes he is a she or rather Veer is Veera. Shock and horror! Not really.
Performance wise, Rani Mukherjee is back and how. Not only does she look incredible but manages to hold the entire film together. Whether it’s Veera or Veer, she does justice to her film. She is perhaps the only reason to watch the film and beyond that there is really nothing else. Shahid Kapoor does well as he takes the supporting lead to Rani. Nevertheless, he does a good job and dances amazingly. The supporting cast does an average job. Anupam Kher and Dalip Tahil are at their veteran best; Rakhi Sawant and Sherlyn Chopra are average.
The dances and music are an added bonus. And if I had to pick reasons to watch the film at all, then it’s Rani all the way. While the film doesn’t live up to the hype it created, Rani sure does. While DBH may not Hadippa its way to the bank, it will attract Rani Mukherjee fans and her hiatus will definitely help gravitate her audiences back to the cinema hall.
The final verdict: Watch this Hadippa once just for Rani!